MORAGA, Calif. – On a night with two starters out of the lineup, the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team shot a near school-record 63.3 percent, en route to an 89-79 victory over UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night in McKeon Pavilion.
With the win, Saint Mary's improves to 4-0 on the season.
Kate Gaze and Lauren Nicholson poured in career-highs with 26 points apiece. Danielle Mauldin added a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while Shannon Mauldin scored 10 points with six rebounds in her first collegiate start.
Nicholson made 10 of her first 11 shots and finished 10-for-13 from the field, adding three assists. Gaze finished 9-for-15 from the field with four assists and two steals. The Aussie duo combined for 52 points, 4-for-4 from three-point land, 10-for-10 from the free-throw line and 19-for-28 field goals.
Hayley Hendricksen also got a start for the Gaels adding three points and five rebounds in 19 minutes.
UC Santa Barbara was led by Melissa Zorning with 19 points and nine assists.
Saint Mary’s opened the game on a 13-5 run after Gaze knocked down a jumper with 14:49 left in the first half. UCSB kept it close, shooting 51.5 percent in the first half as the Gaels went into the halftime break up 45-39.
In the second half, UCSB cut the deficit down to one point on two occasions, but never took the lead. After UCSB pulled within 51-50 at the 15:15 mark, Danielle Mauldin scored in the paint to put SMC back on top by three.
With the Gaels up 64-61, SMC went on an 8-0 run to open up a 72-61 lead with 7:03 left after Nicholson hit a two-pointer. UCSB would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way as the Gaels ended the game hitting 21-of-28 from the free-throw line, good for 75 percent.
The Gaels were in position to set the school record for field-goal percentage in a game (64.9 percent against Pepperdine in 1993), but missed their final three shots to fall from 67 percent to a game-ending 63.3 percent.
Saint Mary’s is back in action on Saturday when it hosts Cal Poly at 1:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion.