San Antonio – In a very close vote of Heartland Conference coaches and sports information directors, the St. Mary’s University Rattlers were picked to finish third in the Heartland Conference Preseason Women’s Basketball Poll.

The University of the Incarnate Word edged out St. Edward’s University by a single vote, while St. Mary’s was just nine votes back. UIW had six first place votes, SEU had three and the Rattlers had two. No other team had a first place vote.

Oklahoma Panhandle University finished fourth, with Texas A&M International University fifth, Lincoln University sixth, Newman University seventh and the University of Texas of the Permian Basin eighth.

In the voting for preseason All-Heartland Conference, Natalie Gamez (Jr., San Antonio) was one of three players to be a unanimous selection. Ashton Benford (Jr., Waxahachie) was named Co-Preseason All-Heartland Conference.

St. Mary’s finished the 2006-07 season with a 12-16 overall record. They finished fourth in the Heartland Conference standings during the regular season and advanced to the semifinals of the Heartland Conference Tournament.

The Rattlers will open the 2007-08 regular season on Friday, November 16 when they face Harris Stowe State University at 5 p.m. at the Comfort Inn/KOKO/98.5 The Barr Invitational, held in Warrensburg, Mo. Their first home game of the season will be on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. against Abilene Christian University at Bill Greehey Arena.

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