San Antonio – Natalie Gamez scored a game-high 15 points, helping St. Mary’s University to its 16th straight win, 62-52, over St. Edward’s University in Heartland Conference women’s basketball action Saturday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

The Rattlers fell behind to start the game 9-4, but rebounded with a 16-6 run to take a 20-15 lead on a Jessie Smith (Jr., Boerne) lay-up with 7:39 left to play. After the Hilltoppers tied the game at 20-20 on a Haley Tidwell jumper the Rattlers finished the half with a 17-4 run to take a commanding 13-point lead at the break, 37-24.

St. Mary’s came out of the locker room red-hot and quickly expanded their lead to 17 points on a lay-up by Ashton Benford (Jr., Waxahachie) with 17:46 left to play. The Rattlers continued to pound away at the Hilltoppers and expanded the lead to 20 on a Stephanie Gurnell (Jr., Katy) layup with 11:25 left in the game.

However, the Rattlers went ice-cold after that, allowing the Hilltoppers back into the game. St. Edward’s went on a 10-0 run to cut the Rattler lead to 10 at 51-41. A Benford layup and two free throws by Chastity Noble (So., El Paso) made it a 14-point game again, but the jubilation was short-lived. Sara Head scored seven straight points for the Hilltoppers and Charron Sumler added a layup to make it an eight point game with 2:53 left. But the Hilltoppers would get just two more points and the Rattlers made 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to seal the game.

Gamez (Jr., San Antonio) hit on 4-of-12 shots from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range to score a game-high 15 points. She also added six rebounds. Benford scored 13 points and had six rebounds. As a team the Rattlers hit on 42.0 percent of their shots from the field (17-42).

Haley Tidwell and Sumler each had 12 points to lead the Hilltoppers. As a team SEU shot 40.5 percent (17-42) from the field, but hit on just 55.2 percent from the free throw line (16-29).

The 16-game win streak is the second longest in school history, behind only the 19-game win streak of the 2001-02 team. With the win the Rattlers are now 17-4 overall and 8-0 in Heartland Conference play. St. Edward’s fell to 7-14, 5-3. St. Mary’s will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Goodwell, Okla., to face Oklahoma Panhandle State University in a Heartland Conference matchup at 5:30 p.m.

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