Saint Mary’s is coming off a 23-win season and its fourth consecutive postseason appearance. The Gaels advanced to the WNIT final eight last season, and perhaps most impressive was the 2012-13 squad going 10-0 in games following a loss. It was the first time in school history for a Gael squad to achieve the feat.
Saint Mary’s is 6-1 all-time in home openers under head coach Paul Thomas. The Gaels have won five straight home openers in McKeon Pavilion, with the only loss under Thomas coming during the 2007-08 season.
Last year, the Gaels and Huskies opened the year in a thriller, as Washington defeated Saint Mary’s 70-68 in Alaska Airlines Arena on the UW campus. In the game, the Gaels were down by six with two minutes to play but tied up the game with 26 seconds left. UW’s Jazmine Davis drove the lane and scored with six seconds to play and Jackie Nared’s three-pointer at the buzzer missed as the Huskies escaped with the win.
The Gaels out-rebounded Washington 60-34 as the Gaels amassed 23 offensive rebounds. The Gaels also got to the foul line and hit 19-of-23 free-throws. Nared led the Gaels with 25 points and 17 rebounds while Danielle Mauldin added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Saint Mary’s and Portland State did not meet last year, however the Vikings participated in the SMC Hilton-Concord Thanksgiving Classic in Moraga. PSU lost to Chattanooga and defeated Butler.
The Gaels are led by preseason All-WCC selections in Danielle Mauldin and Jackie Nared. Kate Gaze and Carli Rosenthal are also returning starters.
Washington, picked fourth in the Pac-12 coaches poll (behind Stanford, California, Colorado), is coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons and a pair of WNIT trips. Jazmine Davis returns to lead the Huskies, a Wooden Award List player to watch.
Portland State was picked seventh out of the 11-team Big Sky Conference Coaches’ Poll. PSU returns Angela Misa who averaged a double-double with 10.8ppg and 10.2 rpg.