San Antonio – Ashton Benford scored 22 points and added 13 rebounds, helping St. Mary’s University to a 65-52 win against Eastern New Mexico University in action at the St. Mary’s New Year’s Classic Women’s Basketball Tournament Tuesday night at Bill Greehey Arena.
Benford (Sr., Waxahachie) scored 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field to lead all players. She also pulled down 13 rebounds to post a double-double. Farren Fox (Sr., Marble Falls) nearly had a double-double of her own with 12 points and nine rebounds. Rachel Jones (Sr., Little Rock, Ark.) was the only other Rattler to score in double figures with 10 points.
St. Mary’s came out of the locker room hot to start the second half with Benford leading an 8-2 run over the first four minutes of the second period. That gave the Rattlers their second lead of the day, but wouldn’t be the end of ENMU. The Zias countered with a 7-0 run of their own to retake the lead at 41-40 with 10:29 left in the game. But again the Rattlers bounced back with Chastity Noble (Jr., El Paso) hitting two three-pointers to key an 8-0 run as St. Mary’s retook the lead at 48-41. One more time the Zias were able to tie the game, but the Rattlers outscored ENMU 13-1 over the final 4:29 of the game to pull away.
The Rattlers struggled in the first half, hitting on just 36.7 percent (11-30) of their shots from the field. Benford helped keep the Rattlers in the game, scoring 10 points and pulling down nine rebounds in the first period. A pair of early Cat Clay three-pointers gave the Zias an 8-0 lead out of the gate. But after committing six turnovers over the first six minutes, the Rattlers settled down and committed just four over the final 14 minutes and tied the game on a pair of Jones with just 9.8 seconds left in the half to go into the locker room tied at 28-28.
In the first game of the day, Ouachita Baptist University rolled to an easy 98-85 win against Texas A&M International University. OBU shot well from everywhere, hitting on 44.7 percent of their shots from the field, 45.0 percent of their shots from three-point range and 90.0 from the free throw line. OBU is now 7-2 this season, while TAMIU is 3-8.
With the win the Rattlers improved to 11-1 this season and have now won nine straight games. ENMU fell to 7-6. The St. Mary’s New Year’s Classic will wrap up play on Wednesday with a pair of games. Eastern New Mexico will take on Texas A&M-International at 2 p.m., while St. Mary’s will play Ouachita Baptist at 4 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena. The St. Mary’s game will be broadcast live over the internet at www.rattlerathletics.com, and live stats of both games will also be available on www.rattlerathletics.com.