MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team moved into a first-place tie with a 68-63 victory over San Francisco on Monday night in McKeon Pavilion.
Kate Gaze led the Gaels in scoring for the third straight game, pouring in a season-high 20 points. Jackie Nared added 18 points and four rebounds while Danielle Mauldin recorded her 11th double-double of the year with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while adding five steals in the win.
With the win, Saint Mary's improves to 14-5, 6-1 West Coast Conference, while San Francisco drops to 9-12, 2-6 WCC.
The Gaels had to overcome a hot shooting Alexa Hardick for the Dons, as the guard connected on 6-of-8 from three-point range and scored 18 points. Saint Mary's did hold USF's leading scorer, Mel Khlok without a field goal and only four points.
The Gaels led by as many as 15 points in the first half and the first 23 SMC points were scored by two players in Gaze (14) and Nared (9).
SMC led 34-19 with 2:31 left in the half, but USF finished the half strong and pulled within 37-30 at the break.
While USF hung around within striking distance much of the second half, the Gaels never let the Dons tie up the game.
Saint Mary's led 58-50, but USF scored six straight points to pull within 58-56 with 3:00 remaining. The Gaels extended the lead to six on a couple occasions, including a 65-58 lead with 1:34 left after a pair of Mauldin free-throws.
USF hit a three ball to pull within 64-61 and forced an SMC turnover. The Gaels needed a stop and that is what they got as Mauldin got her fifth steal of the game and hit two free-throws to ice the game.
Saint Mary's outshot USF 43.1 percent to 39.7 percent. The Gaels dominated the boards with a 43-29 rebounding margin.
Carli Rosenthal added five points and six rebounds for SMC.
Saint Mary's is back in action on Thursday night at Brigham Young. Tip is set for 6:00 p.m. (PT) and can be seen on BYUtv.