San Antonio – St. Mary’s wrapped up its gift to Rattler fans in its second victory at home before hitting the road for the rest of the holidays, beating East Central 68-61 on Monday.
Coming onto the court with a rough 1-9 season start and a gut-wrenching, one-point loss against Angelo State in their last appearance at home, the Lady Rattlers (2-9) shook off their slow start with four Rattlers hitting double digits, and one newcomer recording a double-double against the Tigers.
Sinking 22 points from the paint and pulling down 16 rebounds, freshman Morgan Pullins (Franklin, Mich.) has found her place within the starting five just as St. Mary’s seems to have found its much-needed chemistry in Monday’s game.
“This was a big game,” said Pullins, who went 10 of 17 from the floor, “because this is actually the start of the second semester, so we’re going to go in there thinking it’s 0-0. Tonight was a big win for us to start it off nice and fresh.”
The Rattlers and East Central (1-7) played an even-scoring game until seven minutes were left in the first half, when the Rattlers showed off their offensive strengths and led the Tigers by as many as 12. St. Mary’s also pulled out its defensive stops with four steals for the half and causing the shot clock to buzz for the Tigers twice.
However, the second half dared the Rattlers to see their 10th loss of the season, with the Tigers outscoring St. Mary’s 37-33. The Rattlers were able to keep their cool with only five turnovers in the second half, but had trouble capitalizing on the nine steals they had for the game that earned only two buckets and churned out 11 points from the Tigers’ 16 turnovers. The Tigers were down seven with 1 ½ minutes to play, but the Rattlers held their game and two free throws from Liz Boyd (Jr., San Antonio) canceled the Tigers’ chance at a comeback, sealing the Rattlers’ second win of the season at 68-61.
Boyd was just shy of hitting the double-digit mark with nine, but four Rattlers, including Pullins, hit it on the money. Freshman Chesney Neely (Goldthwaite, Texas) went 5 of 6 from the floor for 10 points with another newcomer, Jackie Edwards (So., San Antonio), sparking 2 of 3 from behind the arc for a total of 10 points. Felicia Jacobs (Jr., San Antonio) didn’t fail to disappoint either, scoring 11 points, pulling down seven defensive rebounds and leading the team in steals with four.
The Rattlers hope to take the momentum from the victory over East Central and continue to strive for chemistry on the road against Southeastern Oklahoma State in Durant, Okla. on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.