San Antonio – Getting hot in a moment’s notice is Lady Rattler Rebecca Cantu’s stitch.
Popping up from the bench consistently this season averaging 8.1 minutes per contest, Cantu is a shooter by nature and is expected to act whenever she’s called upon to light up with her specialty: 3-pointers.
“It’s definitely something you have to prepare for mentally,” says Cantu of her behind-the-arc prowess. “It’s something I’ve been able to grasp onto as that being the role I have on the team. And I think it’s a very important role because (the starting five) are the ones that try to put us in a good position to win the game, so I feel when I get out there I have to be at that place or better. I have to be that spark.”
Cantu has frequently sparked on the court this season, earning her one of the top 3-point percentages of 54.5 percent. But Cantu isn’t new to the game of clutch shooting; it’s been her forte since her first season as a Lady Rattler two years ago, steadily improving along the way into what is now her last year.
“It’s definitely been a large transition for me,” she said. “When I first got here I had a difficult time ‘learning the ropes,’ as they say. I’ve definitely worked very hard and done all that I can to stick to something that’s so crucial.”
After transferring from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi her sophomore year, the San Antonio native from MacArthur High School saw action in eight games in her first year as a Rattler, averaging 3.1 minutes per game. Cantu made to the jump to play in 15 games her junior year, averaging 5.1 minutes per contest. That’s when she became known as the 3-point threat she is today, leading the team with a 44.4 field-goal percentage.
Now in her senior year, Cantu has made an appearance in nearly every game so far this season, including one start. She has also hiked her playing time up as well as her behind-the-arc percentage and improving her field-goal percentage from 33.3 percent to 44.4.
With her increased improvement as the years have passed, Cantu has seen one Heartland Conference championship with her team and hopes this season will end with the same spark she ignites on the court.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling knowing your hard work and discipline got you (to the conference tournament) and be to able to try and accomplish it a second time is an honor,” she said. “I’m glad we have the opportunity do it.”
Cantu’s and St. Mary’s (10-14, 5-3) hope to advance to the Heartland Conference Tournament is within reach as they currently hold the No. 4 seed. A win tonight against top-seeded Newman University (17-4, 6-1) could pump the Rattlers up even closer.