LEVELLAND— Win the fourth quarter.
The South Plains College Lady Texans did just so, outscoring the Howard Lady Hawks 22-12 in the final ten minutes of regulation to pick up a crucial 57-50 on Monday night at the Texan Dome.
"This win tonight kept us alive in the playoff, and even gives us a chance to get third place," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "I'm proud of our team's effort from bouncing back from maybe the worst first half of basketball that we've played all year. We've got to get tougher, and we've got to start valuing the basketball, but a wins a win."
Yanina Inkina, a 6-foot-1 freshman forward from Belarus led all scorers in the contest with 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from field, and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the charity stripe. Jasmyne Martin went on to finish the contest with 14 points and nine boards for the Lady Texans in 29 minutes of action, while Taylor Holley chipped in nine points.
"After the break, we knew we had to get this win if we want to go to the next level," Inkina said. "We played as hard as we can and listened to our coach, and she gave us the advice that really helped us. Patience, effort, this is what helped us reach this win. All the people that helped us, we appreciate them coming to the games and supporting us."
The Lady Texans (18-10, 6-6) shot just 34 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, allowing the Lady Hawks (17-10, 7-5) to take a 21-18 lead into the locker room at the half. With a regional berth hanging in the balance that would be decided over the next two quarters, the Lady Texans answered the call as they shot over 46 percent from the floor over the final two quarters.
Inkina would give South Plains a 33-31 advantage after knocking down two free-throws with 3:21 left in the third period. Howard would regain the lead in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, but a long 3-pointer from Dabraisia Baty would recapture the lead for the Lady Texans with under eight minutes Remaining.
Baty's three ignited an offensive outburst for South Plains, as the Lady Texans would go on a 15-3 run over the final eight minutes of the game capped off by a 3-pointer from Inkina with 1:42 left.
"I knew after the first half, we had to come out with a different mindset in the second half," Martin said. "Our mindset on offense was to break down their three-two, and break down their gaps. We should of beat them last time, but it felt good to put them away tonight. We need to start getting locked in at beginning, and do what our coaches are telling us to do."
The Lady Texans will be back in action on Thursday night, as they are set to travel to Clarendon for a matchup with the Lady Bulldogs, with tipoff set for 5:45 p.m.