San Antonio – Now that’s how you open Heartland Conference play.
The Lady Rattlers stormed past St. Edward’s 52-40 at Bill Greehey Arena on Thursday, not only opening up conference with a victory but also leaving their mark on the latest edition of “Battle of the Saints.”
All 12 Rattlers got time on the court, with sophomore point guard Liz Boyd (San Antonio) leading the way with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
One of nine Rattlers to score, senior forward Kristen Williams (Kansas City, Mo.) added eight points and eight rebounds.
“That was a great win,” coach Jason Martens said. “People who didn’t come here to the game and just look at the score and see a 12-pont victory aren’t going to realize what kind of game it was. For about 34 minutes we played about as well defensively as we could.”
Putting together its best performance of the year, St. Mary’s (9-6 overall, 1-0 in Heartland Conference) ran away with the game in the first half.
After being deadlocked in a 6-6 tie, the Rattlers went on a 23-6 run to lead 29-12 with about two minutes left until halftime. The stretch featured a stifling defensive effort from St. Mary’s, the kind of performance Martens has been waiting to see from his talented bunch.
WATCH THE SECOND HALF:
The Hilltoppers shot just 26.7 percent in the game and totaled 20 turnovers.
“We executed our game plan,” Martens said.
The fact freshmen such as Bria Bell and Kathryn Galindo were able to get valuable minutes only added to the value of the victory.
“It’s very important,” Martens said. “One, for them to get on the floor and see what it’s like to play when the lights are on. They can do what they do in practice, but when the lights are on it’s a little bit more intense.”
NOTEBOOK: The victory leaves Martens just 10 games short of becoming the program’s all-time wins leader among coaches. Martens is 92-41 at St. Mary’s, while record-holder Tom Weeaks posted 101 wins.