"I had good vibes," Matheny said. "I thought today was going to be our day."
But instead of celebration, it was heartbreak and tears in the St. Joseph's locker room after a 49-42 loss at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
The Angels fell a game short of reaching the final four while Incarnate Word stays alive in its attempt to defend the Class 5 championship.
"We had a great first quarter but when you play a team like Incarnate Word you have to play four great quarters," Matheny said.
The second quarter was the downfall for the Angels, who were outscored 18-8 and trailed 25-17 at halftime.
The Red Knights increased their lead to as many as 12 points in the third quarter but Sydney Stipanovich had a six-point run of her own to cut the lead in half. She hit a basket with a second left in the third quarter and then converted a field goal and a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to six points int he first two minutes of the fourth quarter.
"We would get it down to six or eight and one time five and we would turn it over," Matheny said. "You have to credit their defense but we should have had better shots."
The Angels fought until the end and had a chance to cut the deficit to two points with a minute left but Morgan Stock's 3-pointer went off the rim. Incarnate Word would ice it at the free throw line, converting eight fourth quarter free throws.
It was a rough shooting night for the Angels, who converted just 3-of-14 of their 3-pointers. Sharp shooter Maddie Stock, who was battling an illness, made just three of her 11 tries in her final high school game.
"We really wanted to pull through tonight," said Stock, who will be attending the University of Missouri. "I was hoping to end my high school career in Columbia and then start my college career there. But Incarnate Word is a great team. I am going to most remember my teammates. I could not have asked for a better four years."
The Angels, who finished 25-6, will return a solid nucleus of players such as Stipanovich, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the way Saturday. But the Stock sisters will be greatly missed.
"My heart breaks for Maddie and Morgan," Matheny said. "They were two of the best players to come out of St. Joseph's. They should cherish their moments here and hold their heads high."
Taylor Manuel had 12 points to pace the Red Knights, who will take a 25-6 record to Columbia.
"I've got to give them (St. Joseph's) a lot of props," said Manuel, a senior who will play at Purdue next year. "They are a great team and well-coached. Those girls gave everything they had tonight and so did we."