DENTON, Texas – Making a pit stop Wednesday on their road to the championship, the Lady Rattlers stopped in Denton, Texas after a day of driving through the Heartland soaking in their extended season play.

Amidst the comedies on the charter-bus television, the giggles and jokes, and the downtime for chow, the Lady Rattlers haven’t lost sight of their reason for their trip – competing in the Heartland Conference Tournament.

It was a vision that was once not so clear.

“We’re proud of our team for making this far,” said senior forward Amber Sophus. “A lot of people didn’t think we could do it. But we went out there and worked hard.”

Rolling in to Denton around 10 p.m. and the St. Mary’s campus a few hours behind them, the Lady Rattlers were visibly ready to hit the blankets as they were set for an early-morning, 7 a.m. departure Thursday to complete their journey to Wichita, Kansas.

The arrival of St. Mary’s a few states from home will quickly nip in the bud the jovial times on the bus, as it’s game on for the Rattlers, who are scheduled to practice at 1 p.m. Thursday.

St. Mary’s will tip off against top-seeded Newman in the Heartland Conference Tournament semifinals at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with a shot to advance to Saturday’s championship game.

“We have the mindset that we’re going to go out there and win our game,” Sophus said. “And if not, we know we’ll have done as much as we could and have left everything on the court.”

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