The St. Mary’s women’s basketball team hosted the St. Mary’s Classic, Dec. 19-20, in the Bill Greehey Arena of St. Mary’s Alumni Athletics & Convocation Center. The Rattlers were joined by teams from Incarnate Word, Southeastern Oklahoma State and Tarleton State University.

St. Mary’s Classic Schedule
Thursday, Dec. 19
Incarnate Word 60, Tarleton State, 58
St. Mary’s 68, Southeastern Oklahoma State 57
Friday, Dec. 20
Incarnate Word 62, Southeastern Oklahoma State, 55.
St. Mary’s 71, Tarleton State 57

The University of the Incarnate Word Crusaders (5-4) are coached by Angela Lawson, who in her third season has a record of 22-41. Lawson came to UIW after six years as an assistant coach at Baylor. The Crusaders compete in the Heartland Conference.

The Southeastern Oklahoma State Lady Savages (3-4) are coached by Nick Keith, their coach of 22 years. SOSU was the D-II national runner up last season; they advanced to the Elite Eight after defeating St. Mary’s in the South Central Regional Finals. The Lady Savages, who lost all five starters from last year’s team compete in the Lone Star Conference.

The Tarleton State University TexAnns (4-3) are coached by third-year coach Claude Cummings. Cummings has a 24-35 overall record. Tarleton is Cummings alma mater – he was a graduate assistant coach for the Tarleton men’s basketball program and received his master’s degree in 1997. The TexAnns compete in the Lone Star Conference.

The St. Mary’s University Rattlers (8-3) are coached by second-year coach Paige Clawson. The Rattlers currently are 27th in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA NCAA Division II Women’s poll, after starting the season ranked 12th. In her first season, Clawson coached the Lady Rattlers to a 26-3 record, their first NCAA Division II national tournament, where they came one game sort of advancing to the D-II Elite Eight. Friday’s St. Mary’s-Tarleton State matchup will be interesting for Rattler assistant coach Laura Walker, who was as an assistant coach at Tarleton in 2000-01. Clawson and Walker are both former Rattler standouts and Walker was an NAIA All-American and the Heart of Texas Conference Co-MVP in 1996-97. The Rattlers are defending champions of the Heartland Conference.

Game Summaries:
Thursday: Incarnate Word 60, Tarleton State 58. In the opener of the St. Mary’s Classic, Incarnate Word bounced back from a five-point halftime deficit, 38-33, to pull off a two-point victory. The Crusaders held the TexAnns to only four second-half field goals. Amy Muller was high scorer for UIW with 14 points. LaTrisha Washington led Tarleton with 11 points and six rebounds.
Thursday: St. Mary’s 68, Southeastern Oklahoma State 57. In Thursday’s nightcap, the Rattlers held a 14-point lead at intermission, stumbled a little bit in the second half, but recovered to pull off an 11-point win. The Rattlers held SOSU to just 16 points in the first half, but allowed the Savages back into the game in the second half before finishing off as the game ended. Nikki Weeaks led St. Mary’s with 13 points, Erin Griffin had 11 and Nicole Brantley added 10 points and made nine rebounds. Vanessa Tice was top scorer for SOSU with 19 points and Tera Newman had 11 points and nine rebounds for the Savages.
Friday: Incarnate Word 62, Southeastern Oklahoma State 55. Incarnate Word led at the half 34-22 and held on for a seven-point victory over SOSU. Amy Mueller led the Crusaders with 25 points and April Walker snared 10 rebounds for UIW. Tera Newman was top scorer for the Savages with 17 points. She and Monica Sanders both pulled-down six rebounds. Free throws were a key factor in this game as UIW hit 18 of 22 but Southeastern made only eleven trips to the line, converting six.
Friday: St. Mary’s 71, Tarleton State 57. The Rattlers fell behind the TexAnns early in the first half, tied the game at 29 just before the break and then stepped up in the second half to finish up by 14. Rattler high scorer Nicole Brantley scored 15 of her 20 points in the second half. Brantley connected on six of nine 3-point attempts. Erin Griffin had 14 points for St. Mary’s. The TexAnns, who shot just 26-percent from the floor were led by LaTrisha Washington who score 11 points and made nine rebounds.

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