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Phillips’ 10-point fourth quarter not enough to halt Clemens

Texas State Women's Basketball
Saturday, February 2, 2019

SCHERTZ — The Lady Rattlers kept swinging. They just couldn’t go the distance.

There were eight lead changes Friday night in San Marcos’ road matchup with Schertz Clemens, but the clock ran out before the visitors could make one more. The Lady Rattlers ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, falling 52-46.

“We knew it would be a battle,” head coach Veronda Kendall said. “We handled them pretty easily at our place. But we knew coming here, on the road, was going to be a tough game. I thought we fought pretty hard early. And then, I don’t know. Probably a little bit of shot selection and we had some turnovers that hurt us.”

The teams entered the second half tied at 18-18. A floater from freshman guard Vivian Hernandez gave San Marcos a 25-24 edge with 4:54 left in the third quarter. The Lady Rattlers didn’t score again for the rest of the period.

The Lady Buffaloes went on an 11-0 run, taking a 35-25 lead.

“I don’t know. We’ve struggled with the third with scoring,” Kendall said. “I thought they were giving us the paint and we tried to take advantage of that. It was just a slow start.”

The visitors did take advantage of it in the next quarter. The hosts rested their starters at the beginning of the fourth and sophomore forward Faith Phillips punished them for it. Phillips ended the scoring drought with a pair of free throws in the first minute of the quarter, and continued to go at the Clemens defense.

The Lady Buffaloes starters returned to the floor halfway through the period with the lead cut down to just four points. But Phillips had already heated up by then. The sophomore converted on an and-1 layup and free throw attempt, stole the ball on the next play and drove in for another layup to give San Marcos a 39-38 lead with 3:02 still on the clock.

“(Phillips) always has a good presence on both ends,” Kendall said. “She has a presence on the offensive end, posting, attacking and scoring, rebounding. So, maybe we should have gone to her a little bit more.”

Junior center Grace Latham swatted a shot out of bounds on the next possession and the hosts called timeout. Clemens senior guard Erin Givilancz drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing inbounds play, marking the eighth and final lead change.

The Lady Rattlers shifted to a full-court press on defense so that the Lady Buffaloes couldn’t run down the clock. But the visitors gave up too many baskets in transition to make another rally. Clemens took the victory, 52-46.

“We tried to attack the paint.” Kendall said. “So, we were able to take advantage of that and climb back in. But then, defensively, we just didn’t get the stops we needed. And like I said, shot selection was probably not what we needed it to be.”

Phillips finished with 16 points, 10 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Latham led the team with 18, followed by Phillips and then Hernandez with eight.

The loss effectively knocks San Marcos (20-16, 4-9 district) out of playoff contention. The Lady Rattlers will conclude their season on Tuesday when they host New Braunfels (16-16, 4-9) inside the Snake Pit at 7 p.m. for senior night. Kendall said there is still a lot left for her team to accomplish.

“I hope that we can just put it all together and play well and not make the mistakes,” Kendall said. “I think we’re moving in that direction. It’s just, it’s not consistent. So consistency. And we have to play well defensively. We have to play well defensively night in and night out. We can’t take nights off on defense. And so, those are the areas where I hope we can finish strong.”