Nov. 9, 2007
Waco, TX - Women's basketball picked up their intensity in the second half, helping them to an 87-80 win over the Prairie View Panthers. Five Gaels recorded double-digits in points, as junior Jontelle Smith led the way with 21 points. Joining Smith was Louella Tomlinson with15, Lauren Shaughnessy with 13, Sierra Chambers with 13, and Maija Lahde with 11. The Gaels were down by 13 points at one point during the first half, but turned things around after the break behind Smith's 13 second half points.
The Panthers took a quick lead over the Gaels to start the game, going on an 18-5 run to. Saint Mary's eventually broke a three and half minute drought, as Sierra Chambers went to the line and sunk both free throws. Shaughnessy hit back-to-back jumpers to put the Gaels down seven, 11-18. The Panthers continued their consistent play, increasing their lead to 12 with 8:05 left in the second half. The Gaels would get hot with 3:00 minutes left to play, receiving six of Chambers career-high 13 points. Benavente, Ellis, and Smith each chipped in two points in the last three minutes, as the Gaels cut the Panthers lead to five going into the break.
Sierra Chambers had a standout half for Saint Mary's, as she scored a career-high in the first half alone. The Las Vegas native also added three steals in the first half. Fifth year senior Lauren Shaughnessy had a solid half for the Gaels at the point guard position. Shaughnessy was 3-of-5 from the floor, while also scooping up a team-high seven rebounds. Rounding out the Gaels first half scoring was Jontelle Smith with eight points. Smith was 2-of-4 from beyond the arc and 2-of-3 from the line.
The Gaels increased their defensive pressure in the second half, incorporating a full-court press. Tomlinson put in back-to-back lay-ins to put the Gaels down 40-42. Saint Mary's would continue to capitalize on the Panther's turnovers, scoring on a Benavente three point conversion, a jumper by Lahde, and a three-pointer by Smith. With the run Saint Mary's took the lead at 48-46 with 17:31 to go in the second half. The Gaels continued to have the hot hand, going on an incredible 21-0 run, to go up 61-46 with 13:11 to go in the second half.
Five different Gaels scored in the 21-0 run, with Maija Lahde exploding for six points, Smith sinking two three-pointers, Tomlinson chipping in four points, Benavente with three, and Shaughnessy with two.
Saint Mary's would take a 15 point advantage over Prairie View, but the Panthers would respond late in the second half, closing the Gael's lead to five. Saint Mary's remained composed to finish the half, hitting three free-throws to end the game.
The Gaels beat the Panthers 87-80 in their opening game of the season. The Panthers were led by Gaati Werema with 23 points and Kandis Brown with 21 points.
Saint Mary's returns to action Saturday night, when they play the Baylor Bears at 7:30 PM CST.