San Antonio – Ashley Beckley led all players with 20 points, helping the University of Central Oklahoma shoot 54.7 percent from the field as the Bronchos defeated St. Mary’s University, 78-65, on the first day of the St. Mary’s New Year’s Classic women’s basketball tournament, played Monday at Bill Greehey Arena.

Central Oklahoma took an early 8-0 lead and never trailed in the game against the Rattlers. The Bronchos made their first three-pointers in the early run and finished the game by hitting on 11-of-19 shots from 3-point range, holding off every Rattler attempt to close the gap. After trailing by as many as 12 points in the early going, the Rattlers rallied behind the shooting of Nicole James (So., Indianapolis), who scored 5 points in a 7-0 Rattler run that pulled St. Mary’s to within four at 32-28. But UCO responded with a 7-0 run of their own to finish the half and led by a 39-28 count at the break.

Liz Boyd (Fr., San Antonio) and Chastity Noble (Sr., El Paso) led a second half comeback by the Rattlers, combining to make 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range in the second period. But the Rattlers never got closer than seven points and UCO won going away.

Noble and Boyd tied for the team lead in scoring with 14 points each, while DeAnna Patterson (So., Converse, Texas) added 11 points. The Rattlers shot 49.0 percent (25-51) from the field, including 47.4 percent (9-19) from 3-point range. But the Rattlers committed 32 turnovers and allowed the Bronchos to hit on 54.7 percent (29-53) of their shots.

With the loss the Rattlers fell to 7-5 this season and have lost their two games in a row. UCO improved to 6-3. St. Mary’s will return to action on Wednesday, when they host Texas A&M University-Commerce in the final game of the St. Mary’s New Year’s Classic at 4 p.m. at Bill Greehey Arena. UCO will face the University of the Incarnate Word at 2 p.m. in the first game of the day.

Central Oklahoma 78, St. Mary’s (Texas) 65
Game #2 of St. Mary’s New Year’s Classic

Incarnate Word 77, Texas A&M-Commerce 60
Game #1 of St. Mary’s New Year’s Classic

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