LUBBOCK, Texas — In a matchup boasting two of the countries top perennial junior college basketball programs, the South Plains College women's basketball team battled No. 2 Gulf Coast down to the final seconds Thursday before eventually falling 68-66 in the Elite 8 of the NJCAA Div. I Women's Basketball National Championships at the Rip Griffin Center.
"It was an unbelievable game, congratulations to Gulf Coast, and I've said all year that we are two of the best teams in the country," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "I could not be more proud of every single player on our team and their effort. There wasn't a lot left out there, and I know it was a low turnover game and we battled them on the boards. We have nothing but respect for them and nothing but love for the girls in our locker room."
South Plains' Keke Hunter recorded her 22nd double-double of the season, dropping in 17 points and snagged 13 boards over 32 minutes. Hunter finished 7 of 16 from the field and was 3 of 5 from the free throw line. Sophomore Gabbie Green capped her career in Levelland with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists, knocking down 6 of 15 shots from the floor in 30 minutes of action.
"That was a fun game for all of us, and we were all prepared," Green said. "That was the best game from an execution standpoint that we have played all year. Like coach said, Gulf Coast is a really good team, and I think we were prepared and just came up a little short."
Freshman Sarah Shematsi dropped in 11 points and grabbed five rebounds fro the Lady Texans, while Chantel Govan chipped in seven and Oceane Robin finished with six points and two boards. South Plains shot 36.6 percent from the field and received 16 points from the bench against the Lady Commodores.
Alexus Dye led Gulf Coast with 23 points and 13 rebounds, sinking 9 of 18 attempts from the hardwood and was 5 of 6 from the charity stripe. Brittany Davis tallied 19 points and seven boards as the Lady Commodores shot a 36.4 percent clip from the field and were 9 of 23 from the perimeter.
"Basketball is a game of the fewest mistakes, and when you're in a game like this with two really good teams, it can come down to one possession," Petree said. "That's one missed block out, one forced pass, one late rotation on defense, and there is no such thing as a game-winning play at the end. And, again, nothing but respect for the players in our locker room, and they have absolutely nothing to hang their head on."