SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's women's basketball team survived a barrage of outside shooting and a frenetic defensive effort to defeat host Sacramento State 77-69 in the third round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament at Colberg Court.
With the victory, Saint Mary's advances to the WNIT quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons. The Gaels travel to UCLA Sunday for a 2 p.m. tipoff in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins defeated Northern Colorado 74-60 in its third round game.
The Gaels improve to 23-10 on the season, while Sacramento State ends its seasom with an 18-16 record.
Four Saint Mary's players scored in double-figures, led by junior Lauren Nicholson's 19 points. Senior Hayley Hendricksen added 16 points, while Shannon Mauldin scored 13 and Stella Beck chipped-in 10. Carli Rosenthal and Mauldin led all rebounders with 10 apiece.
Sacramento State also had four players score in double-figures with Fantasia Hilliard and Brianna Burgos scoring a team-high 13 points each.
The Hornets, which lead the NCAA in 3-point field goals, steals, offensive rebounds and turnover margin, attempted 56 shots from behind the arc - just 3 shy of the NCAA record set they set in their season opener at San Diego State.
"This was a very significant victory because of the way we won," said SMC head coach Paul Thomas. "We won the game on the road against a team that plays a very different style than anybody we've played since we played them last.
"I thought the effort was there physically, but mentally we made some mistakes. But, you learn from it and we are moving on. Like any postseason game, win and you get to play again. We are very excited and happy about that."
The Gaels shot 58 percent from the field and made two of the three 3-point field goals they attempted. They also went 15-of-23 from the free throw line and attempted 17 more charity shots than Sacramento State. SMC also earned a significant 59-29 edge in rebounding.