San Antonio–Four St. Mary’s University players scored in double figures and the Rattlers shot 56 percent from the field in the second half to defeat Hillsdale College, 75-63, on the first day of the Rattler Christmas Classic women’s basketball tournament Wednesday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

The game was a tale of two halves as defense ruled the first half, while offense was the name of the game in the second period. The two teams combined for over 20 turnovers and just 48 points in the first half, which saw the Rattlers take a 25-23 lead into the locker room.

St. Mary’s started the second half by going on a 10-1 run to take a 10-point lead at 36-26 with 15:38 left to play. Mallory Moeller (Fr., Seguin) scored six of her team-high 17 points in the run. Time and again the Chargers made runs at the Rattlers and cut the lead to just four points on two different occassions, but St. Mary’s hit on 13-of-16 free throws and 3-of-6 three-pointers in the second half to hold off HC.

Moeller and Natalie Gamez (Jr., San Antonio) led the Rattlers with 17 points. Gamez added a team-high 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Ashton Benford (Jr., Waxahachie) had 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Rachel Jones (Jr., Little Rock, Ark.) added 12 points off the bench. As a team the Rattlers hit on 42.4 percent (25-59) of their shots from the field and 78.6 percent (22-28) of their shots from the free throw line. St. Mary’s committed just 11 turnovers in the game.

Hillsdale was led by Katie Cezat, who had 24 points and 15 rebounds in the game to lead all players. As a team the Chargers hit on 47.2 percent of their shots (25-53) from the field.

With the win the Rattlers have now won five straight games and are 6-4 overall. Hillsdale lost its second straight game and is 8-2 on the season. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday when they face the University of Missouri-Rolla at 7:30 p.m. Hillsdale will play Texas A&M-International University at 5:30 p.m. in the first game of the day. UMR defeated TAMIU in the first game on Wednesday, 105-78.

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