"I'm very happy with how the team responded after a very difficult loss against San Diego," said head coach Paul Thomas. "We are always looking for ways to improve, and tonight we did."
With the win, Saint Mary's improves to 13-5, 4-1 West Coast Conference, while Portland drops to 7-12, 0-5 WCC.
Smith connected on four three-pointers and scored a game-high 21 points while Nared added 15 points and five rebounds. Carbonel continued her efficient role with 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting with four assists. Andrea Bailey grabbed six rebounds with four points off the bench, with perhaps the biggest rebound of the game. With the Gaels clinging to a two point lead with under a minute, Bailey grabbed an offensive board and forced the Pilots to foul. Saint Mary's, the top free-throw shooting team in the league, calmly made 4-for-4 free-throws down the stretch.
Portland, who played without top scorer Natalie Day, had five players in double-figures, led by Cassandra Brown with 15 points.
Saint Mary's ended the first half on a 6-0 run over the final 1:58 to take the 35-30 advantage at the break. The Gaels shot 46.4 percent in the half, compared to just 32.4 by the Pilots. Nared, Carbonel and Smith each had eight points at the break.
In the second-half, the Gaels got out of the gates quickly, building a 10 point lead at 42-32 after a pair of Smith free-throws at the 17:47 mark. Saint Mary's upped its lead to 13 points on a three-pointer by Smith at 65-52 with 8:27 remaining.
With the Gaels leading 68-57 after a Nared three pointer with 6:45 remaining, it looked the Gaels were completely in control of the game. Portland however, had different ideas and used a 11-2 run to pull within 70-68 with 2:50 remaining.
Portland would have chances to tie or take the lead, but Saint Mary's came up with several stops and rebounds down the stretch to seal the win.
Saint Mary's is back in action on Saturday when it travels to Spokane, Wash. to take on Gonzaga at 2:00 p.m.