MALIBU, Calif. — Momentum continued to build Saturday for the Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team midway through the West Coast Conference schedule, as the Gaels led wire to wire in its second straight road win, an 81-60 victory over Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Saint Mary’s (10-9, 5-3 WCC) has won four of its last five games and five of eight, with all three the defeats coming by just five points or less. The Gaels have steadily improved in multiple areas during their recent hot streak. Saturday’s win helped SMC stay among the leaders as the WCC standings begin to finally show separation four weeks in. The Gaels are tied for third place with San Francisco, just one game behind a two-way tie for first place between BYU and Gonzaga.
Saturday it was the Gaels’ performance from deep and at the free-throw line that helped them pull away from Pepperdine (5-14, 3-5 WCC) late. SMC made 10 3-pointers for the second time in three games, going 10 for 24 (41.7 percent). Four different Gaels made treys, led by Devyn Galland’s four, which accounted for all 12 of her points. Carly Turner had three with 12 points and Jasmine Forcadilla had two long balls for her six points.
Devon Brookshire led all players with 17 points off the bench. She only had one 3-pointer, but her perfect 8 for 8 run at the charity stripe accented the Gaels’ 15 for 16 (93.8 percent) showing. Saint Mary’s has shot 75 percent or better from the free-throw line in three straight games, making double-digit free throws in each of them.
Balanced scoring has also been a theme lately for Saint Mary’s. Saturday it had four players with double-digit points – the third such occurrence in its last four games. Sydney Raggio led all players with 12 rebounds, tying a season high. The Gaels continued to dominate the boards as it has all season, outrebounding the Waves 48-26. SMC had 20 offensive rebounds that led to a 20-8 edge in second-chance points.
With all the rising offensive numbers, the Saint Mary’s defense also did its part Saturday. SMC held its opponent to under 40 percent shooting (39.7) for the second straight game. The Gaels shut down Pepperdine’s leading scorer, Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, limiting her to just two points on 1 for 10 shooting. She entered the game as the WCC’s fourth-leading scorer at 15.4 points per game.
The Waves were led by Sydney Bordonaro and Kim Jacobs who each had 14 points. Jacobs made four 3-pointers as Pepperdine shot 50 percent (9 for 18) from deep. Paige Fecske added 10 points, six assists and four rebounds off the bench.
Saint Mary’s concludes its current road trip where it has played nothing but teams tied or above it in the standings at USF on Thursday. The two teams tied for third and chasing first place will tip at 7 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the Gaels’ “GaelVision” Gameday Central page.
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