Moraga, Calif. – Aniya Baker scored a career-high 21 points and Rachol West and newcomer Dezz Ramos added 15 points each, but it wasn’t enough as the San José State women’s basketball team fell to the Saint Mary’s Gaels 91-81 on Sunday afternoon in McKeon Pavilion.
“We competed for 40 minutes,” head coach Jamie Craighead said. “This is a very tough place to play and you’re going against a team with a lot of experience.
“I thought that we struggled to get into a rhythm. It was no more than a 10-point game most of the night and we cut it down to a bucket a bunch of times, we just couldn’t close the gap and get the lead.”
The Spartans (1-1) played with Saint Mary’s, which reached the semifinal of last year’s WNIT, for 15 minutes of each half, but struggled in the final five. After a Jasmine Smith layup, Ramos free throw and Emily Vann three-pointer, which capped a 6-0 run, they trailed 39-34 with 5:26 in the second quarter.
With the opportunity to close the gap even further, SJSU suddenly went cold for the final five minutes of the half. They hit just two of their final 11 shots from the floor. Saint Mary’s hit on four of its last seven, including two three-pointers, and took a 52-42 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, Spartans allowed Saint Mary’s (2-0), to increase its lead to a game high 13 on three occasions, but quickly got it back into single digits each time.
A pair of Nyre Harris free throws with 5:31 to play made it 84-78 and again it looked like momentum would carry the Spartans, but they finished the game on a 1-for-11.
The only bucket was West’s fifth trey at the 1:16 mark, which made it 91-81, the final margin. The Gaels, were only 2-for-6 down the stretch, but went to the line 17 times in the second half and knocked down 12 to the Spartans two makes in as many attempts.
In addition to Baker, Ramos and West, Jasmine Smith also reached double digits in the scoring column. She finished with 11 points and had a team-high eight boards. Harris had six points and paced the squad with four assists and three steals.
Saint Mary’s offense was led by a 26-point effort from Sydney Raggio. She also had 10 rebounds.
The Spartans shot 37 percent (30-for-81) from the field and 32.5 (13-for-40) percent from beyond the arc. Saint Mary’s used its size to connect on 55 percent (33-for-60) and had a 42-to-24 advantage in points in the paint. In addition, SMC was a plus-20 in rebound margin (52-to-32).
“We just gave up to many rebounds and didn’t crash the offensive boards the way we have been,” Craighead said. “They are a really good basketball team, who when they had to, did what they wanted to do. They were the more physical team and got the ball inside.”
The Spartans forced the Gaels into 23 turnovers, which led to 29 points. They gave the ball away just 10 times leading to 11 Saint Mary’s points.
“We forced some turnovers, but in the end probably just not enough,” Craighead added. But we took good care of the ball, so maybe those two cancel themselves out.
“In the end, we can’t allow a team to have a 10-point lead and not cut it down. We just have to keep fighting from here. We battled and that was the most important thing to see coming out of this game.”
The Spartans’ next game is Sunday, November 22 at CSU Bakersfield. Tip off is scheduled 1:00 p.m.
San Jose State vs Saint Mary's (CA)
11/15/15 1:05 PM at Moraga, CA
At Moraga, CA
SAINT MARY'S (CA) 91, SAN JOSE STATE 81
SAN JOSE STATE (1-1)
Totals 30-81 8-12 81.
SAINT MARY'S (CA) (2-0)
Raggio,Sydney 10-14 5-6 26; Brookshire,Devon 9-17 1-1 23; Kaser,Hannah 4-5
0-0 11; McKay,Megan 3-5 4-5 10; Beck,Stella 3-5 3-6 9; Mauldin,Shannon 3-11
2-4 8; Mcdonald,Samira 0-1 2-2 2; Galland,Devyn 1-2 0-0 2; Turner,Carly 0-0
0-0 0. Totals 33-60 17-24 91.
San Jose State................ 24 18 24 15 - 81
Saint Mary's (CA)............. 27 25 26 13 - 91
(Brookshire,Devon 4-5; Kaser,Hannah 3-4; Raggio,Sydney 1-1; Mauldin,Shannon
0-2; Mcdonald,Samira 0-1; Galland,Devyn 0-1; Beck,Stella 0-1). Fouled
out--San Jose State-None, Saint Mary's (CA)-None. Rebounds--San Jose State
32 (Smith, Jasmine 8), Saint Mary's (CA) 52 (Beck,Stella 12). Assists--San
Jose State 14 (Harris, Nyre 4), Saint Mary's (CA) 28 (Beck,Stella 8). Total
fouls--San Jose State 22, Saint Mary's (CA) 11. Technical fouls--San Jose
State-None, Saint Mary's (CA)-None. A-379