Despite trailing by as many as 15 in the second-half, the Gaels pulled within six points in the final minute. Kate Gaze and Jackie Nared hit three-pointers and the Bulldogs struggled from the line all night, converting just 11-of-18 from the charity stripe. The Gaels hit 21-of-27 from the line.
Danielle Mauldin led the Gaels with 20 points and 12 rebounds, good for her 21st double-double of the year. Gaze added 17 points, but saw her free-throw streak end at 37 consecutive with a 7-for-8 night from the line. Nared added 14 points and was limited defensively with foul trouble, fouling out in the final minutes.
Spokane native Hayley Hendricksen added six points and four rebounds off the bench.
Saint Mary’s outrebounded Gonzaga 38-36, but GU shot 45.2 percent, compared to 37.7 percent by SMC. GU also hit eight three-pointers while the Gaels made four.
In the first half, the Gaels took an 11-6 lead after Mauldin scored in the paint. GU went on a 21-8 run to take a 27-19 lead with 4:33 left in the half. Saint Mary’s closed within 27-25 after a Mauldin rebound and put back at the 2:46 mark.
Gonzaga led 35-29 at the break.
In the second half, Gonzaga scored the first five points to open up a 40-29 lead at the 17:34 mark. The Gaels pulled within 44-38 after a Nared jumper at the 13:54 mark. GU would then respond to gain its largest lead of the game at 57-42 at the 9:29 mark.
SMC pulled within eight points at 60-52 with 4:51 remaining and later 68-61 at the 1:55 mark. After Gaze scored in the paint to pull SMC within 71-65 with 56 seconds left, GU was able to run out the clock as the Gaels came up short.
Saint Mary’s concludes the WCC slate on Saturday at Portland for a 2:00 p.m. tip in the Chiles Center.