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Saint Mary's tops UNLV 71-63 in WNIT first round

Mar. 16, 2012

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MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's women's basketball team defeated UNLV 71-63 in the first-round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament on Thursday night. The win gives the Gaels 22 wins this season, which ties the second most (26) in school history.

With the victory, Saint Mary's improves to 22-10, while UNLV drops to 22-10. The Gaels advance to the WNIT second-round and will face Oregon State in Corvallis on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Jackie Nared led the Gaels with 22 points while adding eight rebounds. Jasmine Smith added 21 points on 9-for-17 field-goals. Danielle Mauldin added eight points and nine rebounds.

Saint Mary's led by as many 19 points early in the second-half and withstood the Lady Rebels' rally to earn the post-season victory. The Gaels outshot UNLV 47.1 percent to 31.3 percent. SMC held the Rebels to a 25 percent clip in the first-half. SMC overcame a game-high 31 points from Kelli Thompson of UNLV.

The Rebels quickly cut into the SMC 19 point lead as UNLV pulled with 42-35 with 15:19 remaining. Smith and Alex Carbonel answered with back-to-back buckets to push the lead back to double-digits. UNLV got as close as four points at 51-47 with 7:10 left, but SMC scored the next five points to push the lead back to nine. UNLV would later come within five points, but the Gaels found an answer to each run.

Saint Mary's shot well down the stretch from the free-throw line to ice the game. SMC finished with a 19-for-24 mark from the line, 79.2 percent. The Gaels outrebounded UNLV 44-36.

Saint Mary's advances to the second round of the WNIT and will play at Oregon State at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday. Earlier this season, SMC won at OSU 81-61 on December 21.

-Courtesy of SMC Athletics