The St. Mary’s Gaels used a solid second half to pull away and defeat the Santa Clara Broncos in the first semifinal game of the 2011 West Coast Conference tournament. The Gaels will face the winner of the second game featuring Gonzaga and San Francisco. This marks the third straight year Saint Mary’s has played in the WCC finals and a victory tomorrow night on ESPN would send SMC to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. The Gaels have never been to the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons.
Santa Clara gave St. Mary’s a tough time in the first half as the Gaels were unable to pull far ahead at any point. SMC went into the half up two, but used a quick 13-5 run to take a ten point lead early in the second half. St. Mary’s used an incredibly balanced attack to wear out the Broncos. Mitchell Young led the team with 17 points and seven rebounds. Team leader Mickey McConnell had a bit of a slow night putting up ten points and five assists. However, the work of Young, Stephen Holt and Matthew Dellavedova more than made up for McConnell’s slow night.