The Gaels and Toreros split their WCC meetings earlier this season, with each team winning on its home floor. USD defeated SMC in last year’s WCC tournament. During the 2010-11 WCC Tournament semifinals, the Gaels defeated the Toreros 71-68 to advance to the championship game.
Two-time WCC scoring champion Jackie Nared leads the Gaels with 21.6 ppg. She has eight double-doubles and has scored at least 30 points in three games this season. She also enters the USD game as the most efficient three-point shooter at .407.
Danielle Mauldin leads the WCC in rebounding and double-doubles with 22. She ranks in the NCAA top five in both categories. She enters the tournament with an SMC single-season record 390 total rebounds. Mauldin is already the SMC and WCC career record holder with 1,245 rebounds and counting. She also ranks 9th all-time at SMC with 1,426 career points.
Kate Gaze has played in a school record 131 games as a Gael. The senior has poured in 1,265 career points and formed a big three combo with teammates Nared and Mauldin. The trio of Nared (1,558pts), Mauldin (1,426) and Gaze (1,265) have combined for 4,249 points.
Saint Mary’s last won the WCC Tournament in 2000-01, defeating Gonzaga, Portland and Loyola Marymount on the San Diego campus. SMC would go on to record a school-record 26 wins and advanced to the NCAA Tournament 2nd round, defeating Texas and losing to Tennessee.
As a team, the Gaels are one of the top free-throw shooting teams in the country, with a team average of 79.5 percent. Gaze leads the way at 89.6 percent, having converted 44 of her last 45 free-throws, including a recent streak of 37 straight.
SMC (RPI 55) has several wins over top 100 programs including Gonzaga (14), BYU (39), San Diego (49), USC (51), Washington (73) and Alabama (74).