LEVELLAND — Mikayla Kuehne scored 17 points and La'Praisjah Johnson chipped in 16 as the No.16-ranked South Plains College women's basketball team trounced Garden City 60-35 in their home opener on Tuesday at the Texan Dome.
South Plains (2-1) shot 44 percent from the field and held the Lady Broncbusters to an abysmal 24 percent shooting mark in the contest. The Lady Texans controlled the boards outrebounding their counterpart 40-27 while also forcing 18 turnovers on the defensive end.
South Plains jumped out to a commanding 18-4 lead after one quarter thanks to a 9-0 run to begin the game that was capped off by a Johnson jumper from 12-feet with 5:18 left in the first quarter. Johnson ended the first ten minutes and extended the Lady Texans' lead to 14 with a conversion at the rim with 23 ticks left.
"We brought a lot of energy in the first half and tried to push our pace and do what we needed to do to get off to a good start," Johnson said. "We have the mindset that we have a target on our back each game, and that in some ways gives us a fire to want to play well. The atmosphere was great tonight, and we have another tough game tomorrow and we need to feed off this energy and bring it with us tomorrow."
South Plains continued to find success with the rock in the second quarter as they pushed their lead to as much as 21 on a 3-ball from Kuehne with 43 seconds left before the half. The Lady Texans shot 40 percent from the floor in the front half and held Garden City (2-1) to a 5-for-23 mark from the field in the first 20 minutes.
"We started off great tonight and I think our trip to Arizona really helped us click as a team," Kuehne said. "Our main focus is to try and come out and get better as a team every game. Coach always preaches to us that if we have nothing left to give, we always have energy and effort if nothing else. We need to stay together and continue to develop as a team."
South Plains shot 50 percent from the floor in the back half and held Garden City to an 8-for-30 mark in the final two quarters. Chelsea Hunter recorded five points and 11 boards in 29 minutes and McKenzie Taylor finished with eight points and two rebounds.
Daz'Monique Johnson led Garden City with 11 points and five rebounds over 29 minutes, while Talia Roberts finished with six points and four boards.
"I think we came out strong and put together a strong defensive effort," South Plains College head coach Cayla Petree said. "I felt like at times we were too up and down, and for us to get to where we want to be we really have to focus on playing for 40 minutes. We have a lot of respect for Garden City, and we need to focus on playing an entire game and get better. We're a good basketball team when we hit on all cylinders, and our biggest challenge is to put it together for an entire four quarters."
South Plains will look to push its win streak to three games on Wednesday when they host Coastal Bend College at 7 p.m. at the Texan Dome.