San Antonio – St. Mary’s University’s women’s basketball team continued its steady climb up the national rankings, remaining the top ranked team in the South Central Region and moving up to 16th in the USA Today/ESPN Division Coaches Poll released this week.

St. Mary’s (19-2 overall, 8-0 Heartland Conference) defeated St. Edward’s University, 67-65, in its only action last week and remained just ahead of Lone Star Conference (LSC) leader West Texas A&M University in the South Central Region Standings. Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) leader Emporia State University suffered a loss and fell from number three to number five in the region. The University of Central Oklahoma is third in the poll and Southeastern Oklahoma State is fourth. The LSC has six teams in the poll, the MIAA has three and St. Mary’s is the lone Heartland Conference school in the rankings.

In the national poll, the Rattlers moved up five spots from 21st to 16th, their highest national ranking since the 2002-2003 season when they ranked as high as 12th. The University of Alaska-Anchorage is the top-ranked team in the nation with a 22-1 record.

The national ranking is the highest for the Rattlers this season. The Rattlers highest-ever ranking in the poll came during the 2001-02 season in which they climbed as high as sixth in the nation after setting a then-school record of 19 straight wins, which last year’s team recently broke.

The Rattlers will return to action tonight when they host Oklahoma Panhandle State University in a Heartland Conference game at 5:30 p.m. The Rattler men’s basketball game will start at 8 p.m. Both teams will be at home this Saturday. The women will be helping to raise funds for the Kay Yow Foundation for Cancer Research.

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