AUSTIN, Texas – The Lady Rattlers remain hot as their winning streak continues, flaring up rival St. Edward’s in the first Heartland Conference victory of the season Thursday.
Junior Liz Boyd (San Antonio, Texas) lit up the bucket for St. Mary’s, leading her team in scoring and setting a season-high of 14 points in the 70-57 triumph over the Hilltoppers.
Freshman Morgan Pullins (Franklin, Mich.) played her first conference game of her career with the same skills as she has all season, banking 13 points followed by DeAnna Patterson (Sr., Converse, Texas) with 12.
The first half was a steady game with a solid fight between the Hilltoppers (3-12 overall) and the Lady Rattlers (6-10, 1-0 in Heartland Conference) that saw neither team lead by more than four points. With eight seconds left in the half, Patterson banked a statement-making three that put the Rattlers in a lead they would never lose.
The Lady Rattlers began to pull away in the second half, silencing the Hilltoppers’ chance at a comeback with the help of Pullins, who hit 11 of her 14 points in the second half. St. Mary’s sunk six straight free-throws with 40 seconds left in the game that put the final margin at 13.
St. Mary’s (6-10) went into the “Battle of the Saints” having won four out of its last five games, a needed confidence boost in hitting conference head-on. Now possessing a winning mojo, the Lady Rattlers are showing growth from the start of the season, hitting an 86.7 free-throw percentage in the second half when buckets used to not fall at as high of a percentage for the Rattlers with the game on the line. Capitalizing behind the line also extended to the rest of the court with St. Mary’s scoring 12 fast-break points and turning the Hilltoppers’ turnovers into 18 points for the game.
One of the Rattlers’ top scorers, Jackie Edwards (So., San Antonio, Texas) scored nine Thursday.
In addition, St. Mary’s has felt the benefit of seeing bench players becoming part of the regular rotation. Kathryn Galindo (So., San Antonio, Texas), who has been consistently seeing more action and scoring the past few games, went 100 percent from the floor (3 for 3) Thursday for a total of eight points, while Kyra Littlejohn (Fr., Southfield, Mich.) – who has also been accumulating more minutes recently – went 100 percent from the line for a total of four points.
Former bench-player-turned-starter Bria Bell (So., Mesquite, Texas) posted up for six points.
St. Mary’s hopes to continue its recent winning ways in its next conference game against the University of Texas-Permian Basin at 2 p.m. Saturday in Odessa, Texas.