San Antonio – After dropping two straight, all St. Mary’s forward Amber Sophus wanted was to be able to go to practice next week feeling confident again.

Mission accomplished.

The Lady Rattlers plastered Texas A&M International on Sunday, storming toward an 86-49 victory in their regular-season finale at Bill Greehey Arena.

“We needed momentum,” said Sophus, whose Rattlers had already clinched the third seed in the Heartland Conference Tournament prior to the game. “We’re coming off of losing two. We needed a push, a game where we were focused, playing together. Just so we can go to practice this week feeling positive.”

St. Mary’s (15-11, 7-3 in Heartland Conference) will play Texas-Permian Basin in next week’s Heartland Conference semifinals. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Friday at Bill Greehey Arena, with top-seeded Newman facing St. Edward’s at 12 p.m. that day.

The championship game is slated for 12 p.m. Saturday.

“We don’t want anyone else to cut down our nets in our gym,” Sophus said.

Against TAMIU, it was the Lady Rattlers’ seniors leading the charge on Senior Night. Kristen Williams (Sr., Kansas City, Mo.) had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds, while Nicole James (Sr., Indianapolis) added 12 points and six assists. Mareta Bailey (Sr., Grand Prairie, Texas) finished with nine.

Sophomore point guard Liz Boyd scored a game-high 15, hitting two of the Rattlers seven 3-pointers.

After a week that stressed passing and protecting the basketball, St. Mary’s tallied 25 assists to TAMIU’s seven, and turned the ball over just 16 times while forcing 24.

The Lady Rattlers’ jumped to a double-digit lead 11 minutes into the game and never looked back, taking a 43-26 advantage into the break.

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