Susan Tripp Pollard
March 5, 2012 will go down in Saint Mary’s Basketball history as the date that Saint Mary’s overcame a late Gonzaga surge to win a overtime thriller against their West Coast rivals, 78-74. Tonight’s win marked the first time that Saint Mary’s won the regular season title outright and the West Coast Tournament Title in the same year. As a proud Alumni, I am happy to see this team make history!
Tonight’s game was one of the most intense and exciting games I have seen in years! Watching it in the local Sports Bar, I was yelling my lungs out! I had a few guys rooting against Saint Mary’s but I kept my calm and focus on the game. Saint Mary’s were cruising for the majority of the second half with a lead that went up to 68-63 with less than 15 secs left. I almost wanted to start celebrating early but I know anything can happen when you play Gonzaga. Thank God, I didn’t! When Gonzaga tied the game with couple seconds left and Matt Dellavedova missed the jumper to send the game into overtime, I was in disbelief! I could not believe that Gonzaga came back to tie the game! The other guys were going nuts. When I turned around to see them to express my state of shock, they saw my Saint Mary’s Alumni shirt and apologized for rooting against me, “Sorry, Man! I didn’t know you were a Saint Mary’s Alumni! I appreciate you rooting for your school. I didn’t go to Gonzaga so I am going to stop rooting against your team!” I appreciated his comments but then I said, “It’s all good! You can root for Gonzaga, I will keep rooting for Saint Mary’s! At the end of the day, may the best team win and we can still enjoy a great game!” The guy and his friend laughed and said, “It’s Okay! I respect Saint Mary’s! They have a great team!”
Matt Dellavedova and company came out big in overtime. I love the fact that Saint Mary’s kept their calm and played great defense in overtime. With today’s victory, Saint Mary’s earn an automatic bid to the big dance for the first time since 2010 when they made it to the Sweet 16. This team is really special. If Saint Mary’s keeps playing the way they played tonight, I really believe Saint Mary’s can make it to the Elite 8. But, first, I will wait til Sunday to see in what region will they be placed at and who they will play against. This is March Mardness so anything can happen in the NCAA tournament. I just hope that Saint Mary’s will play great Gaels basketball throughout the tournament. If they do, Saint Mary’s will make a lot of noise in this year’s NCAA tournament.
Here are highlights from tonight’s game: