WBK | Tigers Top Gaels In WCC Tournament
The Saint Mary's women's basketball team was eliminated Friday from the 2018 WCC Championship Tournament by Pacific
LAS VEGAS -- Pacific's first team all-West Coast Conference senior guard GeAnna Luaulu Summers took over in the fourth quarter Friday, carrying the Tigers on a 13-1 go-ahead run that would prove to be the difference in the game, as seventh-seeded Pacific upended No. 2 seed Saint Mary's, 77-73, in the quarterfinals of the WCC Championship Tournament at Orleans Arena.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Scoring runs and Saint Mary's turnovers made the day for Pacific (15-16), as the Tigers came back numerous times from being down by several possessions. And during each of their comebacks - including the game-winning 13-1 stretch during the fourth quarter - it was turnovers that stifled Saint Mary's (20-10).
- Saint Mary's led for more than 32 minutes Friday and led by five at 58-53 in the fourth quarter, but Luaulu-Summers took control in the fourth, scoring nine points during a 13-1 go-ahead run with two separate and-one plays and a 3-pointer. She would score 15 total in the quarter to finish with 20 in the game as the Tigers surged ahead for good.
- Saint Mary's turned the ball over a season-high 29 times, leading to 30 Pacific points. It turned the ball over seven times in each of the first three quarters and eight times in the fourth. During Pacific's game-winning fourth-quarter run, the Gaels turned the ball over five times.
- SMC made a last-gasp effort in the game's final minute, fouling to stop the clock and send Pacific to the free-throw line. But the Tigers hit 11 of 16 free throws in the final 62 seconds of the game to hold off SMC. Jordyn Boesel hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left to make it 75-73, but Ameela Li hit both of her free throws to clinch the game.
- Pacific refused to go away in the first half, coming back from multiple seven-, eight- and nine-point deficits in each of the first two quarters. The Gaels started the game with a 14-5 run powered by eight points from Megan McKay. SMC's defense also did work in the opening minutes, holding Pacific to just 2 for 12 shooting (16.7 percent) to start.
- But the Tigers answered with a 7-0 stretch of its own to make it a two-point contest. Pacific made three straight field goals while the Gaels turned the ball over four times during the run, and it was 14-12. SMC would close the quarter with two buckets from Sydney Raggio to lead 19-14.
- The Gaels again built their lead to nine past the midway point of the second quarter at 34-25, but again the Tigers came back. Five free-throws from Desire Finnie - who had 16 points in the first half - and three points from GeAnna Luaulu-Summers in the final two minutes cut the Gaels' lead to one at 34-33. Raggio sank an eight-foot jumper at the buzzer to give SMC a three-point lead heading into halftime.
- 1st: Friday marked the first time Saint Mary's lost this season when leading at halftime. The Gaels led Pacific 36-33 at halftime and had entered the game 16-0 when being ahead after two quarters.
- 11: Raggio logged her 11th double-double of the season by matching career highs in both points (26) and rebounds (15). It was her second double-double in the last three games.
- 29: Saint Mary's 29 turnovers led to 30 points for Pacific. Eight different Gaels turned the ball over at least once.
- 50: Saint Mary's grabbed 50 rebounds and outrebounded Pacific by 22. It was the third time this season it has pulled down at least 50 boards.
- 2015-16: Saint Mary's was eliminated from the WCC Championship Tournament by a lower seed for the first time since 2015-16, when No. 6 seed and eventual champion San Francisco edged the Gaels in the semifinals, 67-65.
Head Coach Paul Thomas
- "We left too many plays out on the floor and a lot of those things were mental mistakes. There were too many defensive mistakes, especially in the fourth quarter. I think the momentum shifted when they got the lead. I am pretty happy how we ended the game. We did a good job of extending the game and doing the right things in the end. It is sad for Stella, I know it was certainly not what she was dreaming about all year. The good news is we will play in the postseason in the end, and we will see where that takes us."
- "Our field goal percentage was good enough to win, we got to the free throw line well enough to win and rebounded well enough to win. We gave up 30 possessions. This game was exactly how our season went, we lose at home to Loyola Marymount and played super well against Gonzaga. Who can explain that. We are going to practice on Monday and hope to get better."
- "I think we were very inconsistent. We went out for a portion and they came back. They had the guts to do it before and they knew that they could do it again. They finally tipped us over the edge. We turned the ball over and they got some good shots."
- "I think the best part about the season was the group of girls. We are so close and such good friends. It's been fun when we have been playing well."
- "This has been the closest team we have had ever since I have been here. It didn't end how we wanted it to, but we made some great strides this season, beating Gonzaga. We had our highs and lows."
- Saint Mary's is guaranteed to play in the 2018 postseason by virtue of their second-place finish in the WCC, either in the NCAA Tournament or in the WNIT. The NCAA Tournament first and second rounds will be held on March 16-19. The WNIT holds its first round games on March 14-16.
- The 2018 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship bracket will be announced on March 12 at 4 p.m. PST. The WNIT field will be announced before 9 p.m. PST on March 12.
- Where ever the Gaels end up playing, fans can find schedule updates and live coverage links for all games on SMCGaels.com.
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