WBK | Gaels Continue WCC Play On The Road
The Saint Mary's women's basketball team plays two road games this week against WCC opponents Pacific and San Diego
MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's women's basketball team's early West Coast Conference schedule continues with two more road games this week, as the Gaels travel to nearby Pacific on Thursday before heading south to San Diego on Saturday.
Thursday, Jan. 4, 7 p.m. - Saint Mary's (8-5, 1-1 WCC) at Pacific (6-7, 0-2 WCC)
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2 p.m. - Saint Mary's at San Diego (8-4, 1-1 WCC)
LAST TIME OUT
The Gaels split their opening WCC weekend, falling in their opener at Loyola Marymount Thursday before shutting down BYU on Saturday at home. The Gaels rebounded well in both games, grabbing 41 and 46 boards, respectively. But they also struggled to hold on to the ball, turning it over 24 times and 22 times, respectively. Megan McKay was the lone Gael who scored double-figure points in both games last week, tallying 12 points at LMU and 13 against BYU.
ABOUT SAINT MARY'S
The Gaels (8-5, 1-1 WCC) fell in a WCC opener for the first time in seven years Thursday when they were defeated by LMU. The Gaels have only played two home games since Thanksgiving, going 4-4 in that stretch. The Gaels are 1-4 in true road games this season.
While Saint Mary's is not grabbing the most rebounds per game in the WCC, it is allowing the least by far. The Gaels rank first in the WCC in rebounding defense, limiting opponents to just 30.7 boards per contest. The next best team is San Diego, allowing 33.0 per game. Saint Mary's has the last two of the top-10 scorers in the conference (Sydney Raggio, 9th; Megan McKay, 10th), but they have three in the top-15 (Stella Beck, 13th), something no other team can claim.
The Tigers (6-7, 0-2 WCC) were swept on WCC opening week. They lost two games by 15+ points, falling to Gonzaga at home, 99-72, in Thursday's opener, then dropping a 75-60 decision at Loyola Marymount on Saturday. Pacific is 5-4 at home this season, but has lost two of its last three there. The Tigers have lost five of their last seven games overall.
Pacific is one of the best offensive teams in the conference, leading in scoring (77.7 points per game) and free-throw percentage (71.5 percent) while also ranking among the WCC's top-five in field goal percentage (4th, 42.6 percent), 3-point field goal percentage (5th, 30.0 percent), and rebounding (4th, 40.7 rpg). However, the Tigers are also the worst defensive team in the conference, allowing 79.5 ppg. GeAnna Luaulu-Summers is Pacific's do-everything senior. She was named to the 2017-18 Preseason All-WCC team after being named first team all-WCC last year. She currently leads the conference in assists per game (5.7) and is second in steals (2.8 per game) and fifth in scoring (16.1 ppg).
ABOUT SAN DIEGO
The Toreros (8-4, 1-1 WCC) were one of four WCC teams to split their WCC opening weekend. They beat San Francisco on the road to kick off conference play, then fell to Pepperdine, 66-62, in Malibu on Saturday. San Diego has been streaky this season. All of its wins have come packaged with at least two in a row, including two separate three-game winning streaks. They also suffered a three-game losing streak to start December. USD is undefeated (5-0) at home, beating opponents by an average of 17.6 ppg.
The Toreros are ranked among the WCC's top-five in 17 different categories. They excel in ball-handling, ranking first in turnover margin (+3.2) and assists-to-turnovers ratio (1.06). They are also third in assists (16.2 per game) and second in steals (8.8 per game). They have allowed opponents to shoot 42.5 percent this season, second-worst in the conference, but they have limited them to just 62.5 points per game - third-best in the WCC. Aubrey Ward-El is USD's leading scorer at 14.6 ppg. Maya Hood leads the Toreros with 7.5 rebounds per game.
Saint Mary's will get comfortable at home following this week's road trip with six of their next nine games at McKeon Pavilion. The stretch kicks off with a four-game home stand starting on Jan. 11 versus Santa Clara. Tickets 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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