SAN FRANCISCO — It was only fitting that one of Saint Mary’s women’s basketball’s three Australians make a big play on Australian Day.
Carly Turner hit a 17-foot jumper with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock, and Saint Mary’s beat rival San Francisco in thrilling fashion, 64-62, at the War Memorial Gym at Sobrato Center.
The game-winning shot was a redeeming one for Turner, who just seconds before had committed a foul on USF’s Rachel Howard as she was shooting a 3-pointer. Howard’s trey went in, and she made her subsequent free throw to erase what had appeared to be a safe four-point lead for the Gaels with 18.3 seconds left.
“I had a lot to redeem myself for,” said Turner of her game-winner. “I knew there were three seconds left and Stella (Beck) tossed it out to me. (Stella) and I have been working on pull-ups so it was kind of lucky we were shooting this morning.”
It was just Turner’s second field goal made of the game, having gone 1 for 7 (0 for 3 3-pointers) before the shot. Saint Mary’s (11-9, 6-3 WCC) held off San Francisco (11-9, 5-4 WCC) for most of the fourth quarter. The Dons cut the lead to one point on two occasions, but it wasn’t until Howard’s four-point play that they finally tied the game.
Saint Mary’s had three double-figure scorers, led by Shannon Mauldin’s 14 points. Stella Beck scored 12 points and Devon Brookshire added 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. Sydney Raggio had seven points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Howard led all players with 26 points. She made four 3-pointers and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. Saint Mary’s once again won the rebounding battle, 44-27. It’s 16-7 advantage on the offensive glass led to a 14-4 difference in second-chance points.
Saint Mary’s started slow in the first quarter. The Gaels committed eight turnovers in and shot 33.3 percent. Eight of USF’s first-quarter points came off of SMC turnovers while it took an 18-13 lead.
But the tables turned in the second quarter. The Gaels took care of the ball, not committing a turnover in the period until the 2:34 mark. They also got to the free-throw line, making 10 of 14 free throws during a 14-0 run that gave SMC a 27-20 lead. The Gaels were already heading to the line for the double bonus at the 7:16 mark. They would take a 33-27 lead into halftime.
Saint Mary’s begins the second half of the WCC schedule with a three-game home stand beginning Saturday. The Gaels host Santa Clara at 1 p.m. Saturday before welcoming Pacific and San Diego on Feb. 2 and 4, respectively. Tickets are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
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