WNIT Recap: St. Mary’s Defeats Sacramento State 77-69


The WCC has their first team of 2015 in an Elite Eight as the Saint Mary’s Gaels defeated Sacramento State 77-69 in the Sweet Sixteen round of the Women’s NIT on Thursday night. This is the second WNIT Elite Eight appearance for the Gaels in the past three seasons.

The Hornets, the NCAA leader in three pointers, attempted a whopping 56 shots from beyond the arc in this game. It was three shy of the NCAA single-game record they set in their season opener against San Diego State. However, it also ended up being their downfall as they made just 16 of those attempts. The Hornets shot just 29.4% from field goal range and 28.6% from three point range as their shooting was off all night.

With the long range shooting of the Hornets struggling, the Gaels took advantage of their superior presence inside. They out-rebounded the Hornets by a robust 59-29 margin, and they shot 57.7% from field goal range while attempting just three three-pointers the entire game.

Shannon Mauldin had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She was one of four Gaels with double-digit points. Carli Rosenthal as had double-digit rebound with 10 as well. The Gaels continue to show balanced scoring as they have had 3 or more players hit double figures in points in all three of their WNIT victories.

The Hornets also had 4 four players in double figures as their normal balanced scoring was in full effect despite their shooting struggles. The issue was the struggles of some of their top shooters. Andrea Chenier and Adella Randle-El each took a large portion of the team’s shots, but they were not falling. The duo went a combined 4-25 from field goal range and 2-17 from three point range. Gretchen Harrigan is normally a double-digit scorer and the team’s top three point threat, but she played just 13 minutes scoring 4 points.

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This game went exactly the Gaels hoped it would, and we predicted this was their path to success in our preview of this game. They allowed the Hornets to shoot from long range, trusting not enough shots would fall as they exploited their advantage inside. And that’s exactly what happened. Their superior presence in the paint was dominant, and the Hornets were forced to shoot to much and didn’t hit nearly enough shots to compete.

Saint Mary’s heads on the road again as they visit UCLA for an Elite Eight matchup on Sunday at 2pm Pacific. The Bruins defeated Northern Colorado in the Sweet Sixteen on Thursday. Although they nearly didn’t make it to this point as San Diego had them on the ropes in the second round before a big second-half comeback helped the Bruins survive and advance.