Special to the E-T
SAN ANTONIO – The Tarleton women’s basketball team dropped its second straight game to open the season, falling to St. Mary’s on a put back shot from Farren Fox with two seconds left that gave the Rattlers a 69-68 win over the TexAnns in the second game of the Incarnate Word Classic at McDermott Center in San Antonio.
The TexAnns fell to 0-2 on the young season and despite the loss, head coach Ronnie Hearne thinks this will be something the team can build on.
“We looked much better as a team today compared to how we played yesterday,” Hearne said. “We are going to have to keep our heads up and I know things are going to get a lot better for this team as the season goes along.”
The TexAnns were able to build a 20-point lead with just under five minutes remaining in the first half, but St. Mary’s cut into the deficit and Tarleton took an 11-point, 40-29, lead into the locker room.
D’Anna Dingler led all scorers at the break with 14 points including connecting on all three of Tarleton’s three-point shots. JoAnne Jones was the only other TexAnn in double figures at the break as she went into the locker room with 11 points.
The TexAnns shot an impressive 43 percent from the field and was a perfect 13 for 13 from the free-throw line in the first half. Defensively the TexAnns forced 11 turnovers with five of them coming off steals and held the Rattlers to 33 percent from the floor. St. Mary’s was however able to convert on 50 percent (4-8) from beyond the arc.
Free-throws from Jones stopped a 6-0 St. Mary’s run that began the second half and Tori Skare followed with a three-pointer with 16:03 remaining that put the TexAnns back up by 10 points, 45-35.
Dingler’s three-pointer with 12:56 remaining ended a scoring drought of 3:21 and put the TexAnns back up by seven, 48-41. St. Mary’s then went on a 13-5 run, capped off by Natalie Gamez’ three-pointer and the game was tied 53-53 with just under eight minutes to play.
With just under five minutes to play, Gamez nailed another three-pointer to give the Rattlers a 60-59 lead just before Jones connected on two free-throws to put the TexAnns back up 61-60.
On the TexAnns’ ensuing possession, Sundberg was fouled with 3:58 remaining. She converted on both free-throws to give the TexAnns a 63-60 lead.
With the TexAnns up by five, Gamez again connected on a three-pointer that pulled the Rattlers to within two, down 65-63. Skarke countered with her own three-pointer that put the TexAnns back up by five, 68-63.
Four consecutive free-throws from the Rattlers made it a 68-67 game with Tarleton leading by one with just under a minute left to play, but a turnover by Sundberg with 18 seconds left on the clock gave the ball back to St. Mary’s. Following a St. Mary’s timeout, Gamez put up a shot with four seconds left. The shot missed but Fox scored on the put back that gave the Rattlers a 69-68 win as the TexAnns were unable to put up a shot as time expired.
“The offensive turnover hurt us, but we still had 12 seconds to force a defensive stop and get a rebound,” Hearne said. “We were able to get the stop, but not the rebound and that is what cost us.”
Jones led all scorers with 22 points and added a team-high eight rebounds. Dingler and Skare finished with 17 points each.
Following a hot start to the game, the TexAnns shot just 30 percent in the second half and did not make a bucket in the final 2:22 minutes, finishing the game shooting 37.5 percent from the field. The TexAnns did however convert 87.5 percent from the free-throw line making 26 of 29 from the charity stripe.
After forcing 11 turnovers in the first half, the TexAnns forced just four turnovers in the second half.
The Rattlers edged out the TexAnns 34-30 in rebounds and scored 12 second-chance points. Tarleton scored just five second-chance points.
Tarleton will return to action this Thursday with its home opener against Texas-Permian Basin. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. inside Wisdom Gym.