San Antonio – With only a week left before Heartland Conference play begins, the Lady Rattlers know plenty of work remains.

St. Mary’s controlled much of Thursday’s contest against Tarleton State University, but couldn’t hold on in the waning moments of an eventual 64-57 loss at Bill Greehey Arena.

Mallory Moeller (Sr., Geronimo, Texas) nailed a jumper to take a 57-55 lead with 2:49 left, but Tarleton State bounced back to score the game’s final nine points.

“That’s the story of our season right now,” said coach Jason Martens of the nature of the defeat. “We don’t know how to win basketball games yet. We’ve got to learn how to win. We’ve got to find ways to figure that out pretty quick.”

Nicole James (Jr., Indianapolis) led St. Mary’s with 11 points, while Kristen Williams (Sr., Kansas City, Mo.) and DeAnna Patterson (Jr., Converse, Texas) added 10 points apiece.

The Rattlers led by as many as 11 points in the second half, including by seven with nine minutes left, before falling behind in the final minutes.

The fact St. Mary’s (7-6) felt like it let one get away made the defeat all the more frustrating.

“We’re just going to have to get some confidence back and figure out how to win close games,” Martens said. “I don’t know that this group believes they can win close games. We’re going to have to go back and put them in situations to learn what to do in certain situations.

“We shot better today, but we turned the ball over too much. We’ve got a lot to work on here before we open up conference in a week.”

St. Mary’s shot 45.5 percent from the floor, but committed 24 turnovers and missed six of 20 free-throw attempts.

The Lady Rattlers will travel to Angelo State on Monday before hosting St. Edward’s University in their Heartland Conference opener next Thursday.

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