MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team makes its eighth straight postseason appearance Thursday in the 2017 Women’s National Invitational Tournament with a first round showdown at Mountain West Conference regular season champion Colorado State.
Thursday’s first round matchup is scheduled for a 6 p.m. PDT tipoff, 7 p.m. local MDT. The game will be streamed live on the Gaels’ Gameday Central Page via The Mountain Network. Fans can also find live stats and other coverage links on SMCGaels.com.
Should Saint Mary’s advance, they would face the winner of Friday’s first round game between UC Davis and Utah. The Gaels already played both teams this year, falling in the final seconds to each of them. The Gaels nearly beat Utah at home on Nov. 26, missing two chances at the game-winning basket. UC Davis came from behind in the fourth quarter on Dec. 11 and hit a buzzer-beating jumper to beat Saint Mary’s, 68-66.
Saint Mary’s made a run to its fifth appearance West Coast Conference championship game on March 7, where it would fall, 86-75, to champion Gonzaga. The Gaels went through rival Santa Clara in the quarterfinals and beat fellow 2017 WNIT qualifier BYU in the semis.
ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL CAMPAIGN
It has been another successful year for Saint Mary’s. SMC has won 20 games this season for the sixth straight year and seventh in the last eight. The Gaels finished second in the WCC for the second consecutive season. It was their fourth finish among the conference’s top three teams in the last five years.
Five Gaels were honored on the All-WCC teams, including Stella Beck being named to the first team. It is the 11th consecutive year a Gael has been on the first team. Three Gaels received WCC All-Academic honors. Devyn Galland and Sydney Raggio were both named to the All-WCC Tournament team.
ABOUT COLORADO STATE
The Rams (24-8) won the Mountain West Conference regular season title outright with a 15-3 conference record. CSU had won six of its last seven games before falling in the Mountain West Conference Tournament semifinals to Boise State. The Rams went 5-2 against shared opponents with SMC (Boise State, Northern Colorado, San Jose State).
Colorado State led the MWC with a 53.1 points per game scoring defense. It also limited opponents to a conference-low 33.6 percent shooting. CSU also handles the ball well with the best turnover margin (+3.0 per game) and assists-to-turnovers ratio (1.21) in the conference. Ellen Nystrom (15.1 ppg) and Elin Gustavsson (14.2 ppg) lead the Rams in scoring. Nystrom is also the team’s best rebounder at 8.0 rpg.
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