LEVELLAND — Win the fourth quarter.
Deadlocked at 53 after three quarters, the No. 3-ranked South Plains College women's basketball team ripped off an 8-0 run to begin the final frame capped by a Sarah Shematsi' 3-pointer that pushed the Lady Texans past No. 16 Odessa College 73-64 Monday night at the Texan Dome.
"Every win is a good win, especially a conference one against a very good team," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "There's been a lot of talk about how tough our conference is nationally, and there's not a night we can go out and get an easy win, so we're really excited to come out on top against one of the best teams in the country."
Leading 65-62 following a jumper from Odessa's Wytalla Motta, sophomore Gabbie Green pulled up from the top of the key, draining a 3-ball to put the Lady Texans (22-1, 7-0) up six with 2:29 to play. The Lady Wranglers would get back within four following an Okako Adika' jump shot with just over a minute to play, but a pair of free throws from Caroline Germond iced the game as the Lady Texans won their 19th consecutive game dating back to mid-November.
"Our toughness since the beginning of the season is helping us out in these big games, and all of us know our role and what we're supposed to do," Green said. "I try to help my team any way I can and do my job every possession. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, and we have to keep doing our jobs and doing the little things to keep winning games like this."
Green led all scorers in the contest, racking up 22 points, six assists, and two rebounds. Shematsi finished with 20 points, three rebounds and three assists, bucketing 7 of 17 attempts and was 6 of 11 from the 3-point line. Sophomore Keke Hunter netted 17 points and 14 boards, dropping in nine of 11 attempts from the charity stripe.
South Plains shot 44 percent from the floor and 52.9 percent from the perimeter, netting nine 3s in the contest. The Lady Texans made the most of their opportunities from the free throw line, bucketing 20 of 23 attempts.
"Odessa the last two years has won the regional tournament outright and are a team full of sophomores, and we knew it was going to be a battle and that we needed to make game-winning plays for the entire game," Petree said. "The possession battle was very important, and I thought in the fourth quarter we did a great job with our shot section and didn't turn the ball over and made stops on defense that proved to be crucial."
Amanda Soderqvist led Odessa (15-5, 5-2) with 18 points, pouring in six 3s in the contest. Motta provided 12 points off the bench for the Lady Wranglers while Daika and Julan McDonald each chipped in nine points.
The Lady Texans will return to the hardwood on Thursday when they travel to Midland for a 5:45 p.m. tip at the Chaparral Center. The game will be streaming live at spctexans.com and Michael Wiiest of KLVT Radio Levelland will call the courtside action.