WBK | Gaels Find Groove In Comeback Win Over UT Martin
The Saint Mary's women's basketball team opened the Basketball Travelers Inc. Invitational with a win Sunday
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Saint Mary's women's basketball got its groove back Sunday, beating UT Martin 69-58 to open the Basketball Travelers Inc. Invitational at Purdue University's Mackey Arena with all of its familiar strengths.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- It took a half of basketball for the Gaels to find it all, but the second half was all Saint Mary's (6-3) brand basketball. The Gaels outscored the Skyhawks 37-24 after halftime, including holding them to just nine third-quarter points. SMC outrebounded UT Martin 35-20 in the game with a 22-8 in the second half alone. The Gaels also shot 80 percent (8 for 10) from the free-throw line, all in the second half, after shooting 65.4 percent or worse in each of their last four games.
- Megan McKay scored nine of her game-high 19 points in the third quarter, helping the Gaels overcome a 34-32 halftime deficit and take the lead for good. She was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line in the period, including scoring each of the Gaels' final five points of the frame from there while SMC held the Skyhawks scoreless for the final 3:44.
- Katie Rathbun and Joy Akaegbu-Cleveland played key roles in helping SMC hold off UT Martin in the fourth quarter. The Skyhawks made four of six field goals midway through the final period to cut a 10-point deficit in half. But Akaegbu-Cleveland twice answered UTM buckets with scoring plays, and Rathbun sandwiched the Skyhawks' run with two 3-pointers, helping the Gaels hold onto the lead and eventually pull away for the win.
- The Skyhawks made eight of their last 10 shots in the first quarter, jumping out to a seven-point, 19-12 lead before settling for a 21-16 advantage after one. The Skyhawks shot 52.9 percent in the first quarter, but would only shoot 39 percent the rest of the way.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
- 3: Stella Beck was credited with three blocks Sunday, a season high and one short of her career-best four last season at Loyola Marymount. Beck has recorded at least one block in seven of her last nine games, and her 10 this season is only six short of her career season high of 16 in 2015-16.
- 8: Jasmine Forcadilla dished a career-best eight assists Sunday. She posted a 2.00 assists-to-turnovers ratio after carrying a 0.81 ratio through the season's first eight games.
- 14: McKay grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds to lead all players. It was just two short of her career-high of 16, which she achieved twice last season.
- 18.8: The Gaels shot just 18.8 percent (3 for 16) from 3-point range. It was the second straight game they have shot less than 20 percent from deep after shooting under 35 percent just once in their first seven games this year.
- 53.7: The Gaels shot 53.7 percent in the game, their best field goal shooting percentage in four games, and second best on the year behind their 57.4 percent performance versus Indiana on Nov. 25.
- Saint Mary's continues play in the Basketball Travelers Inc. Invitational at Purdue University on Monday with another neutral site game versus Eastern Washington. The Eagles fell to host Purdue, 65-40, earlier on Sunday.
- Monday's game tips off at 1 p.m. at Purdue's Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. There will be no live video stream of the game, but fans can find live stats coverage on SMCGaels.com. Live social media updates will also be provided on @GaelsWBB and @SMCGaels.
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