Jan. 5, 2013
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LOS ANGELES - Hazel Ramirez poured in 23 points and Alex Cowling forced overtime with a tough lay-up in traffic, but the LMU women's basketball team came up just short in an 84-77 WCC loss to visiting Saint Mary's Saturday in Gersten Pavilion.
The Lions move to 7-8 overall and 1-1 in West Coast Conference play, falling for just the second time in eight games at home this season. Saint Mary's improves to 10-4 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Ramirez added six assists to go along with her team-high 23 points. The junior guard was also a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Cowling had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists as the only other Lion to reach double-figures.
Jackie Nared led the Gaels with 23 points, including three three-pointers, while also pulling down a game-high 12 boards. Danielle Mauldin had a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds while Morgan Hattan finished with 15 points and 11 boards. Kate Gaze also reached double figures, finishing with 13 points.
With just over five minutes remaining in regulation, Ramirez knocked down the Lions' lone three-pointer of the game to knot the score at 62-62. Neither team would find the bottom of the net for nearly three minutes until Mackenzie Kerins broke the scoreless drought with a pair of free throws at the 2:31 mark, giving LMU a 64-62 lead.
Gaze answered with a pair of free throws for SMC before Cowling hit a layup off a Ramirez assist putting a slim two-point lead back in the hands of the Lions. With 1:43 remaining, Mauldin answered with a layup of her own, tying the score for the 10th time, 66-66.
Three straight Saint Mary's free-throws put the visitor back in the lead with 24 seconds remaining, but LMU's Deanna Johnson was fouled after coming up with a big offensive rebound. The rookie made the first of two free throws before another offensive board game the Lions one more chance to force extra time.
Ramirez found Cowling under the basket off the baseline-out-of-bounds play and Cowling powered up through a swarm of Gael defenders to tie the game, 69-69.
Hattan had one final look at along running three as time expired, but her shot bounced off the front of the rim, sending the game into overtime.
In the five-minute extra period, the teams traded baskets and the Lions' Johnson gave the game its 14th tie, 75-75, with a layup at the 1:18 mark. But the tide turned from there as Hatten knocked down her third trey of the game and scored seven of the Gaels' final nine points as SMC pulled away for the seven-point victory.
The Gaels used a 12-2 run to lead by as many as 12 points in the first half, 35-23 with 3:24 remaining. The Lions chipped away as the half wound down, and a buzzer-beating jumper by Chelsea Barnes sent the teams into the locker room with SMC leading 38-31.
A 10-4 run to open the second half brought the Lions to within one, 42-41, with 16:45 remaining. Cowling hit a 15-foot jumper to give LMU a 49-47 lead, it's first since the 14:15 mark of the first half.
The Lions shot 40 percent from the field (29-for-72) and nearly 82 percent from the charity stripe (18-for-22), but hit just one of 13 tries from beyond the arc.
The Gaels were a solid 45 percent from the field (25-55), 74 percent from the free-throw line (26-for-35) and 8-of-16 from three.
LMU heads out on the road next week, traveling to face WCC rivals Santa Clara on Thursday, Jan. 10 and San Diego on Saturday, Jan. 12.