LAS VEGAS — The Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team used a furious third-quarter rally but it was not enough, falling short in the West Coast Conference championship game. SMC cut a 25-point deficit down to seven points in the third quarter, but Gonzaga hit timely shots to hold off the Gaels 86-75.
The Gaels tried to overcome GU hitting 11 of their first 13 field-goals and nearly did. All-Tournament team selection and Spokane native Devyn Galland did it all with shooting and defense to help lead the comeback, finishing with a team-high 16 points before fouling out.
Gonzaga was led by Tournament MVP Jill Barta with 37 points on 11-for-18 shooting. The Bulldogs out-rebounded SMC 36-26.
Sydney Raggio was also named to the All-Tournament Team representing the Gaels.
The Gaels made their first WCC championship game appearance since 2011 and with another 20-win season, it is expected that SMC will make its eighth consecutive WNIT appearance. The WNIT field will be announced on March 13, shortly before 9 PM. First round games will take place March 15-17.
While the Gaels opened the game with a couple early turnovers, but it was the Bulldogs shooting which led to a big first period lead. GU hit 11 of their first 13 field-goals to start the game and led 28-15 at the 1:28 mark. The Bulldogs would end the period shooting at a 76.5 percent clip and led 32-15.
Galland started the scoring in the second period, hitting a three-pointer, SMC’s first of the game. The Bulldogs remained efficient, extending the lead to 25. SMC scored five straight to pull within 20 midway through the quarter, but Gonzaga would go on to lead 53-32 at the break.
SMC started the second half with a 10-0 run, triggered by a Turner three-pointer and Galland steal and fast break. SMC was within 53-42 at the 7:52 mark in the third. Turner made it a 17-2 SMC run to start the period with a three-pointer, pulling SMC within 56-49 at the 4:55 mark. Shannon Mauldin scored at the buzzer as SMC outscored GU 23-13 in the quarter and were within 66-55 entering the fourth.
The Gaels forced a turnover and Turner knocked down a 15-foot jumper to start the final 10 minutes. GU responded with consecutive three-pointers to push the lead back to 15. Gonzaga held off the Gaels 86-75.
2017 WEST COAST CONFERENCE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Jill Barta (Gonzaga) - Soph., F – Tournament Most Outstanding Player
Devyn Galland (Saint Mary’s) - Sr., G
Kiara Kudron (Gonzaga) - Sr., F
Sydney Raggio (Saint Mary’s) - Soph., F
Laura Stockton (Gonzaga) - Soph., G
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