LEVELLAND—The South Plains College Lady Texans earned a No. 9 national seed on Monday to the NJCAA Women's Basketball National Tournament and will tip-off at noon on Monday, March 20 against Monroe College at the Rip Griffin Center on the Campus of Lubbock Christian University.
"It's March madness at any level, and this is a big deal for our girls," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "We talked about going to Lubbock all year long. It's 28 miles down the road and this is the position we wanted to put ourselves in. I think anything can happen and we're very optimistic and we know that at this point in the season that everybody is a threat and everybody can play."
South Plains enters the tournament with a 27-5 record and winners of 10 of their last 12. Yanina Inkina leads the Lady Texans offensively as the 6-foot-2 standout from Belarus is averaging 13.1 points per game with a team-high 54 percent shooting mark from the field. Sophomores Jasauen Beard and Elizabeth Cera are each averaging 13 points per game while Brittany Smith is averaging 10 points per game and leads the Lady Texans with a 4.1 assists per game average.
"This week I just want us to be very competitive and just work on us the first couple of days," Petree said. "Once we get a little more prepared for what Monroe does, start defending their actions and going over the personnel. They're the best girls on the planet, and they work so hard, and since day one they came in and bought in to what we're about. We have three goals: we want to win at a high level, we want them to graduate and we want to them to get division I scholarships. We have a day-to-day process that works, and they've really bought in."
The Lady Mustangs will enter Monday with a season record of 21-6 and winners of four of their last five. Monroe is led by sophomore Shania Johnson who is averaging 21.4 points per game. Cristina Soriano is second on the team with a 12.9 points per game average, while Camilla Kilinc is shooting 40 percent from the field on the year and averaging 10.7 points per contest.
"They have a history of a really good program and they're usually in the national tournament," Petree said. "I've always heard about them and have a lot of respect for their program and what they do. Hopefully, we're continuing to grow as a team and maybe the loss at the regional tournament will help us be better and realize we have to play for 40 minutes."
You can find the full national tournament bracket here: