LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team came up short in the West Coast Conference semifinals, falling to No. 18 Gonzaga 68-60 on Monday afternoon at the Orleans Arena.
“I felt pretty positive until the last four minutes,” said head coach Paul Thomas. “ I thought we were in a pretty good position but just did not get it done in the final minutes.”
Despite being down by 13 points in the second half, the Gaels rallied again, pulling within four points late in the game.
Saint Mary’s was led by Jackie Nared with 29 points and 11 rebounds, while Danielle Mauldin added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
The Gaels started the game with an 8-1 rebounding edge and the game was tied 5-5 at the first media timeout. Shannon Mauldin picked up her third foul before the 12 minute media timeout and took a seat for the rest of the half. After taking a 17-15 lead on a Nared jumper, Gonzaga retook the lead 19-17 with 7:10 remaining at the under eight media timeout.
With 5:23 left in the first half, Lauren Nicholson returned to the line-up with the Gaels down 24-17. It was the Aussie’s first appearance since January 4th, the game at BYU.
GU hit a three-pointer at the 1:28 mark to spark a run that helped the Bulldogs take a 37-26 lead at the half.
In the second half, after trailing 39-26, Nared hit a jumper and a three-pointer to spark a 9-0 SMC run as the Gaels pulled within 39-35 with 16:07 remaining.
At the 11:23 mark, Nared broke through inside and pulled SMC within 49-45 but Gonzaga answered with a three-pointer.
Gonzaga went on a small run to take a 58-48 lead at the 4:48 mark before Gaze ended the run with a jumper to make it 58-50 GU.
Saint Mary’s pulled within 59-52 with 3:15 remaining after a pair of Danielle Mauldin free-throws. Gonzaga did not let the Gaels get closer than six points the rest of the way as Gonzaga won 68-60.