“LMU has been playing well and they were a tough out,” said head coach Paul Thomas. We are doing a better job of paying attention to detail. I thought the final four, four-and-half minutes, we did a great job of executing.”
The game was close down the stretch as LMU tied it at the 13:29 mark and trailed by a 70-68 score with 2:53 remaining. The Gaels got stop-after-stop down the stretch, making free-throws and pulling out the win.
Jackie Nared led the way for the Gaels with 28 points and 11 rebounds. It was Nared’s sixth double-double of the year. Kate Gaze added 20 points and four assists, while Danielle Mauldin added 20 points and 17 rebounds, her 15th double-double of the year. Mauldin also added four steals and is just three rebounds shy of the SMC and WCC career rebounding record of 1,122, held by former Gael Louella Tomlinson.
The SMC senior trio combined for 68 of SMC’s 78 points as Shannon Mauldin added four points and six rebounds and a career-high three blocks.
There were 44 total fouls in the game and both squads hit free-throws with accuracy. LMU hit 17-of-19 from the line while the Gaels hit 25-of-29.
In the first half, the Lions led 21-16 with 9:33 left in the half. SMC retook the lead at 25-24 with 6:56 remaining after Amanda Arter scored a basket. Hannah Kaser hit a key jumper on SMC’s final possession before halftime, giving SMC a 37-33 lead at the break.
In the second half, LMU led 40-39 with 18:22 left to play. With the scored tied up at 46-46, SMC went on a small 8-2 run as Gaze hit a three, Nared was fouled on a three and made three free-throws and Danielle Mauldin scored in the paint.
SMC built its largest lead at 62-53 with 9:13 left after Nared scored from outside. LMU chipped away and matched baskets as the Lions pulled within 70-68 at the 2:53 mark. The Gaels would start getting key defensive stops and scored the next four points to lead 74-68 with 19 seconds left after Shannon Mauldin got a big block and Hayley Hendricksen knocked down a pair of free-throws. SMC would go on to win the game 78-74.
Saint Mary’s was outshot 47.2 percent to 39.3 percent, but the Gaels had a huge rebounding advantage at 46-23. SMC had 22 offensive rebounds, compared to just six offensive boards for LMU.
Saint Mary’s is back in action on Saturday when it travels to Stockton to take on Pacific. The game is SMC’s lone game of the week.