January 16, 2008
San Antonio – St. Mary’s University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will head north to face off against rival St. Edward’s University in a key Heartland Conference doubleheader, starting at 6 p.m. at the Recreation and Convocation Center on the campus of St. Edward’s University.
On the women’s side, the Rattlers are the hottest team in the Heartland Conference, having won their last 10 games in a row, including an 83-71 victory against Newman University on Saturday night at Bill Greehey Arena. St. Mary’s is now 11-4 overall and 2-0 in Heartland Conference play. St. Edward’s is just 4-11 overall, but is 2-0 in Heartland play, tying with the Rattlers and the University of the Incarnate Word for first place in the standings.
The St. Mary’s offense has been the key to the Rattlers success this season as they lead the Heartland in points scored per game (67.8), field goal percentage (42.4%), three-point percentage (37.0%) and free throw percentage (71.7%). The Rattlers also rank in the top 20 in the nation in three-point field goal percentage. Natalie Gamez (Jr., San Antonio) is the only Rattler scoring in double figures with a conference-leading 19.3 points per game. St. Edward’s ranks second in the HC in scoring defense, allowing just 62.7 points per game. However, they are averaging just 53.5 points per game, second to last in the conference. Haley Tidwell leads the Hilltoppers in scoring with 10.3 points per contest.
In the all-time series between the teams the Rattlers lead 36-23, including wins in the last five meetings. St. Mary’s won last year’s meeting in Austin, 59-52 in overtime.
For the men, St. Mary’s and St. Edward’s are the only two undefeated teams left in the Heartland Conference, each with 2-0 marks in league play. St. Mary’s brings an 8-6 overall record and has won three straight heading into Thursday’s game. SEU is 10-4 and has won its last five in a row. St. Mary’s defeated Newman in their last game, 72-59, while the Hilltoppers picked up an 87-70 win over Lincoln.
The Rattlers boast the top scoring defense in the Heartland Conference, allowing just 61.4 points per game, nine points per game fewer than any other HC squad. They are also holding their opponents to just 38.9 percent shooting from the field, tops in the Heartland. Offensively they are last in points scored per game, but have the second best field goal shooting squad, hitting on 48.2 percent from the field. The Rattlers boast a balanced scoring attack, with five players averaging seven or more points per game. SEU has the second highest scoring offensive team in the conference, with 82.6 points per contest and are the top shooting team in the Heartland, hitting on 49.4 percent of their shots from the field and 42.1 percent from three-point range. The Hilltoppers have three players scoring in double figures, led by Shawn Weinstein with 16.8 per contest.
Thursday’s meeting between the team’s will the 134th all-time. St. Mary’s has played St. Edward’s more than any other opponent. The Rattlers lead the all-time series 89-44, but the Hilltoppers have won the last two meetings overall and the last two in Austin.
Fans will be able to listen to the Rattlers and the Hilltoppers over the internet by logging on to www.rattlerathletics.com and clicking on the “Listen to the Rattlers” box in the upper-right-hand corner. The women’s broadcast will begin at approximately 5:50 p.m., followed by the men’s 20 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s game.