San Antonio – Besting their previous season-high win streak of five, the St. Mary’s Lady Rattlers picked up their sixth straight over provisional Heartland Conference member McMurry University on Saturday.
With seven lead changes and the game tied nine times, the Rattlers’ contest quickly turned into a show down against the War Hawks. But, as they have done all season, St. Mary’s eventually found a way to steal the show, winning 72-60 with a second-half surge at Bill Greehey Arena.
Jackie Woods (Jr., San Antonio) exploded for the Rattlers (14-3, 6-0 in conference), nearly going as perfect as St. Mary’s conference record, missing just one shot in eight attempts to score a game-high 23 points. Dezirae Elias (Fr., Chandler, Ariz.) added 12 points along with four steals, followed by Liz Boyd (Sr., San Antonio) who totaled 10 points and pulled in a team-high seven rebounds.
The first half definitely didn’t mirror the last frame, as it was a back-and-forth frenzy that housed eight of the game’s nine tied scores that closed out at 30-30 draw at the break. Woods was the backbone for the Rattlers, scoring nearly half of their total points with 14. At the start of the second, St. Mary’s blazed to fire up a quick lead.
St. Mary’s went on an 11-0 run in the first four minutes of the half that was the difference for the victory, as McMurry (6-10) was never able to counter the comeback and trailed for the remainder of the game.
“We adjusted how we were attacking their defense at halftime,” head coach Jason Martens said of the Rattlers’ performance in the second. “Once we got a couple points we got energy for our defense and our defense allowed us to get some easy baskets.”
Although the Rattlers’ victory over McMurry does not count toward their conference record, their undefeated status is of constant and continued focus.
“I keep on telling the girls, do you want to be good or do you want to be great?” says Martens, who coached a Rattler team that went 14-0 in conference in the 2007-08 season. “Good teams win conference championships, great teams go undefeated. That’s what our challenge is. But we also realize that it only takes one slipup to lose that undefeated streak, so that’s our focus everyday.”
The Rattlers will play one more provisional conference contender, Oklahoma Christian University, before starting the second round of league play.
St. Mary’s will play Oklahoma Christian Saturday in Edmond, Okla. at 2 p.m.