SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the opening game of a four-game conference home stand, Santa Clara women's basketball fell Saint Mary's in a tight game by a final of 80-70. The loss puts the Broncos at 6-9 overall and 2-2 in WCC action while the Gaels are now 13-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Santa Clara returns to the floor Sat., Jan. 11 vs. newest WCC member Pacific at 2 p.m.
"Tonight was a hard-fought game on both sides," said Santa Clara head coach Jennifer Mountain. "They got the ball inside in the second half and that hurt us big time. We didn't do a particularly good job on Mauldin and allowed too many offensive boards. We played hard but gave up too many offensive rebounds and the wrong times."
Santa Clara shot 48.1% (26-54) from the field and 33.3% (4-12) from three. The Broncos had 25 rebounds, 18 assists, 17 turnovers, four blocks, and six steals. Paine led the offense with 19 points on 7-13 shooting with three assists and four boards. Nici Gilday added 18 points and four assists with two steals while Vanessa Leo scored 13 points and had two blocks.
Saint Mary's shot 40.7% (22-54) from the field and 21.4% (3-14) from three while shooting an impressive 33-36 from the free throw line. The Gaels had 36 rebounds, eight assists, 13 turnovers, one block, and six steals. Danielle Mauldin led the offense with 24 points and 17 rebounds while going 10-11 from the free throw line. Jackie Nared scored 19 points on 12-12 shooting from the charity stripe while Shannon Mauldin added 13 points and was 7-8 on free throws.
After Santa Clara scored the first bucket of the game, Saint Mary's came back with five straight points. The Broncos responded with a 6-0 run in just under a minute to retake the lead but Carli Rosenthal hit one in the lane to end the run and make the score 8-7 at 16:12.
Paine nailed a three with the game tied 12-12 at 13:45 to get Santa Clara back on top. S. Mauldin answered with a slash through the lane and the Gaels went back on top when Nared hit a pair from the charity stripe.
Down by three and the shot clock winding down, Paine hit a three from NBA range to even the score at 20-20 with just under 10 minutes left on the clock. Saint Mary's got right back on top with a pair from the free throw line by Nared and a layup from D. Mauldin.
Gilday put Santa Clara back on top 29-26 with a three from the top of the key at 5:53 and Avila forced a travel on the defensive end. After the Gales hit one of two from the line, Marie Bertholdt hit a jumper from the free throw line to get the Broncos on top by four with five minutes left in the half.
Saint Mary's tied the game at 37-37 with 30 seconds left and the Broncos held on for the last shot but were unsuccessful and the game went to the half with the score tied.
Santa Clara shot 53.8% (14-26) from the field and 42.9% (3-7) from three in the first half. The Broncos had 13 rebounds, 11 assists, 10 turnovers, four blocks, and four steals. Paine led the offense with 14 points on 5-9 shooting and two rebounds. Gilday added nine points and three assists while three other Broncos had four points each.
Saint Mary's shot 37.9% (11-29) from the field and 16.7% (1-6) from three in the first half. The Gaels had 18 rebounds, three assists, eight turnovers, one block, and two steals. S. Mauldin and D. Mauldin led the offense with nine points each. D. Mauldin added six rebounds while S. Mauldin had two steals.
The Gaels came out and scored the first five points of the second half to make the score 42-37. Gilday got Santa Clara on the board with a three from Gilday and Paine tied the score with a layup.
Santa Clara went on a 6-0 run over 1:50 to get back out on top by two with 15:31. Three different Broncos scored during the run. Three straight free throws by Saint Mary's put the Gaels back in the lead 49-48 with 14:12 on the clock.
The Broncos fought back to get in the lead by as many as three but Saint Mary's used a 6-0 run over 1:13 to take a five-point lead at 61-56. Gilday ended the run with a transition jumper at 9:05.
Gilday hit a jumper and Katie Hawkins slashed to the lane for an and-one opportunity at 8:14. She missed the free throw but Santa Clara got the offensive board to keep possession but could not convert.
The lead got out to double-digits for the first time on a 9-0 run by Saint Mary's over two and a half minutes. Lauren Nicholson hit a three from the right corner as the shot clock expired to cap the run. Leo came back and finished a three-point play to get the deficit back to single-digits.
Three straight free throws by the Broncos got the deficit down to six with two and a half minutes remaining. A defensive stop led to a jumper by Gilday to make the score 72-68 with 1:43 on the clock.
Saint Mary's was able to close out the game by hitting its free throws down the stretch and sealed the win.
Game Notes: Attendance was 358 … Saint Mary's made its first 10 free throws before finally missing. … Nici Gilday pushed her streak of consecutive made free throws to 22.