EL PASO, Texas – If this weekend’s exhibition action is any indicator, the St. Mary’s women’s basketball team could be in for a big year.

The Lady Rattlers gave UTEP a challenge on Saturday, falling 69-60 after trailing by three at the half to a team that won Conference USA and advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament a year ago.

Jackie Woods (Jr., San Antonio), who played as Jackie Edwards last season, led the Lady Rattlers with 18 points and went 3 of 7 from 3-point range at the Don Haskins Center.

Morgan Pullins (So., Franklin, Mich.) fell one rebound short of a double-double, scoring 10 and pulling down nine boards. Newcomer Lia Kioa (Jr., Phoenix) filled the stat sheet with six points, seven rebounds and five assists, while fellow guard Felicia Jacobs (Sr., San Antonio) hauled in eight boards.

St. Mary’s led for a good portion of the first half, including by as many as four at 18-14 midway through the frame. A UTEP surge saw the Miners storm back to take a 31-23 advantage with 4:12 remaining, but a Bria Bell (Jr., Mesquite, Texas) layup with 46 seconds left helped slice the halftime deficit to 31-28.

UTEP pushed its lead to 18 midway through the second half.

St. Mary’s advanced to the Heartland Conference Tournament semifinals last season with a 13-16 record.

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