LEVELLAND — The South Plains College women's basketball team fell to the fourth-ranked New Mexico Junior College Lady Thunderbirds 61-48 Thursday night at the Texan Dome.
Trailing 17-11 after 10 minutes, South Plains strung together an 11-3 run to begin the second quarter capped by a 3 from freshman Mikayla Kuehne to put the Lady Texans up 22-20. South Plains' Gabbie Green would extend the lead to five with a trey from the top of the key with 4:21 left in the first half.
New Mexico's Ni'Asia McIntosh chipped in a jumper with 11 seconds remaining before the break as South Plains led 25-24 after two quarters. Green and Kuehne combined for 18 points in the first 20 minutes as the Lady Texans shot 50 percent from 3 while forcing New Mexico to shoot just 28 percent from the floor and 14 percent from 3 at the midway point.
"I thought despite having 13 turnovers in the first half, we came out and played efficient and played with energy," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "I thought we shot the ball well in the first half and were effective on the defensive end, and our depth just kind of caught up to us in the second half."
Following a 3 from Kuehne to begin the third, New Mexico would utilize a 19-7 run over the next nine minutes to retake the lead. New Mexico's Alexes Bryant found the net on consecutive trips down the floor to put New Mexico back on top 43-35 with under a minute left in the third.
The Lady Thunderbirds would go on to lead by as much as 17 in the final quarter as New Mexico (25-1, 9-1) shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half. McIntosh led all scorers in the contest with 24 points and 12 rebounds, knocking down 11 of 16 attempts from the field over 29 minutes.
Bryant netted 21 points to go along with nine boards and five blocked shots, finishing the contest 10 of 21 from the floor. Green led the Lady Texans (15-12, 2-9) with 20 points and dished out a team-high four assists in 35 minutes of action. Kuehne tallied 11 points and seven rebounds, while Maddie Dorris chipped in seven and Christina Baker netted six points.
"I thought we had good rotations and did a good job of getting out and contesting the 3 and not letting them have wide open shots," Petree said. "Our team is getting valuable minutes and they can't do anything but grow, and we just have to keep getting better each day."
South Plains will look to get back in the win column on Monday when they take on Western Texas College in Snyder, with tip set for 5:45 p.m.