LEVELLAND — Vowing for their first conference title since 2013, the No. 4-ranked South Plains College women's basketball team answered the call, pounding Clarendon College 82-56 Monday night at the Texan Dome to secure at least a share of the conference crown.
The Lady Texans will look to secure the conference title outright Thursday night when they travel to Odessa to take on the Lady Wranglers with tip slated for 5:45 p.m. from the OC Sports Center.
"I thought in the fourth quarter we found our rhythm and came to play," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "In order for us to be the team we aspire to be; we're going to have to play ever possession extremely hard. It feels really good to win tonight and clinch at least a share of the conference title, and we're excited about that and controlling our own destiny against Odessa."
Playing in her final game at the Texan Dome, Gabbie Green went off for 24 points, six assist and three steals, connecting on 8 of 14 attempts from the field and was 3-for-5 from the 3-point line. Keke Hunter made her presence felt inside as the sophomore from Hot Springs, Arkansas recorded 17 points and 16 boards for the Lady Texans.
"I've never won a championship before, and this is a great accomplishment for our team, our families and our community," Green said. "My family came out to support me in my last home game, and I'm just glad we were able to put on a show for them. I wanted to be part of something that was going to help build the program, and we have a lot more to accomplish the rest of the way."
Freshman Sarah Shematsi found her stroke midway through the second half, pouring in 19 points and six boards, finishing 6 of 15 from the floor and was 3 of 7 from behind the arc. South Plains' Ruth Koang dropped in 10 points, six coming in the final 10 minutes as the 6-5 freshman from Rochester, New York knocked down 4 of 6 attempts coming off the bench.
Leading 55-45 heading into the final stint, the Lady Texans shot a 52.9 percent clip from the field in the fourth quarter as Shematsi and Green combined for 16 points in the final 10 minutes, including a trio of 3s from Shematsi.
South Plains (27-2, 12-1) shot over 46 percent from the 3-point line while forcing Clarendon (8-21, 1-12) to finish just 12 of 33 from the perimeter. The Lady Texans gave the Clarendon offense fits all night, forcing 19 turnovers resulting in 21 points on the offensive end. South Plains had their way in the paint, bucketing 32 points inside and outrebounded the Lady Bulldogs 41-20 on the glass.
Kelzie Orr led Clarendon with 12 points coming off the bench while Kea Mays netted 11 points and three assists. The Lady Bulldogs shot just 34.5 percent from the floor and were held to just 23 points in the first half.