MORAGA, Calif. -- The Loyola Marymount women's basketball team (16-8, 8-5 WCC) earned a 10-point victory (75-65) over the Saint Mary's Gaels (15-9, 8-5 WCC) on Thursday night in a thrilling matchup that went down to the wire. LMU led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but SMC went on a second-half run to make things interesting as the game closed out.
The matchup was tight in the opening frame, as the teams traded baskets throughout, but LMU was able to move into quarter two with a three-point lead, up 16-13. Due to LMU's smothering defense, the Gaels racked up 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes of play.
The Lions came alive in the second quarter, outscoring the Gaels 27-16 in the frame to take a comfortable 43-29 halftime lead. LMU forced 16 SMC turnovers in the first half while committing just four of their own. The Lions scored 19 points off of the Gaels turnovers through the first two quarters.
Saint Mary's hit four three-pointers in the opening five minutes of the third, cutting the LMU lead to single-digits multiple times, but the Lions kept fighting and maintaining their strong team play to maintain the lead. Raychel Stanley posted six points in the opening four minutes of the third quarter to keep LMU ahead. Along with Stanley, Makenzie Cast and Gabby Green also moved into double-figure scoring in the frame.
The Gaels outscored the Lions 23-18 in the third but LMU hung on to a nine-point lead as they were up 61-52 heading into the fourth.
Saint Mary's continued to pressure LMU in the fourth, trimming the Lions' lead to just three points for a majority of the quarter, but LMU held strong with huge defensive stops and clutch free throws made over the final minutes of play. Stanley, Green, Cast and Cheyanne Wallace all netted free throws in the final two minutes to extend the Lion's lead and seal the victory for LMU.
The Lions ended up forcing 25 Saint Mary's turnovers on the night, while only committing nine themselves.
Stanley finished with a game-high-tying 19 points and six boards, while Green stuffed the stat sheet once again with 12 points, a game-high five steals, four rebounds and four assists. Cast posted 12 points and Bree Alford added 10 points, five boards and two steals to round out the Lions in double figures. Wallace and Chelsey Gipson added eight points apiece.
"We gutted it out tonight against a really good team," Lions head coach Charity Elliott said. "I'm really proud of everybody stepping up. It's a tough place to play, it's a tough place to win. I'm happy for this team for seeing some results from the hard work as we continue to stay together and play together. This was a big win tonight."
This marked the second Lions victory over Saint Mary's this season, as they defeated the Gaels 69-56 in the conference opener on Dec. 28. Green posted a game-high 18 points with a career-high seven steals in this win.
Following tonight's game, the Lions travel to Malibu for a 1 p.m. matchup against the Pepperdine Waves on Saturday, Feb. 10. LMU has three consecutive home games after taking on the Waves as they host the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m., the San Francisco Dons on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. and the Santa Clara Broncos on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.
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