ODESSA—In a contest between two of the countries' top women's basketball programs, the No. 7 South Plains College Lady Texans fell to the No. 3 Odessa College Lady Wranglers 53-51 on Thursday night.
After South Plains' Joneva Huey hit the second of a pair of three throws to put the Lady Texans up 51-50, the Lady Wranglers pushed the ball to the top of the key, ending with a long 3-pointer from Mariah McCully with 2.9 seconds remaining.
South Plains pushed the ball across midcourt as Jasauen Beard put up a desperation 3 as time expired. It wouldn't be enough as the Lady Wranglers were able to escape with a two-point win.
"We talk about each game being a game of possessions and how each one is so important," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "The first half, I thought we came out extremely flat and took multiple plays off. We dig ourselves into these holes and have to fight back, and then we're in the locker room heartbroken because we lost on a last second 3. No, we didn't lose on a last second 3, we lost on the 17 plays in the first half we took off."
Brittany Smith led the Lady Texan's offensive attack as the second-year sophomore scored 15 points and hauled in 12 boards. Yanina Inkina went 5-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-3 from the perimeter as the sophomore from Belarus finished the contest with 15 points and five boards.
"We were able to come back from a few points down and take the lead, but in the end they made a 3," Inkina said. "It's always hard to lose, but in some ways we did a good job. They made a last second shot, and we just need to think about it and move forward."
China Fair led all scorers in the contest with 16 points and 10 rebounds. McCully finished with 11 points and eight boards for the Lady Wranglers, while Moa Lundqvist totaled 10 points and seven boards. The Lady Texans outscored Odessa 26-20 inside the paint and chipped in nine points off nine Odessa' turnovers.
The Lady Texans will have a quick turnaround come Monday night when they play host to the No. 4 New Mexico Junior College Lady Thunderbirds on Ameriprise Financial VIP Night at the Dome. Tipoff is slated for 5:45 p.m. and can be watched live at spctexans.com.