Lions Can't Upend Gaels in Moraga
Four players scored in double figures, but the Lions could not hand Saint Mary's its first home loss in a 78-74 setback Saturday.
Jan. 18, 2014
MORAGA, Calif. - A true battle from tip to final buzzer, the LMU women's basketball team battled from a nine-point deficit to come within two, but Saint Mary's would hit its free throws down the stretch to hand the Lions a 78-74 setback Saturday afternoon in McKeon Pavilion.
In a foul-heavy affair, both teams were near perfect from the line as the Lions (5-13, 2-5 WCC) hit 17-of-19 (89.5 percent) and the Gaels (16-3, 6-2 WCC) went 25-for-29 (86.2 percent).
Deanna Johnson had 17 off the bench to lead the Lions. Sophie Taylor added 16 while Leslie Lopez-Wood and Hazel Ramirez added 14 apiece. Ramirez would not miss a free throw for the second straight game, hitting 8-for-8 from the stripe.
The Gaels had three players score 20+ as Jackie Nared poured in a game-high 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Kate Gaze and Danielle Mauldin had 20 points apiece.
Both teams battled foul trouble in the first half as a combined 25 whistled blew in the 20-minute frame.
The Lions managed just eight field goals in the half, but hit 4-of-10 from three, and went 13-for-15 from the charity stripe to trail by just four at the break, 37-33.
A Lopez-Wood three to open the second half quickly trimmed the SMC lead to one and less than two minutes into the period, Taylor's layup would give the Lions a one-point lead, 40-39.
Gaze responded with a layup of her own for the Gaels and, despite hanging tough for the balance of the half, the Lions would not lead again.
A Danielle Mauldin layup with 10:26 remaining opened up the largest lead of the game for the Gaels, 60-51. LMU would slowly chip away, eventually cutting the spread down to two, 70-68, on a pair of Ramirez free throws. But Saint Mary's would hit a perfect 8-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final 45 seconds to hold the Lions at bay.
Lopez-Wood finished with four threes for the fourth time this season, including the second straight game, as the Lions went a collective 7-for-17 from long range (41 percent). LMU hit better than 47 percent from the field, including 55 percent in the second half, but lost the battle on the boards, 46-23, including giving up 22 offensive rebounds to the Gaels. Saint Mary's would turn those 22 boards into 23 second-chance points.
The Lions return to action Thursday, Jan. 23, opening a three-game West Coast Conference homestand by hosting league leader Gonzaga. Tip off from Gersten Pavilion is scheduled for 7 p.m.