MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's women's basketball (14-6, 6-2 West Coast Conference) begins the second-half of WCC play this week, hosting Portland and BYU. On Thursday night, the Gaels host the Pilots (9-13, 4-5 WCC) at 6:00 p.m. The Gaels will host the Cougars (15-6, 6-2 WCC) at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday in a Play 4Kay game.
The Gaels played two games last week, defeated San Francisco in Moraga 68-63 and losing in Provo to BYU 66-58. With eight conference games remaining, the Gaels defeated USF twice, Gonzaga, Pepperdine, LMU and Santa Clara. SMC's losses came against San Diego and BYU. The Gaels have not played Portland this season.
Saint Mary's is led by Jackie Nared with 18.4 ppg while adding 9.1 rpg. Danielle Mauldin adds 14.4 ppg and a conference high 11.3 rpg. Nared (10) and Mauldin (11) have combined for 21 double-doubles this season. Kate Gaze has picked up the scoring in conference games, averaging 14.0 ppg during the first-half of WCC action.
The Gaels are 30-22 all-time against Portland with SMC winning the last six match-ups, sweeping the season series in each of the last three seasons. Last year the Gaels won at Portland 73-31 and won in Moraga 75-58.
Portland enters the week having won four of its last five games, including three straight victories over Santa Clara, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. UP is led by Kari Luttinen with 12.6 ppg and a two-time WCC Player of the Week honoree. Five other Pilots average at least 7.0 ppg.
BYU enters the second half of conference play with a 6-2 WCC record, having gone undefeated in the Marriott Center. BYU's WCC losses both came on the road at Gonzaga and San Francisco. The Cougars host San Diego on Thursday night, before making the trip to Moraga on Saturday.
BYU is led by Kim Beeston with 10.7 ppg and Haley Steed with 10.1 ppg. Steed runs the offense and is the nation's leading assists leader with nearly eight per game.
BYU leads the all-time series with SMC 2-1, with the home team winning every contest in the series.