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Saint Mary's defeats Pepperdine 67-63 in West Coast Conference quarterfinal

Mar. 1, 2012

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- The Saint Mary's women's basketball team defeated Pepperdine by a 67-63 score in the West Coast Conference Quarterfinals on Friday afternoon at the Orleans Arena. The game featured 11 ties and 10 lead changes, but it was the Gaels coming out on top, defeating the Waves for the third time this season.

With the win, Saint Mary's improves to 21-9, while Pepperdine's season comes to a close at 14-15. The Gaels advance to the WCC semifinals and will face No. 20 Gonzaga at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Four Gaels scored in double-figures, led by Danielle Mauldin's 17 points and nine rebounds. Jasmine Smith, Mia Greco and Jackie Nared each scored 10 points. Nared also grabbed nine rebounds while Greco dished out five assists. Morgan Hatten hit a pair of big three-pointers and scored nine points off the bench.

The Gaels had to overcome a career-night from Pepperdine's Lauren Bell who scored 30 points, including six three-pointers.

Saint Mary's, the WCC's top free-throw shooting team, struggled from the line the entire game, going 18-for-30 (60 percent) for the game. That, paired with Pepperdine's offensive rebounding, kept the Waves within striking distance the entire way. SMC outshot Pepperdine 47.6 percent to 35.7 percent.

With the score tied at 60-60 with 2:29 left, the Gaels went to Smith who nailed a three-pointer to give SMC a 63-60 edge with 2:01 remaining. The Gaels would never surrender that lead, but the Waves had opportunities to tie or take the lead.

With the Gaels up 64-63 with 50 seconds left, Nared was fouled and sank 1-of-2 to put SMC up 65-63 with 31 seconds left. After both teams used timeouts, the Waves missed a shot with 14 seconds left and Mauldin chased down the rebound and was later fouled. When it counted the most, Mauldin calmly sank two free throws for the 67-63 lead with five seconds left and that would remain the final.

The Gaels' largest lead came in the beginning of the game as SMC led 8-0. Pepperdine would rally back to lead by as many as six in the first half as the Waves held a 33-32 halftime lead.

With 21 victories this season, the Gaels have now tied (2009-10) the third highest win total in school history. The only two higher previous marks are 22 wins (1990-91) and 26 wins (2000-01).

The Gaels square off with Gonzaga at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Gaels and Bulldogs split the two WCC match-ups earlier this season.

-Courtesy of SMC Athletics