San Antonio – Natalie Gamez scored a game-high 29 points and St. Mary’s University shot 54 percent from the field as the Rattlers held off a strong challenge from Texas A&M-International in Heartland Conference women’s basketball action Thursday night at Bill Greehey Arena.

Gamez (Sr., San Antonio) made 9-of-18 shots from the field and 5-of-13 from three-point range to lead all players. She also added six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

The Rattlers led for nearly the entire second half and looked to finally have the Dustdevils put away with 3:32 left to play when Mallory Moeller (So., Seguin) hit a short jumper to make it a 70-56 game. But three-pointers by Valerie Villanueva and Mary Tobias helped TAMIU cut the Rattler lead to just three points at 73-70 with 1:00 left. Ashton Benford (Sr., Waxahachie) then put the game away for the Rattlers, hitting a short lay-up on the next possession and following with a pair of free throws to increase the lead to seven points.

Benford scored 19 points and pulled down five rebounds. She hit on 8-of-12 shots from the field. Rachel Jones (Sr., Little Rock, Ark.) was the only other Rattler scoring in double figures with 11 points and seven rebounds. As a team the Rattlers hit on 29-of-53 shots from the field.

With the win the Rattlers improved to 15-2 overall and have won their last four in a row. TAMIU fell to 6-10 and 3-1. St. Mary’s will return to action on Saturday when they host the University of the Incarnate Word in a game that will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports Network, starting at 2 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena. A live audio broadcast and live stats will be available on

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