STOCKTON, Calif. - GeAnna Luaulu-Summers scored a season-high 22 points, but a cold start was too much for the Tigers to overcome as the Pacific women's basketball team fell 63-54 to Saint Mary's Thursday at the Alex G. Spanos Center.
Saint Mary's held Pacific to a 17-6 first quarter as the Tigers shot 16.7 percent and despite cutting the deficit down to one, the Tigers couldn't claw all the way back as the Gaels outscored the Tigers 21 to 8 from the free throw line.
Luaulu-Summers connected on five threes, and was three-for-three from the free throw line, while Jessica Blakeslee added six points on a pair of triples. Najah Queenland scored five points with four assists, and Emily Simons added seven rebounds with four points.
The Tigers shot 29.7 percent for the game, 19-for-64, after opening on a 1-for-12 drought and finishing 3-for-18 in the first quarter. Saint Mary's hit 21-of-28 free throw attempts, while Pacific got to the line seven times for 12 attempts in the entire game.
Pacific's defense forced 20 Gael turnovers, but turned them into just 16 points.
Pacific opened the scoring with a bucket inside from Lopez Sagrera, but Saint Mary's answered with back-to-back scores from Megan McKay. Stella Beck added a jumper, as Pacific opened 1-for-12 from the field. Saint Mary's hit four free throws and led 10-2 after seven minutes. Luaulu-Summers drove and finished at the rim for to end a 7:29 scoreless drought, but Devyn Galland hit a three-pointer. Najah Queenland posted a lay-up, but the Gaels added a pair of free throws for a 17-6 lead after the first.
Chelsea Lidy opened the second quarter with a baseline jumper, and Ameela Li converted an acrobatic and-one to bring Pacific within 17-11. Queenland drove the lane for a 7-0 Pacific run. Emily Simons added a jumper and a steal plus the transition lay-up. Carly Turner and Unique Coleman traded threes, but McKay knocked down a jumper to restore a three-point lead. Jessica Blakeslee knocked down a three for the Tigers, but the Gaels carried a 28-24 lead into halftime.
The Tigers forced nine turnovers in the second frame to outscore the Gaels 18-11 in the second quarter. Pacific shot 54 percent in the second quarter (7-of-13) to tighten up the game.
But in the third, Saint Mary's equaled the Tigers' free throw attempts for the game in the quarter alone, and the Gaels committed just two turnovers to seize control. Saint Mary's scored the first five points from the free throw line before Luaulu-Summers hit a a pair of threes. Mauriana Clayton added a lay-up inside, but Galland hit a deep three to stretch the Gaels lead back to 11, at 46-35 and then added on from the stripe for a 51-35 lead after three quarters.
In the fourth, Luaulu-Summers converted an and-one and then added a three-pointer from behind the arc before Blakeslee added a three as the Tigers pulled within nine, at 53-44. But Maudlin and Beck tallied back-to-back lay-ups for the Gaels to curb the momentum. Luaulu-Summers added another two more triples as the Tigers clawed within six, 58-52 with 2:39 to play. But unlike Saturday's come-from-behind win over San Francisco — in which the Tigers erased a nine-point deficit with 3:52 to play - Pacific ran out of time. Sydney Raggio finished over a defender on the low block before Finnie answered with a jumper, but after Tigers forced a missed shot Saint Mary's posted two straight offensive rebounds to run 55 seconds off the clock and the Gaels hit three free throws in the final 31 seconds for the nine-point win.
The Tigers fall to 8-10 overall and 4-3 in West Coast Conference play. Saint Mary's improves to 9-9 overall and 4-3 in the WCC.
Pacific will travel to Provo, Utah, for a Saturday contest at BYU. The game will air nationally on BYU TV and will be streamed live on BYUTV.org for the contest at 2 p.m. Mountain, 1 p.m. Pacific.