LEVELLAND, Texas—The No. 7 South Plains College Lady Texans rode Yanina Inkina's 16-point performance to a 68-30 rout of Otero College to improve to 13-1 on Tuesday night at the Texan Dome.
Tuesday's win closes out a spectacular first half of the season for the Lady Texans as they picked up their 13th consecutive victory dating back to Nov. 4. The newly released NJCAA rankings were announced at roughly 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday, as the Lady Texans moved up from No. 9 to No. 7 in the country.
Jasauen Beard tallied a double-double for the Lady Texans, finishing the contest with 10 points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes of action. Felicia Jackson found her stroke late in the second half and finished the contest with 13 points and was 4-of-6 from the 3-point line.
"Our defense tonight played really well," Beard said. "I think the reason we have won the majority of our games was not because of our offense, but because of our defense and the way we play. We kept them at 30 tonight, and our defense has been phenomenal this season."
South Plains went on a 15-0 run to begin the contest which consisted of a trio of 3s from Inkina and was eventually capped off by a layup from Beard with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter. Nia Mims hit a 3 while being fouled and converted the and-one to give South Plains a 21-5 advantage with under three minutes remaining in the first.
"We prepared very well for today's game, Inkina said. "We were trying to work hard and held them to just 30 points. Our defense did a really good job and we were just trying to find the best positions with our shots. We go to Arizona next, and we want to keep winning because we know how important it is to us."
The Lady Texans would extend their lead to 16 when Taylor Holley hit a trey from the right wing with 7:31 left in the second quarter. Inkina found the bucket from long distance once again as the 6-foot-2 sophomore from Belarus hit a 3-pointer with 5:43 remaining before the break to extend the lead to 31-13. South Plains would eventually take a 36-13 lead into the half.
The final 20 minutes of action looked profoundly similar to the first as the Lady Texans would go on a 6-1 run to begin the third quarter and push their lead to 42-14 with under five minutes remaining in the third.
Holley and Beard would hit consecutive 3s early in the fourth quarter, part of a 9-3 run that extended the lead to 53-24 with under seven minutes left in regulation. Jackson hit a trio of 3s late in the contest to put away the Lady Rattlers and send the Lady Texans into the Christmas break on a 13 game win streak along with a top 10 national ranking.
"I was really frustrated after that first game, but I knew our team had a chance to do some special things," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "We've continued to grow and work hard and find ways to get better each game. I'm very pleased with us in that regard. To be ranked No. 7 in the country is really cool, but we have a tough road ahead as our conference is one of the toughest in the country top to bottom."
The Lady Texans will now shift their focus to the Bill Culver Memorial Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona following the Christmas break. South Plains is set to tipoff against Phoenix College at 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 28. The complete schedule can be found at spctexans.com. All games in Arizona will be streamed live on the spctexans.com website, which can be found by using the 'Watch Games' tab at the top of the page.