WBK | 2017-18 Season Countdown: #10
SMCGaels.com counts down the days to the opening of the 2017-18 season with a 'numbers' look at the Saint Mary's Women's Basketball team
SMCGaels.com counts down to Opening Day of the 2017-18 Women’s Basketball Season on Nov. 10 with a selection of 10 stories to prepare fans for another year of Gaels basketball
MORAGA, Calif. — The 2016-17 Saint Mary’s women’s basketball season had plenty of memorable moments, but our first story of the countdown to 2017-18 only has room for 10. Refresh your memory with 10 moments and memories from the last Gaels campaign:
1. MARCH TO THE ‘SHIP
The Gaels appeared in the West Coast Conference Tournament championship game on March 6 for the first time in six years, getting through rival Santa Clara and BYU in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to land in a “Round 3” matchup vs. regular season champion Gonzaga. The Bulldogs had already narrowly defeated SMC twice in January and February. But this time Gonzaga got out to a 25-point second-half lead and held off a Saint Mary’s run that cut it to just seven, securing the 2016-17 WCC Tournament title in an 86-75 win in Las Vegas.
2. CAN’T STOP STELLA
The world tried its darndest to stop Stella Beck on Feb. 4 when the Gaels hosted San Diego, but the star junior wasn’t having any of it. Beck, already out the previous two games due to injury, was hit in the mouth by a basketball during warm-ups – so badly that it required treatment before tip-off. But did that faze her? NO. Instead, the guard from New Zealand went off for a career-high 28 points, half of which came during an overwhelming 33-8 run by the Gaels that powered the team past a 51-39 second-half deficit. She also had a team-high eight rebounds in the game to go with two assists and a steal.
3. TURNER DOWNS DONS ON AUSSIE DAY
It was only fitting that one of the Gaels’ three Australians made a big play on Australian Day 2016. 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 on Jan. 26. 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.
4. THOMAS WINS 200th AT SAINT MARY’S
A 75-65 victory over visiting Northern Colorado on Dec. 16 not only gave the Gaels their first home victory of the
5. AT THE BUZZER
Fans looking for exciting finishes
6. OFFENSE EXPLODES VS. PILOTS
Five players in double figures and a huge third quarter on Jan. 13 led Saint Mary’s to its largest offensive output of the season as the Gaels blew out Portland 92-76 at McKeon Pavilion. SMC scored 34 points in the third quarter alone. Four of the Gaels’ five starters finished with double-digit points. Nine different Gaels scored at least two points and grabbed at least one rebound.
Turner and Beck led Saint Mary’s with 19 points each. Sydney Raggio and Megan McKay both finished with 11. Devon Brookshire had 12 points and four rebounds off the bench. Jasmine Forcadilla was also impressive off the bench with eight points, three
7. MIDSEASON STREAKING
The Gaels gave themselves a big boost midway through the year when they went on a seven-game winning streak, part of a stretch in when they won nine of 10 from Jan. 7 to Feb. 9. The only thing keeping it from being a 10 or 11-game winning streak was two narrow defeats at the hands of Gonzaga. The Gaels outscored their opponents by more than nine points per game during their seven-game streak, including a 21-point blowout of Pepperdine on the road (Jan. 21) and double-digit victories over San Diego (Feb. 4) and Portland (Feb. 9).
8. GAELS ‘SHIP OFF TO BOSTON’
Saint Mary’s traveled over 2,600 miles in just the second weekend of the year to face two opponents in the City of Boston. The Gaels would sweep their trip to Beantown, dominating Northeastern 77-53 on Nov. 18 and downing Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College, 62-54, on Nov. 20. SMC outrebounded both opponents, logging 45 and 37 boards, respectively. It was especially dominant against the Huskies, leading by at least 20 points for the entire fourth quarter and final two minutes of the third.
9. McKAY ON POINT IN THE PAINT
Megan McKay lived in the paint last season and made it worth her time. She won the
10. HOME SWEET HOME
The Gaels continued their home dominance in 2016-17, posting a .643 winning percentage (9-5). Even with defeats factored in, SMC still outscored its opponents by an average of 5.3 points per game at home. The Gaels have won at least nine home games for eight consecutive years. They have posted no lower than a .643 home winning percentage for 10 straight seasons (since 2007-08). SMC has not had a home record below .500 in nearly three decades, a streak that started 29 years ago with a 10-4 home mark in 1988-89.
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