SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team won a defensive affair in a 49-39 win over UC Santa Barbara at The Thunderdome on Saturday afternoon.
The win was SMC's fourth consecutive win as the Gaels improve to 5-2, while UC Santa Barbara drops to 2-5. The Gaels found a way to win despite shooting 30 percent from the field. The Gaels forced 19 turnovers and converted 22-of-26 free-throws in the win. SMC held the Gauchos to 32.7 percent from the field, including 1-for-11 from behind the arc.
"We won on the road on a Saturday afternoon against a solid opponent," said head coach Paul Thomas. "We demonstrated a team mental toughness that is needed to be successful."
Saint Mary's was led by Jackie Nared with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Danielle Mauldin recorded her fourth double-double of the year with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Mia Greco scored a season-high 12 points including a clutch three-pointer and went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
UCSB was led by Sweets Underwood with 14 points and nine rebounds.
The first half was close throughout as the Gauchos led by as many as three points before the Gaels scored the final seven points of the half to enter the break with a 22-17 lead.
In the second half, the Gaels built a 10-point advantage after Carli Rosenthal's "and-one" to put SMC up 29-19 at the 13:50 mark. UCSB responded with a 10-2 run to tie the game up at 31-31 with 9:35 left.
UCSB took a 33-31 lead with 6:10 left, but the Gaels tied it up on the next possession on a pair of free-throws by Nared. A Greco three-pointer with 4:30 left pushed SMC's lead up to 38-33 as the Gauchos could not get closer than three points the rest of the way.
The Gauchos came back within 40-37 with 3:21 left, but the Gaels converted 9-of-10 from the line down the stretch to ice the game.
Saint Mary's is back in action on Thursday when it travels to Davis to take on the Aggies at 7:00 p.m.