San Antonio – The St. Mary’s women’s basketball team will enter the 2012-13 season with high expectations, having narrowly missed out on being picked as the team to beat in the Heartland Conference.

The league’s preseason poll came out Saturday morning, and the Lady Rattlers are second behind Arkansas-Fort Smith. The Lions received 83 points and seven first-place votes, while the Lady Rattlers received 82 points and four first-place votes.

Texas-Permian Basin was third while the Newman Jets, last year’s champion, came in fourth.

St. Mary’s returns three of the players comprising last year’s regular starting rotation, which went 13-16 overall and 8-4 in Heartland Conference competition to qualify for the tournament.

Head coach Jason Martens returns for his seventh season at the helm. He is the program’s all-time wins leader with a career record of 111-63 after guiding the Lady Rattlers to a fourth-place conference finish last year.

St. Mary’s opens the upcoming season against Cameron, whom the Lady Rattlers host at 5 p.m. on Nov. 10 at Bill Greehey Arena.

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