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SAN ANTONIO — The Lady Rattlers were able to exercise their entire bench in a showcase of talent Saturday, claiming their season opener over Cameron University by 29 points.
With new signees and a cast of improved returning players, the Rattlers eased into a team chemistry that flexes talent across the board as five Rattlers banked double-digits in Saturday’s 78-49 win, with newcomer Mariah Lee (Jr. Houston) leading with 15 followed by Bria Bell (Jr., San Antonio) with 11. Jackie Woods (Jr., San Antonio), Liz Boyd (Sr., San Antonio) and Dezirae Ellis (Fr., Chandler, Ariz.) all added 10 points.
All of the Rattlers began building their season stats with nearly every player scoring, serving as an early start in a winning direction for St. Mary’s.
“(Tonight) gave me a lot of confidence,” says leading scorer Lee, who also recorded five rebounds and two blocks. “I can trust my teammates. I mean, I know every game we are capable of doing it and how we’re supposed to start every game to give us a big start. We expect a lot from each other during the season.”
The Rattlers (1-0) came out quick Saturday, pumping and maintaining an early lead over the Aggies (0-1) as St. Mary’s held Cameron University to just two points for the first 10 minutes of the game. A 14-point lead ensued at the 11-minute mark as St. Mary’s led 18-4, an advantage that stretched to 18 by halftime, 40-22.
St. Mary’s continued its tally in the second half, never allowing Cameron University a glimpse at a comeback as the game reached the final buzzer with the Rattlers taking it by 29 points, 78-49.
Play execution and mindful defense spurred the Rattlers toward the lead as St. Mary’s helped the Aggies force 32 turnovers Saturday.
“Coach (Jason Martens) kind of told us in the beginning that we had a lot of talent on the team,” says the 5-foot-11 forward Lee, “and a whole bunch of new scorers.”
Sharp shooting, as St. Mary’s led the Aggies in shooting percentage in every category, and aggressive rebounding, as the Rattlers outrebounded the Aggies 44-35, proved to be the difference for the Rattlers.
Morgan Pullins (So., Franklin, Mich.) was the only player to break in doubles in boards, pulling down the night’s high with 11 to go along with seven points. Boyd, the starting point, shot 50 percent from the floor and went perfect from behind the arc (2 for 2) in her 10-point performance, while also leading the Rattlers in assists with four.
Newcomer Lia Kioa (Jr., Phoenix) banked seven points including one 3-pointer, one of the Rattlers’ seven 3’s for the night.
Already off to a winning start, the Rattlers will finish the St. Mary’s Classic Sunday as they play the University of Minnesota-Duluth at 3 p.m. in Bill Greehey Arena.
St. Mary’s University, as a Catholic Marianist University, fosters the formation of people in faith and educates leaders for the common good through community service, integrated liberal arts and professional education, and academic excellence. The University has six athletic national titles: men’s basketball (1989–NAIA), baseball (2001–NCAA Div. II), softball (1986–NAIA and 2002–NCAA Div. II) and an individual national champion in men’s golf (2006–NCAA Div. II) and a national academic championship in men’s golf (2009–NCAA Div. II). St. Mary’s also had more than 40 percent of its athletes named to conference, regional and/or national honor rolls this past year. St. Mary’s student–athletes graduation rate is 65 percent, higher than the NCAA Division II average of 55 percent. To learn more about St. Mary's, visit www.stmarytx.edu/athletics.