ABILENE – Charlena Rodez scored a season-high 27 points and Ashton Benford posted her second straight double-double, but a big discrepancy at the free throw line again doomed St. Mary’s University as they fell for the sixth straight time, 74-60, to Abilene Christian University in women’s basketball action Thursday night at Moody Coliseum.

Rodez (Sr., Cedar Park) came off the bench for the first time this season and responded by hitting on 11-of-18 shots from the field and all five free throws to post the game high of 27 points in just 23 minutes of action. Benford (So., Waxahachie) scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and pulled down 11 rebounds to post her second straight double-double. The double-double was her third of the season and she reached 10-plus rebounds for the fourth time this season. The final Rattler to score in double figures in the game was Natalie Gamez (So., San Antonio), who had 15 points, including three three-pointers.

The Rattlers led early thanks to five points by Gamez. Her tip-in with 16:35 left in the first half gave the Rattlers a 7-3 lead. But the Wildcats responded with an 11-0 run to take a 14-7 advantage. After the Rattlers cut the deficit to just four on a Gamez trey, ACU went on a 9-1 run to increase their edge to 12 points at 23-11 with 8:48 to play. The Rattlers were able to get the deficit to nine at 38-29, heading into the locker room.

After the Rattlers closed to within just five points at 44-39 with 15:20 to play, ACU put the game away. An 18-4 run put the game away at 62-43 with 7:15 to play. St. Mary’s battled back to close to within nine at 64-55 with 2:38 left, but that was as close as they would get.

St. Mary’s shot just 34.8 percent (24-69) from the field and 26.7 percent (4-15) from three-point range. Abilene Christian hit on 41.8 percent (23-55) of their shots from the field, but it was at the free throw line where they put the game away. The Wildcats made 23 of 33 shots from the charity stripe, while the Rattlers only took nine shots from the line, making eight.

Alex Guiton led three Wildcats scoring in double figures with 21 points, while Ashlee Barr had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Audrey Maxwell scored 11 points.

The Rattlers fell to 1-6 overall on the season with the loss and have now lost six straight games. ACU improved to 5-0. St. Mary’s will return to action on Monday when they travel to Maryville, Mo., to take on Northwest Missouri State University at 5:30 p.m.

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