MORAGA, Calif. – The Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team (20-7, 10-6 West Coast Conference) plays its final WCC games before postseason play this week, making the trip to the northwest. On Thursday night, the Gaels head to Spokane to take on Gonzaga (24-4, 14-2 WCC) at 6:00 p.m. On Saturday, the Gaels take on Portland (14-13, 7-9 WCC) at 2:00 p.m. in the Chiles Center.
With this, the final conference games before the WCC Tournament on March 7th, the Gaels are assured no worse than a No. 5 seed in the tournament. The Gaels have an outside shot at landing the No. 3 seed, but it would take two wins and some help for that to happen.
After starting the year 16-3, the Gaels have struggled a bit, going 4-4. During the 4-4 stretch, the Gaels had big wins over BYU and San Diego, but two losses to Pacific, an OT road loss at LMU and a home loss to Santa Clara.
Saint Mary’s features the WCC leading scorer in Jackie Nared, who enters the week with 541 points, which ranks 7th in school history. The SMC single-season school record is held by Anja Bordt with 592 points during the 1990-91 season. The senior from Portland will get to play her final conference game in her hometown when the Gaels visit the Pilots on Saturday.
Last week Danielle Mauldin set the single-season school record for rebounds as she us up to 365 this season. Ranked 5th in the nation in both rebounding average and double-doubles, Mauldin already owns the SMC and WCC career rebounding mark, entering this week with 1,220 boards (98 more and counting, than the previous mark).
The senior trio of Nared (1,517 points), Mauldin (1,385) and Kate Gaze (1,236) enter the week with 4,138 combined career points. They rank sixth, 10th and 12th, respectively in the SMC all-time career scoring leaders.
Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga have split its last six meetings with each other. The Gaels won the last meeting, the WCC opener in McKeon Pavilion by a 79-78 OT score. Saint Mary’s has won 10-straight against Portland, with the last SMC loss coming in the Chiles Center in 2009.