The Cougars nearly rally from 18 down in the first half but fall to the Gaels.

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The Saint Mary’s women’s basketball team held off visiting Washington State 75-71 on Saturday afternoon.

Washington State is off to its best start in 15 years as the Cougars entered the contest win a road win at San Diego and a home win over Gonzaga.

Saint Mary’s (8-2) was rolling in the second quarter and built an 18-point lead and led by a 40-27 score at the break.

Washington State (8-2) rallied in the second half and stayed with the Gaels until the final seconds

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Borislava Hristova (12 points) got WSU to 73-71 with a three-pointer but the Gaels made two free throws with six seconds remaining.

Lauren Nicholson led the way for the Gaels with 24 points, six assists and five rebounds. Devyn Galland came off the bench to score a season-high 15 points, going 5 for 7 from three-point range.