Saint Mary’s improves to 10-1 in non-conference action as the Gaels enter a huge West Coast Conference home opener on Saturday, December 28th. The Gaels will host the 23rd-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (10-2) at 1:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion.
Danielle Mauldin led the Gaels with 17 points and 15 rebounds in just 26 minutes of action. Mauldin became the third student-athlete in SMC women’s basketball history to go over 1,000 career points and 1,000 rebounds. It was her eighth double-double of the season.
Jackie Nared added 16 points and seven rebounds on 7-for-8 shooting. Lauren Nicholson added 10 points and three rebounds while Kate Gaze finished with eight points and six assists.
Saint Mary’s got solid bench play with 21 total points and 12 rebounds from the non-starters. Hayley Hendricksen had 10 points and five rebounds while Amanda Arter added six points and three rebounds. Shannon Mauldin added five points and four rebounds.
The Gaels fell behind by a 16-7 score before putting together a nice run to take the lead at halftime by a 33-31 score.
CSUN started the second half with a small run, taking a 37-33 lead before SMC scored five straight to take the lead 38-37 on a pair of free-throws by Shannon Mauldin.
Saint Mary’s took a 56-47 with 7:37 remaining after Nared sank a pair of free-throws. CSUN would not go quietly, coming back to tie up the game at 60-60 with 3:13 remaining.
Nicholson drained a key three-pointer that sparked SMC’s closing run. Her three-pointer pushed SMC ahead 63-60 with 3:01 remaining. Saint Mary’s would get defensive stop after stop down the stretch, holding CSUN scoreless in the last three minutes. The Gaels hit 9-of-10 free-throws to close the game out for the win.
For the game, SMC shot 28-of-33 from the free-throw line (84.8 percent), compared to just 6-of-13 for CSUN. While the Gaels shot just 41.2 percent from the field, the Matadors could only shoot 35.9 percent against the Gaels defense, including 29.4 percent in the second-half. SMC out-rebounded CSUN 45-33.
Saint Mary’s is back in action for the WCC opener on Saturday, December 28th at 1:00 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion against Gonzaga.