HOBBS— The South Plains College Lady Texans fell to the No. 9 nationally ranked New Mexico Junior College Lady Thunderbirds 65-55 on Monday night in Hobbs.
Despite the outcome, South Plains proved to be a worthy opponent, if not more so, to one of the top programs in the country. The Lady Texans came out fearless over the first 20 minutes, with Elizabeth Cera and Ugochinyere Nwarie each chipping in six points to lead South Plains to a 27-23 lead at the half.
"Like it's been all year, it's been a tale of two halves," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "I though we came out with tremendous energy, good intensity and focus in the first half, and played really really well. I would say maybe as good as we've played all year."
South Plains would continue to stick around in a hostile environment as the game progressed into the final minutes. The Lady Thunderbirds were able to find their stroke from the floor early in the third quarter, with New Mexico going on an 18-7 run to begin the second half.
The Lady Texans continued to show resiliency in the fourth quarter, as Brittany Smith scored 12 points in the final 10 minutes, with Ramiah Henry chipping in six. The Lady Texans received 14 points off the bench, and showed the ability to penetrate inside the paint, racking up 18 points on the inside.
New Mexico was eventually able to chew up the clock and escape with a win to remain unbeaten in WJCAC play, but the Lady Texans still control their own destiny for a regional berth with three games remaining in the regular season.
"Like we've been saying, we have to be able to string together 40 minutes," Petree said. "A lot of it wasn't what we did bad, but what New Mexico Junior College did good. They're the best of the best, and playing here on their home court is always a challenge. The good news it this game didn't kill us, and we have a lot of things we can learn from."
The Lady Texans will be back in action on Monday, February 15, when they play host to Howard College on Breast Cancer Awareness Night at the Texan Dome, with tipoff set for 5:45 p.m.