GAME DAY: Women’s basketball wins Battle of the Saints 74-61


Anna Pratts / Hilltop Views

Graduate student Jayda Ruffus-Milner goes for an explosive offensive run.

With a 13-point lead, the Hilltoppers came out with a valuable 74-61 victory from the Battle of the Saints against the St. Mary’s Rattlers on Tuesday, Feb. 21. 

The first quarter was completely dominated by the Hilltoppers. Graduate student Morgan Gary set the tone for the rest of the game at the outset, scoring her first bucket in the first three minutes of the quarter, opening her way for an explosive total of 12 points in that quarter alone. Right before the buzzer, Gary assisted junior Lauren Catherman to finish it up with a 3-pointer from deep. Hilltoppers went into the second quarter with a massive 18 point lead and a 21-3 score. 

“We just had a great offensive stride going on in the first quarter, and I think that just really boosted our confidence for the rest of the game,” junior Ronnie Cantu said.

The Rattlers came back to the second quarter ready to answer. With a combination of 15 points, STMU’s juniors Jaedyn Dunn and Ariah Powell made a comeback. But Cantu was ready

to answer at the opposite end of the court. She went 5-6 in field goals and scored all four 3-point shots she made, converting 14 points in total. Sophomore Ainsley Thunell came in from the bench and showcased her talent converting 100% on field goals and helping the team with a valuable offensive rebound on the paint. The Rattlers applied pressure, but the Hilltoppers didn’t cave in, stepping off the court with a 38-28 halftime score. 

The Hilltoppers starting five were off to a good start in the second half, as graduate students Jayda Ruffus-Milner — who scored all of her six points in this quarter — and Sammie Dufek pl

ayed in more dominant roles. Dufek, however, got her fourth personal foul toward the end of the third quarter, and Thunell came in to take her place. Junior Matilda Soric came in from the bench and scored a 3-pointer at the buzzer, making the last push for a 12-point lead, going into the last 10 minutes with a 58-46 score. 

The fourth quarter only proved the Hilltoppers’ brilliant dominance. Dufek and Catherman put on stellar performances, with 12 combined points, six assists and five defensive rebounds from Catherman. St. Ed’s 74-61 victory was sealed, even with Rattlers’ Juliett Martinez’s 3-pointer with 19 seconds left on the clock.

Gary hit an impressive double-double, with 18 points and 11 assists. Catherman shone with double digit scoring: 15 points and six total rebounds. Cantu and Dufek also scored double digits, with 14 points, 4-4 on 3-pointers, and 12 points, respectively. Ruffus-Milner was dominant in the paint, with eight total rebounds. This was Gary, Dufek and Ruffus-Milner’s last home game. 

The St. Edward’s women’s basketball team is now placed eighth in the Lone Star Conference. They need to win the next and final regular-season game against St. Mary’s in order to clinch a position in the LSC Tournament.