LEVELLAND—Despite a valiant second half comeback, the seventh-ranked South Plains College Lady Texans were unable to overcome a 14-point halftime deficit and fell to the second-ranked Odessa College Lady Wranglers 79-72 on Monday night at the Texan Dome.
"We knew they were a really good basketball team that shot the 3-pointer very well," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "We knew we had to be there on the catch, and in the first half we just simply weren't. They made six 3s the first half and shot 50 percent for the game. Four of those 3s in the first half are what we call 'cushion 3s.' They were contested, but there was just too much gap, and we just can't win like that."
Yanina Inkina led the Lady Texans in scoring with 19 points in 33 minutes of action. Elizabeth Cera finished the contest with 18 points, all of which came in the final 20 minutes. Jasauen Beard bucketed 16 points and six boards for South Plains (17-2, 2-1), while Dabrasia Baty finished with six points and five assists.
Mariah McCully led the Lady Wranglers(14-0, 3-0) with 24 points and 7 boards in 31 minutes, while Chinna Fair chipped in 19 points over 35 minutes.
It was a tale of two halves as the Lady Texans went into the break at the half trailing 42-28. Odessa shot 46 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes. South Plains struggled to find its rhythm early on as they shot just 38 percent from the floor and went 0-for-7 from the 3-point line in the first half.
Whatever coach Petree said to her team in the locker room at the break seemed to resonate with her squad as the Lady Texans outscored the Lady Wranglers 22-11 in the third quarter.
Cera converted at the bucket with 2:10 left in the third to bring South Plains within seven, 53-46. Baty weaved her way through traffic and trimmed Odessa's lead to just five at the 1:47 mark of the third quarter. An eight-foot jumper from Inkina with seven seconds remaining in the third brought the Lady Texans within three points, 53-50.
"I was happy with the resolve that our team showed in the second half," Petree said. "We kind of started switching up our defenses a little bit and made a littlie run and cut it to three. I was happy with the toughness we showed down the stretch. We have to be able to put together a full 40 minutes against good teams."
Cera brought the Lady Texans within just two points following a reverse layup with 7:46 remaining, but consecutive baskets from McCully and Fair extended Odessa's lead back to six, one they would not relinquish.
The Lady Texans will look to rebound when they travel to Hobbs, NM on Thursday for a matchup with the No. 8 New Mexico Junior College Lady Thunderbirds. Tipoff is set for 5:45 p.m. MST and can be watched live at spctexans.com