KINGSVILLE – Natalie Gamez scored a career-high 30 points, but it wasn’t enough as Texas A&M University-Kingsville used 21 points from Lana Toki to edge St. Mary’s University, 69-67, on the first day of the Turkey Day Shootout at the Steinke Center Friday afternoon.
Gamez (So., San Antonio) and Dawn Killian (Sr., San Antonio) combined for 26 first half points as the Rattlers took a 36-31 lead into the locker room at the break. They increased their edge to 10 points on a Gamez three-pointer with 14:58 left to play. With 8:52 remaining they still had an eight-point edge when Becca Herbst (Sr., Boerne) hit a short jumper to give the Rattlers a 50-42 lead. But the Javelinas went on a 7-0 run to cut the lead to just one at 50-49. Shortly after that an 11-2 run, wrapping up with a pair of free throws by Angela Trotter, gave TAMUK a six-point lead at 65-59. Gamez hit a three-pointer and a layup in the final 35 seconds, but couldn’t rally the Rattlers past TAMUK.
Gamez hit on 11-of-20 shots from the field and 5-of-8 shots from three-point range in the loss. Killian had 13 points, while Herbst added 10. Ashton Benford (So., Waxahachie) had eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds. As a team the Rattlers shot 52.0 percent (26-50), including 44.4 percent (8-18) from three-point range. But 22 turnovers, compared with just 14 for TAMUK played a part in the loss.
Toki led the Javs with 21 points and seven rebounds, while Kayla Naylor had 13 points, including four three-pointers, and Ali Scott had 11 points. TAMUK took 25 free throws to just 11 for the Rattlers and had 10 more makes than St. Mary’s.
With the loss the Rattlers have now dropped three straight games and fell to 1-3 overall. TAMUK picked up its first win of the season and improved to 1-2. The Rattlers will return to action in the Turkey Day Shootout on Saturday when they face Texas A&M University-Commerce at 4 p.m.