In Women’s Basketball, Saint Mary’s Hangs on for an Overtime Win in Home Opener
It was Head Coach Jeff Cammon's first win at Saint Mary's. And Ali Bamberger crossed the 1,000-point mark in her career.
Saint Mary's Women's Basketball held on for a 61–58 win in overtime against UC San Diego in their home opener on November 12 to get their first win of the season. It was Head Coach Jeff Cammon's first win at Saint Mary's. The game also included Ali Bamberger crossing the 1,000-point mark in her career.
The first quarter was a tight, defensive battle with each team shooting just 33% from the field. SMC trailed by one after the first, but built a lead in the second quarter after shooting 58% and went into the half leading by five.
The Gaels extended their lead to 13 after a Maia Jones layup that came off a defensive stop by Saint Mary's. They went into the fourth leading 40–30 after keeping UCSD to just five points on 1 of 17 shooting in the third quarter.
Bent but Didn't Break
The fourth quarter was reminiscent of the final stanza that got away from them in the season opener at Grand Canyon. The Tritons went on a 9–0 run while keeping the Gaels' offense quiet, to tie the game at 42 apiece with 6:10 left to play.
The teams traded free throws for the next four-plus minutes, and UC San Diego went up by two on a layup with 1:37 remaining. UCSD took a two-point lead on a pair of free throws with 30 seconds to go, but the Gaels went to their "Z factor" in freshman Zaryhia Aokuso. The Amarillo, Texas native led the team in scoring with 17 points in the season opener, but ran into foul trouble against the Tritons.
Even so, Akuso hit a game-tying bucket on a turnaround jumper in the paint with 24 seconds left. She came up just short on a fade-away attempt on the baseline as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
The Tritons scored first in overtime, but Aokuso couldn't be stopped in the extra frame. She scored nine of the Gaels 10 points in overtime. And she converted a three-point play after a drive to the basket to break the final tie of the contest and put SMC up 58–55.
Along with reaching her 1,000-point milestone, Bamberger had a huge basket in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 49-49 with 38 seconds left. She also sunk clutch free throws with 6.7 seconds left to put the Gaels up 61–55 and seal the win.
Inside the Numbers
Bamberger entered the game at 999 career points with 106 points scored as a Washington Husky and 893 at Saint Mary's. She finished the night 6 of 13 from the field and tied for the team high in rebounds with freshman Emily Foy with eight.
Aokuso scored 11 points in just eight minutes played on 5 of 8 shooting. Hannah Rapp was second on the team in scoring with 13 points on a career-high 3 of 4 from three-point range. The contest featured nine lead changes and ten ties.
The Gaels host UC Irvine on Tuesday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m.
Purchase tickets for the 2023-24 Saint Mary's Women's Basketball season.
In the San Francisco Chronicle: "New Saint Mary's women's coach determined to build 'high-level' mid-major team"