Nov. 3, 2007
Moraga, CA - The Saint Mary's women's basketball team maintained high-energy throughout their first game, as they defeated Loyola University of New Orleans 93-86 in overtime. The exhibition game against the Loyola Wolfpack marks the Gaels first outing of the 2007-08 season.
Freshman Louella Tomlinson scored 22 points and pulled down nine rebounds in her first outing as a Gael. The Australian native shot 10-of-13 from the floor, while also adding an impressive five blocks and two steals on the defensive end. Junior Jontelle Smith chipped in 21 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Gaels.
The Wolfpack's Smiths led the way, as Trenese Smith scored the game-high with 37 points, while her sister Trenell Smith added 17.
The Gaels came out running from the start, taking an 8-2 lead over the Wolfpack within the first four minutes of the game. The Gaels' defense continued to pester Loyola of New Orleans, forcing their opponent into six quick turnovers to start the game. With 9:58 left to go in the first half the Gaels ignited to take a 21-13 lead over the Wolfpack. Tomlinson scored two baskets in the Gael's run, and Jontelle Smith converted on a basket-and-one to give the Saint Mary's an eight point lead.
Loyola would surge back behind the offense of Trenese Smith. Smith would score 13 in a row for her Wolfpack, knocking down six free throws, two jumpers, and a three pointer. Her efforts would bring the Wolfpack to within two points, 28-26. Senior Gael, Serena Benavente would bring her opponents run to a stop, as she would score six points in the last 4:30 of the first half. Benavente and the Gaels would end the first half up, 38-31.
Jontelle Smith led the Gaels in the first half, scoring 13 points, while shooting 5-of-11 from the floor. Trenese Smith of the Wolfpack led all players with 14 points, shooting 3-of-7 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line.
Saint Mary's started the second half with high intensity, as the Gaels went on a 10-3 run to start the half , taking a 49-34 advantage over the Wolfpack. Tomlinson added five points in the run, while Gael defense forced five turnovers. Saint Mary's maintained the momentum throughout the majority of the second half, as the Gaels would hold a ten point advantage over the Wolfpack with 6:06 remaining.
The Wolfpack would catch fire late in the game, closing the Gaels lead to five with 3:45 left on the clock. Trenese Smith would continue to cause problems for the Gaels, as she would go on to score seven points in the last six minutes. Saint Mary's took a three point advantage on a Benavente free-throw conversion with 12 seconds to go, but the Wolfpack would respond with a three-pointer by Christine Mainguy to force Saint Mary's into overtime.
In overtime the Gaels took control, scoring the second into the period on a Maija Lahde layup. Tomlinson added five points in overtime, while Smith and Lahde each added four. Although the Wolfpack continued to keep the score close, the Gaels would come up with the overtime win, 93-86.
The Gaels travel to Waco, TX next weekend to compete in their first official game of the 2007-08 season. Saint Mary's will first face Prairie View on Friday, November 9 at 5:30 CST in the opening game of the Basketball Travelers Tip-Off Tournament.