San Antonio – After their five-game winning streak was snapped before the holidays, the Lady Rattlers came out Thursday ready to avenge themselves and bump their game play back up to the top.

“We had a loss before the break,” says newcomer Lia Kioa (Jr., Phoenix), “and we all felt that. We came out to this game ready and prove to everyone that we were not about to lose again. 

“We’re ready to go 15-0 in this conference.”

They played that way in a 74-63 win over Texas-Permian Basin on Thursday at Bill Greehey Arena.

Kioa, who led the Rattlers in scoring in the win with 20 points, certainly spoke of confidence after seeing her Rattlers improve to 2-0 in Heartland Conference play.

Joining Kioa in double-digit scoring against the Falcons (6-5, 0-1 in conference) was Liz Boyd (Sr., San Antonio) with a season-high 17 points and Jackie Woods (Jr., San Antonio) with 11. Felicia Jacobs (Sr., San Antonio) added eight points while leading St. Mary’s in rebounds with nine, assists with five and steals with three.

Improving to 9-3 on the season and 2-0 in league play after the victory over the Falcons, the Rattlers pushed to the top of conference as they now lead with the best league record and overall mark.

After gaining the lead at the three-minute mark Thursday against the Falcons, the Rattlers never lost footing thereafter and maintained the edge throughout the game to lead 40-21 at the half, sparked by Kioa’s 13 points. However, the Falcons regrouped in the second half to outscore the Rattlers 42-34 and tightened the gap with heavy presses. But St. Mary’s remained composed to claim its second straight conference victory with a sizable lead, 74-63. 

The Rattlers’ recent style of play caters to their shooting, which was 50 percent Thursday behind a four-guard starting rotation. With only one post on the floor, St. Mary’s has been able to capitalize on its wings and has found it to be a key component in the Rattlers’ winning ways so far this season.

“Having us four guards start works to our advantage because we have a fast, quick start,” says Kioa who has moved into the Rattlers’ starting lineup recently. “And we have a bunch of guards ready to attack and also Bria (Bell), who’s ready to be big as a post and hold her end. I think we have a really good advantage having four guards start.”

St. Mary’s will try to pick up another hot streak as it faces conference contender Oklahoma Panhandle State University Saturday in Bill Greehey Arena at 2 p.m.

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