Jan. 26, 2008
Moraga, CA - The Gaels' second West Coast Conference game of the week proved to be a close one; as Saint Mary's pulled away with a minute and a half remaining to defeat San Diego, 71-63. The Saturday afternoon barn-burner consisted of 14 lead changes, eight ties, and no lead larger than eight points. Saint Mary's triple-threat could not be stopped, as Jontelle Smith, Lauren Shaughnessy, and Louella Tomlinson each posted in the double-digit range.
Smith was on fire throughout the game, recording 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the floor. The junior also picked up three rebounds and three steals in the game. Shaughnessy showed remarkable leadership throughout the contest, recording 18 points, six rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the game. Shaughnessy was 7-of-9 from the charity stripe, hitting four crucial free-throws down the stretch. Rounding out the major scorers was Tomlinson, chipping in 18 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks.
The Gaels started the game off cold from the floor, but back-to-back three-pointers by Tomlinson and Smith broke the Saint Mary's offensive game open, as they took a 7-2 lead at the 16:14 mark. San Diego responded by making three-point plays the old fashion way, as Emily Hatch and Brianna Estell helped the Toreros cut the lead to 10-9.
San Diego recaptured the lead on a lay-up by Amanda Rego, 15-12, and continued to push ahead of the Gaels off a Torero three-pointer, taking the largest advantage of the first half, 18-12. At the 8:20 mark the Gaels picked up their energy offensively, tying the score at 20 apiece. Saint Mary's maintained continuous pressure on defense to keep San Diego scoreless for five straight possessions, allowing the Gaels to go on an 8-2 run.
Chambers took back the lead at the charity stripe, knocking down two free throws to give the Gaels a 22-20 lead with 7:36 remaining. Both teams would trade the lead back and forth, until the Gaels inched ahead to take a 29-25 lead with 4:25 remaining in the half. San Diego surged back into the game as they went on a 4-0 run, tying the game at 29 apiece with 2:43 left to play in the first half. But the Gaels did not let their offensive rhythm slip, as they held the lead at halftime, 35-33.
Tomlinson and Smith led the Gaels at the half with 13 and 10 points respectively. Almost half of Tomlinson's points came from the charity stripe, as she went 6-of-7 from the free throw line in the first half. Smith converted on a pair of high flying lay-ups and two three-pointers, as she went 4-of-10 from the field in the first half.
Saint Mary's would start the second half off slow, as San Diego took a 48-40 lead over the Gaels with 15:06 reaming. The Gaels would then go on a 13-0 run behind the triple-threat. Tomlinson scored on back-to-back possession for the Gaels, 48-48, and then Shaughnessy caught fire for two back-to-back of her own. With the game tied at 48 apiece Jontelle Smith hit on back-to-back possessions giving the Gaels a 53-48 advantage with 11:18 left in the game.
The remainder of the game would be a battle, with both teams exchanging the lead. Down three points at the 2:10 mark, Smith would knock down the 160th three-pointer of her career, tying the game at 63-63. With 1:06 remaining the gym exploded with excitement, as Kira Kojola recorded her first field goal of the ball game to give Saint Mary's a three point lead.
With 44.4 seconds remaining Shaughnessy would make the Toreros pay, as she knocked down two crucial free throws to extend the Gaels lead to five. Again Shaughnessy would prove to be clutch at the free throw line, sealing the game with two more free throws, 71-63.
San Diego was led by Sam Child in the game, recording 18 points and six rebounds.
The Gaels return to WCC action next week as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face undefeated Gonzaga on January 31, at 7:00 PM and Portland on Saturday, February 2 at 1:00 PM.