Heartland Hoops Underway
After two weeks of Heartland Conference play, the St. Mary’s women’s and men’s teams sit atop the conference standings. Both teams are 3-0 in the league following home victories over Rockhurst and Lincoln and road wins over Drury. Ben McCain was named the Conference men’s player of the week after averaging 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in the first two Rattler victories.
The Rattler women (12-4, 3-0 HC) routed Rockhurst 92-51 on Jan. 9, sneaked by Lincoln in overtime 68-65 on Jan. 11 and narrowly defeated Drury 76-74 on Jan. 15. Buddy’s Boys (7-10, 3-0 HC) beat Rockurst by nine, 67-58, passed by Lincoln just before the buzzer, 67-66, and cruised pass Drury by 12, 73-61, on Jan. 16. The men also played a non-conference game versus Northeastern State in Tahlequah, OK, on Jan. 14, losing 73-61.
Both teams head to Goodwell, Oklahoma on Jan. 22 to take on Oklahoma Panhandle State before heading to Austin for an evening doubleheader at St. Edward’s on Jan. 25. The Panhandle State game does not count in the conference standings as the Aggies are not yet full members of the conference. The men close out January by hosting Schreiner on Jan. 28 in a non-conference matchup. The Rattlers continue conference play through February before wrapping-up the regular season at home versus Incarnate Word on March 1.
The Rattler women are favored to repeat as Heartland Conference champions and seek to duplicate last season’s 10-0 conference mark. As of Jan. 11, four players have double-digit scoring averages: Junior post Erin Griffin (14.7, senior guard Meosha Nash (13.9), sophomore guard Nicole Brantley (11.8) and senior post Martha Brinker (10.4). Griffin and Nash are among the top five scorers in the conference. With 8.6 rebounds per game, Griffin leads the conference in rebounding. Junior guard Neno Anguiano leads the conference in assists with 68 (4.86 per game). Griffin’s team-leading 34 steals ties her for fifth in the conference. Among the regular starters, Nash is tops from the free throw line shooting .824 (28 of 34). Griffin has made the most FT attempts for the Rattlers, hitting 44 of 61 (.721). Brantley and Nash are third and fourth in the conference in 3-point shooting, converting 37 of 88 (.420) and 36 of 88 (.409) respectively — they have combined for 73 of the team’s 99 3-point shots.
The St. Mary’s women are averaging 73.3 points per game, a 10.1-point margin over their opponents. The team leads the Heatland Conference in field-goal percentage (.464), field-goal defense (.371), 3-point field goal percentage (.367), 3-point field-goal defense (.301), assists (252 – 16.8 per game), overall rebounds (608 – 40.5 rpg) and defensive rebounds (413 – 27.53 drpg). As of Jan. 05, the team was 12th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage and 14th in 3-Point field goals per game. As of Jan. 05, Nash was 19th in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage and seventh in 3-Point field goals per game.
The Rattler men were picked to finish second in the conference this season and fully expect to improve on last season’s 2-8 Heartland mark. As of Jan. 11, three St. Mary’s players had double-digit scoring averages: senior guard Antonio Falu (15.2), freshman post Ben McCain (13.3) and sophomore wing Billy White (13.1). White leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game – second best in the conference. White’s 5.13 defensive rebounds per game are best in the Heartland. Falu’s 4.67 assists per game ties him for second in the conference, while White’s 32 steals (2.13 per game) puts him third. Falu has the best free-throw percentage (.736, 39 of 53) of the team’s regular starters, while Bryant Baker, a starter who missed six games due to injury has the best overall FT percentage (.810, 17 of 21). Team leader Anthony Weeaks, a junior guard, is second in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (.448, 26 of 58). White has hit 17 of 46 (.370) and Falu has hit 21 of 94 (.328).
The St. Mary’s men are averaging 72.9 points per game, giving them a slight 0.9-ppg margin over their opponents. The team leads the conference in assists with 256 (17.07 per game) and has the best assist/turnover ratio at 1.30 (256 assists/197 turnovers). –>
Rattler men’s basketball is broadcast live on the radio via KLUP AM 930 or over the Internet via www.klup.com. Marc Hoenig and Pete Hansen make the calls.