Wichita, Kan. – St. Mary’s senior posts Kristen Williams and Mareta Bailey had their way in the paint against Newman on Monday, totaling 28 points between them on 10-of-17 shooting.
But with the Lady Rattlers unable to hit from outside, the duo’s dominance didn’t have the desired effect.
Newman beat St. Mary’s 68-58 at Fugate Gymnasium, capitalizing on a night that saw the Rattlers shoot 1 for 14 from 3-point range and 37.7 percent overall.
The loss dropped the Rattlers (14-10 overall, 6-3 Heartland Conference) two spots out of first place in the conference standings with one league game remaining. Texas-Permian Basin entered the night with one conference loss, while Newman also has just one defeat in league play.
St. Mary’s has, however, clinched a spot in the Heartland Conference Tournament, leaving it with more than a chance to clinch its fourth straight NCAA Regional Tournament appearance.
In the short term, the Rattlers will try to get back on track when they host Arkansas Fort-Smith at 2 p.m. Saturday at Bill Greehey Arena. UA-Fort Smith is a Heartland Conference opponent but remains a provisional member, meaning the game won’t count in the league standings.
Against Newman, the Rattlers looked poised for a memorable comeback after trailing by 13 with nearly four minutes left in the first half.
Chipping away at the deficit with authority, St. Mary’s cut it to 43-41 on a Bailey (Sr., Grand Prairie, Texas) jumper with 14:17 left. But the fight to cut it that close might have exhausted the Rattlers, as the Jets quickly went on an 8-0 run to push the deficit back to double figures.
A 3-pointer from DeAnna Patterson (Jr., Converse, Texas) cut it back down to five with 1:51 left, but it proved to be the Rattlers’ final basket as Newman closed the game out on a 5-0 run.
Williams (Sr., Kansas City, Mo.) had 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Bailey scored 9. Point guard Nicole James (Sr., Indianapolis) added five assists.