San Antonio – Rachel Jones’ short jumper with 54 seconds left was the difference as 16th-ranked St. Mary’s University rallied from an 18-point deficit to defeat St. Edward’s University, 56-55, in the semifinals of the Heartland Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament, Friday afternoon at Bill Greehey Arena.
After trailing for the first 38:11 of the game, the Rattlers finally took the lead for the first time on a Jones (Sr., Little Rock, Ark.) jumper with 1:49 left in the game at 54-53. St. Edward’s responded with a Sara Head layup on the next possession to give the Hilltoppers the lead again at 55-54. That set up the game-winning shot on the next possession. Jones drove into the lane and hit a 12-footer with 54 seconds left to give the Rattlers the lead for good.
Kelly Payton had a 15-foot jumper with 20 seconds left bounce off the rim and Mallory Moeller (So., Seguin) pulled down the rebound. The inbound went to Natalie Gamez (Sr., San Antonio) who was called for an offensive foul, giving the Hilltoppers one last chance. But Head’s shot from the side with five seconds left hit off the rim, ending the Hilltoppers hopes.
Jones led all players with 18 points on 8-of-18 shooting. She also pulled down six rebounds, dished out four assists and had four steals. Moeller scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds. Head led SEU with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
With the win St. Mary’s improved to 24-4 this season, while St. Edward’s saw its season end at 15-13. St. Mary’s will face the winner of the University of the Incarnate Word-Texas A&M-International game, which will be played on Friday at 2:30 p.m. The championship game will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bill Greehey Arena. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for non-St. Mary’s students. St. Mary’s students, faculty and staff get in for free.
The game will be broadcast live over the internet at collegetvticket.com.