MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team (19-8, 10-4 West Coast Conference) hits the road for its final WCC games before the conference tournament. On Thursday night, the Gaels take on the Toreros (19-7, 10-4 WCC) in San Diego at Jenny Craig Pavilion. On Saturday afternoon, Saint Mary's takes on Pepperdine (12-13, 7-7 WCC) in Malibu at 2:00 p.m.
Taking a quick look at the WCC standings as the Gaels close in for the conference tournament, SMC can do no worse than the No. 4 seed. Saint Mary's could move up to the No. 2 seed with a pair of wins, but would also need additional help.
The Gaels climbed as high as 37 in the weekly RPI rankings with quality wins including at Oregon, at Oregon State at No. 23 Gonzaga and home against Brigham Young. Saint Mary's enters the week with a 10-4 WCC mark, with conference losses against USD, USF, Gonzaga and BYU.
In Monday's RealtimeRPI rankings, Gonzaga is the top ranked WCC school at No. 30, followed by No. 52 Saint Mary's and No. 55 Brigham Young. This week's opponents include No. 82 San Diego and No. 132 Pepperdine.
Saint Mary's is ranked No. 10 in the NCAA in rebounding margin and No. 16 in the nation in team free-throw percentage.
Saint Mary's is 39-13 all-time against San Diego, but the Toreros shot over 50 percent and cruised to a 77-60 victory on Jan. 7 in McKeon Pavilion, the last time the two squads met. The Gaels have won the last two meetings at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
SMC and Pepperdine have split all 54 previous meetings, including a series split last year as each team won on its home court. The Gaels defeated the Waves 56-43 on January 21 in McKeon Pavilion.