WBK | Gonzaga Holds Off Gaels' Comeback
WCC leader Gonzaga had to make nine free throws in the final minute of the game to keep the Saint Mary's women's basketball team at bay
MORAGA, Calif. -- Thursday night's battle of the West Coast Conference's top two women's basketball teams went the way of Gonzaga, as the Bulldogs fought off a second-half Saint Mary's comeback to win 73-65 at McKeon Pavilion.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Gonzaga (14-4, 7-0 WCC) led by eight at halftime, but Saint Mary's (12-6, 5-2 WCC) stormed back coming out of the locker room in the third quarter, tying the game with a 13-5 run while holding the Bulldogs to just 25 percent shooting in the frame. Raggio led the charge, scoring six of the Gaels' 13 points, including the game-tying layup with 2 minutes, 41 seconds left in the period, making 46-46. She would finish with 12 points.
- Raggio made it a three-point game (58-55) after finishing a layup in traffic with 4:33 to go in the fourth quarter that kept the Gaels in the game. Stella Beck added 12 fourth quarter points and Saint Mary's tried to rally and take down Gonzaga in the final frame. While Beck would score the Gaels' last 10 points, Gonzaga would hold off the Gaels by going 9-for-10 from the free-throw line in the final 51 seconds.
- Gonzaga turned a close first quarter into a double-digit lead on the heels of an 11-0 run to start the second quarter. Saint Mary's did not score in the first five minutes of the frame, but still finished with 15 points in the quarter. Beck gave the Gaels their first point of the quarter at the 5:16 mark that sparked back-to-back treys from Katie Rathbun off the bench. Gonzaga would have an answer for every Gaels basket as they maintained a 41-33 lead at the half. Gonzaga outshot the Gaels 55.2 to 48.0 percent in the first two quarters.
- Gonzaga led by three points after a close first quarter by shooting 57.1 percent from the field forcing the Gaels into six early turnovers, leading to eight Bulldog points. Madeline Holland led the Gaels early with six points on two made 3s.
- Megan McKay, Holland and Beck gave the Gaels their first 12 points in the first six minutes of start the game. Saint Mary's never led in the opening period, but they also never trailed by more than five.
- 3: Three Gaels scored in double-digit points: Stella Beck (23), Megan McKay (12) and Sydney Raggio (12). Beck's 23 points were one point shy of her season-high 24 at San Diego on Jan. 6.
- 13: Saint Mary's dished out 13 assists compared to Gonzaga's eight. Madeline Holland had a game-high five dimes. Jasmine Forcadilla and Sydney Raggio chipped in three apiece while Stella Beck dished out two.
- 32: 32 of Saint Mary's points were in the paint over Gonzaga's 30. Both teams scored more than half of their points outside the paint.
- 37: Saint Mary's outrebounded Gonzaga 37-25 on both sides of the glass. The Gaels had 21 defensive boards over the Bulldogs' 13. Saint Mary's grabbed 16 offensive rebounds over Gonzaga's 12.
Head Coach Paul Thomas
- "We came out with a little more sense of urgency in the third quarter. We gave them a 10-point cushion because we turned the ball over a couple of times. We gave them too many second-chance points, and those are all things we talked about in preparation for Gonzaga. Gonzaga makes you pay for your mistakes and that is what good teams do."
- "What our bread-and-butter is is punching the ball inside and being aggressive to the basket, and we did that coming out of halftime. Taking care of the ball has been our achilles heel and we have to do a better job, that is all there is to it. We can't have 22 turnovers against a team like Gonzaga."
- "We got what we deserved. We played well enough to beat them in the end. They made their free throws and they did what they needed to do to get the win. Bounce back, practice tomorrow, and get ready for tomorrow Pacific."
- "Being aggressive, just catching the ball and trying to attack the hoop. It's something we did a lot in practice this week, especially when they press, we try to catch the ball on the way in and rip and go. They were icing the screen a lot, so just trying to engage someone so you can either get past someone or make a pass to someone else. They are a good defensive team so literally just trying to get around someone."
- "A man named frank comes up to me before the game every time and gives me a fist bump and goes "1 of 6." He reminds me of how many games I have left every time we play, so it's good motivation. I would love to beat Gonzaga at least one time in my career, if I have to wait until the conference tournament to do that, that's fine, but hopefully two times. Last time playing them at home, that is no different."
- "We prepare the same. We always do scout, we always do film, we always do the same things - focus on what we need to do to win. We've always got a little bit more juice, we are always a little more anxious and excited because it's a rivalry game, but the preparation is usually the same. Coach is always a bit more fired up too."
- Saint Mary's four-game home stand concludes Saturday with a 2 p.m. tip-off versus Pacific. The Gaels then the road to take on BYU, Portland, and USF. Tickets for Saturday's game are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx. Fans can find all live coverage links on SMCGaels.com.
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