San Antonio – Crosstown rivals St. Mary’s University and the University of the Incarnate Word will renew their annual rivalry on Monday night when the teams meet at Bill Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s. The women will play first at 5:30 p.m., followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.
On men’s side the teams have met 46 times previously, with the Rattlers holding a 27-19 edge, including a 17-11 mark at St. Mary’s. The Rattlers have won eight of the last nine meetings between the teams, including a pair of wins last year. St. Mary’s defeated UIW 55-38 at Bill Greehey Arena in 2005-06.
The Rattlers enter this week’s play red-shot, winners of their last four games. They Dallas Baptist 85-80, in their last outing. St. Mary’s has been especially strong over the last four games, outscoring their opponents, 74.2 to 63.0, while winning each of those games. Three Rattlers are averaging in double figures in scoring over that stretch, led by Jarvis Lee (Sr., Houston) with 13.8 and Marcus Hill (So., Longview) with 12.0.
The Cardinals have also been strong of late, winning three of their last four games and stand at 6-8 overall this season. They avenged a 72-71 loss to Dallas Baptist in Dallas last week with a 72-61 win over the Patriots in San Antonio on Thursday. Jason Gant leads a trio of Cardinals scoring in double figures this season with 16.2 points per game. Mikyl Bradshaw (11.7) and Pierce Caldwell (11.4) also are scoring in double figures. As a team UIW is scoring 73.6 points, while allowing 73.1 points per game.
On the women’s side the teams have met 41 times, with the Rattlers owning a paper-thin 21-20 edge in the series. The teams split the two games last season with each team winning on the others home floor. St. Mary’s has won eight of the last 12 meetings between the teams.
With wins in four of their last five games the Rattlers are playing their best ball of the season as they enter Heartland Conference play. Charlena Rodez (Sr., Cedar Park) leads three Rattlers scoring in double figures this season with 14.1 points per contest. Natalie Gamez (So., San Antonio) is right behind her with 13.9 points per game. Ashton Benford (So., Waxahachie) is nearly averaging a double-double with 10.7 points and a conference-high 8.8 rebounds per game. As a team the Rattlers are scoring 59.8 points per contest, while allowing 65.1.
After a 1-5 start to the season, the Cardinals have won five of the last eight games to improve to 6-8 overall and 1-0 in the Heartland. The Cardinals Achilles heel has been playing away from how as they are 4-2 at UIW and 2-6 away. They edged Oklahoma Panhandle State, 59-51 in their conference opener on Jan. 6. Nia Torru is one of two Cardinals scoring in double figures with 12.5 points per game. Kim Robinson is also averaging in double figures with 12.0.