MORAGA, Calif. — Carly Turner did it all for the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team Saturday afternoon – and all in the final 11.3 seconds.
Turner hit three free throws in the game’s final seconds to break a tie and blocked a potential game-tying 3-pointer on the other end, as the Gaels defeated San Francisco 75-72 in a West Coast Conference matchup at McKeon Pavilion.
Saturday’s game featured 15 lead changes and 10 ties. San Francisco (8-7, 2-2 WCC) led by as many as 10 points in the third quarter and held a lead for 27 minutes. But the Gaels (7-8, 2-2 WCC) erased the deficit with a 14-2 run to end the third and an 11-3 stretch to close the game.
Turner finished with a career-high 25 points and career high-tying 10 rebounds for her second career double-double. She also had three assists, two steals and two blocks –none more important than the one that came with just four seconds left in the game.
Turner hit three of four free throws with 10.6 seconds left to break a 72-72 tie. The sequence included a technical foul on the San Francisco bench and a foul to stop the clock. That made it 75-72 and gave USF a chance to tie with a 3-pointer. But down on the other end of the court, Turner stuck close to Rachel Howard and blocked her long-ball attempt with four seconds left, collecting the rebound and letting the time run out.
“It was really tense,” said Turner of the final seconds. “I missed one of the free throws and that kind of put them in a position where they could hit a three and stay in the game. We could’ve gone into overtime so it was kind of scary. But when it got down to it and I knew (Howard) had to shoot, it was quite open so the block was nice and just standing there and waiting it out was fun.”
Megan McKay gave Saint Mary’s two 20-point scorers with 23. She tied her career best with 16 boards, including eight on both the offensive and defensive end. It was a big game for McKay after games of six and zero points to start WCC play.
“Grinding in there is hard work. It’s really hard work,” said McKay, “and sometimes if I’m not mentally prepared, self-doubt is probably the hardest thing. Today I just overcame that, and I really should do that all the time. Getting out of your own head is probably the biggest struggle and believing you can just do it and trusting your body that you just know how to do it and you can.”
Stella Beck added nine points, three rebounds, three steals and an assist. San Francisco was led by Kalyn Simon’s 22 points (4 for 6 3-pointers). Michaela Rakova was one rebound short of a double-double at 15 points and nine boards. USF shot 40.9 percent (9 for 22) from the 3-point arc and 45.6 percent from the floor but had 20 turnovers and 29 fouls, including two technicals.
“I think the intensity for a Saturday afternoon game after being on the road since Wednesday, that was a pretty good basketball game. That was a very competitive game. I think that is USF and Coach Goodenbour. I think she instills that competitive spirit in her team. I like to think that we do (as well).”
Saturday’s victory was Saint Mary’s first in a game decided by five points or less. The Gaels were 0-5 in those games entering Saturday. SMC also got back on the glass after getting outrebounded in back-to-back games. The Gaels topped USF on the boards, 46-34, including 21-7 on the offensive end. That led to a 14-2 advantage in second-chance points.
“It’s really strange for us because the last two years we’ve been great at (winning close games),” said Turner. Finishing out games was our strength. We’re just starting to re-adjust. We’ve had ups and downs. We’ve found ourselves a few times but to come together at the end of the game was a huge thing for us because we haven’t done that this season and I think it was really important. We really needed it.”
Saint Mary’s continues its current three-game home stand next week when it hosts Portland and Gonzaga on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Tickets are available for purchase on the SMCGaels.com tickets website or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx. Both games will be streamed live on the Gaels’ “GaelVision” Gameday Central page.
SUPPORT THE GAELS
A gift to the Gael Athletic Fund directly benefits Saint Mary's student-athletes, allowing them the opportunity to attain an education guided by our Catholic, Lasallian and Liberal Arts traditions. Click the link for more information.
FOLLOW THE GAELS
@SMCGaels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) SMC_Gaels (Snapchat)