San Antonio – It borders on cliché, the theory that a team must worry about a let-down game following a big-time victory.
But the St. Mary’s Lady Rattlers can certainly appreciate the validity of that concern after Thursday’s triumph.
The Lady Rattlers stomped Oklahoma Panhandle State University 72-55 at Bill Greehey Arena, but the final margin of victory didn’t quite show how hard-fought the game was early.
Nicole James (Sr., Indianapolis) led the Rattlers with 16 points, Mareta Bailey (Sr., Grand Prairie, Texas) scored 14, and Kristen Williams (Sr., Kansas City, Mo.) hauled in 13 rebounds to go along with eight points.
“You’ve got to come out every game and play hard,” said Williams, whose squad had an emotional, come-from-behind victory over the University of Texas-Permian Basin last Saturday. “We had a really awesome game against UTPB, and we come around against OPSU and kind of let ourselves relax instead of jumping on them early.”
St. Mary’s (11-6 overall), pegged as the preseason favorite in the Heartland Conference, improved to 3-0 in league play. OPSU dropped to 2-13 overall.
WATCH THE GAME!
After opening up a 16-point lead in the first half, St. Mary’s let OPSU back into the game in the waning minutes, taking a 33-25 lead into halftime.
The lead dwindled to four early in the second half, putting a brief scare into St. Mary’s.
But while it took the Lady Rattlers a little longer than expected to step on the gas, there was no stopping them once they did.
Leading 62-52 with 4:25 left, St. Mary’s closed out the game on a 10-3 run to leave no doubt.
DeAnna Patterson (Jr., Converse, Texas) scored nine points on 2-for-2 shooting from 3-point range, while Mallory Moeller (Sr., Geronimo, Texas) added eight points. St. Mary’s shot 9 for 13 from beyond the arc as a team.
St. Mary’s will return to action when it hosts Newman University at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bill Greehey Arena, before opening up a lengthy six-game road trip.