San Antonio – St. Mary’s University rallied from an eight-point second half deficit, but their comeback fell just short in a 59-57 loss to Montana State University-Billings in Heartland Conference women’s basketball action Thursday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

The Rattlers led nearly the entire first half of play and held the Yellowjackets to just 30.8 percent (8-26) shooting from the field to take a 24-20 lead into the locker room. However, MSUB wasted no time in getting the momentum early in the second half. The Yellowjackets scored the first 12 points of the second period to turn a four-point deficit into a 32-24 lead with 16:08 left in the game. The Rattlers fought back with a 10-2 run midway through the period to tie the game at 41-41 on a Chastity Noble (Fr., El Paso) jumper with 6:56 left to play.

However, back-to-back three-point baskets by Kayla McPherson gave the Yellowjackets a six-point edge with 2:08 left. Again, back came St. Mary’s and when Dawn Killian (Sr., San Antonio) hit a three-pointer with 21 seconds left to play, the Rattlers trailed by just one at 58-57. Alira Carpenter made one-of-two free throws to give MSUB a two-point edge at 59-57 with 11 seconds left to play. However Killian’s layup with one second left was no good and the Rattlers fell.

Killian led the Rattlers in both scoring (13 points) and rebounding (11) in the game. The only other Rattler to score in double figures was Juanita Merchant (Jr., Angleton) with 11 points. As a team the Rattlers shot just 32.8 percent from the field (20-61).

Carpenter led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field. McPherson came off the bench to score 16 points, including hitting on all four of her three-point field goal attempts.

With the loss the Rattlers fell to 7-14 overall and 3-4 in Heartland Conference play. MSUB improved to 18-6 and 6-2. The Rattlers will return to action on Saturday afternoon when they host Lincoln University at 1:30 p.m. in the first game of a men’s/women’s Heartland Conference doubleheader at Greehey Arena.

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