ROLLA, Mo. – Breaking open what was a tight game at the midway point with a strong second half, St. Mary’s women’s hoops maintained its perfect start to the new season Friday night.

And it took defense to do so.

Morgan Pullins had 14 points and eight rebounds, leading the Lady Rattlers to a 49-42 victory over Missouri Science & Technology at Billy Key Court on a night where St. Mary’s did not surrender a point over the final 4:22 of play.

Leading by one in a defensive-heavy first half, St. Mary’s (3-0) offense opened up in the second, as the Lady Rattlers broke out to a 14-point lead nine minutes into the frame.

Felicia Jacobs (Sr., San Antonio) and Liz Boyd (Sr., San Antonio) each scored eight points, while Jacobs added five assists and five boards.

St. Mary’s shot just 40.8 percent in the game, hitting 20 of 49 shots, but it was more than enough thanks to a staunch defensive showing that limited Missouri S&T to a 5-for-26 showing (19.2 percent) in the second half. Missouri S&T shot just 23.5 percent for the entire game.

Still, Missouri’s ability to get to the foul line kept it in the game, connecting on 15 of 25 attempts compared to the Rattlers’ eight attempts from the charity stripe.

Up 42-28 with 11 minutes remaining, St. Mary’s saw Missouri S&T chip away at its lead, twice cutting the deficit to three in the final six minutes. But the Rattlers did not give up a point over the final 4:22, while Pullins (So., Franklin, Mich.) made a pair of layups down the stretch to extend the lead back to seven at the buzzer.

St. Mary’s will travel across the state to play Central Missouri in a battle of unbeaten on Sunday, where the 3-0 Jennies will host the 3-0 Rattlers at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Warrensburg, Mo.

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