SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - After trailing by 15 points in the second-half, the Gaels rallied to defeat Cal Poly 70-67 on Thursday night in Mott Gym. Jackie Nared led the Gaels with 21 points and six rebounds, while Danielle Mauldin had a double-double with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
With the win, Saint Mary's improves to 4-2, while Cal Poly drops to 4-3. Once again the Gaels out-rebounded an opponent, this time with a 49-33 edge over the Mustangs.
"This team grows with each game experience," said head coach Paul Thomas. "We knew this would be a hard fought contest and our team responded. Our previous games helped us win tonight.
SMC was able to overcome 31 points from CP's Ariana Elegado.
In the first half, the Gaels got off to a strong start, leading 14-7 after a Mia Greco lay up. From that point, the Gaels had a tough time scoring for the rest of the first-half, seeing the Mustangs go up by as many as 14 at 32-18. CP ended the first half on a 25-6 run to lead 32-20.
The Mustangs extended the lead to 35-20 after a three-pointer with 18:59 remaining. The Gaels began to chip away at that point, getting the deficit to single digits at 37-29 after a Carli Rosenthal basket in the paint.
CP built the lead back up to eight at 53-45 before Greco buried a three pointer to pull SMC within five with 9:37 remaining.
Lauren Nicholson hit a three-pointer with 6:36 remaining to give SMC its first lead since early in the first half. Nicholson's basket made it 57-56 Gaels.
With the Gaels up by one and 50 seconds left, Rosenthal grabbed a big offensive board for SMC and Morgan Hatten calmly sank two free-throws to give SMC a 70-67 lead with 19 seconds left.
The Gaels allowed the Mustangs to get three attempts off at potential tying three-pointers but the Gaels challenged every attempt as SMC held on for the 70-67 come-from-behind victory.
Saint Mary's is back in action on Saturday when it takes on UC Santa Barbara at 2:00 p.m. in The Thunderdome.