LEVELLAND — Riding Asia McCoy's 21 point, 16 rebound performance, the second-ranked South Plains College women's basketball team opened conference play with a 73-41 dismantling of Howard College Wednesday evening at the Texan Dome.
South Plains improves to 11-0 on the year and 1-0 in league play, as they are set to return to the floor on Friday at 5:45 p.m. in a top 25 matchup with #15 Seward County at the Texan Dome. Following the contest, the Lady Texans square off with Western Texas College at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Dome, before closing out their final game before the Christmas break against Dodge City Community College Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. in Levelland.
"We were really glad to get everyone balanced minutes, and we had some people step up for us tonight on both ends," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "Asia McCoy had a career night and I thought we did a better job of not turning the ball over and sharing the basketball. Any time you have over half your baskets on assisted plays it means you're sharing the ball, and I'm happy to see that."
McCoy connected on 9 of 13 shots from the floor, snagging 10 boards on the defensive end as the Lady Texans outrebounded the Lady Hawks 46-26 on the glass. Ka'Lia Smith went off for 20 points and five rebounds as the 6-foot-1 freshman from Amarillo was 9-for-11 from the field for the Lady Texans. Caroline Germond chipped in 12 points, six steals, and four assists, netting 6 of 10 attempts from the floor over 28 minutes.
"Ka'Lia is a very special player and has a really good knack of moving without the basketball," Petree said. "With our guard play they are able to penetrate, and Ka'Lia does a great job of finding the gap, and she always seems to finish when she gets the opportunity. There are some things we can definitely continue to improve on, but overall any time we can win in our league it's a great night."
Leading 30-16 at the midway point, the Lady Texans couldn't miss in the back half, shooting a 63 percent clip from the field while forcing Howard to shoot just 30.8 percent in the second half and 25.9 percent for the game.
Trailing by 14 out of the break, Tye Perryman trimmed Howard's deficit to 38-18 with a layup with 9:10 to play in the third quarter. The Lady Texans answered as McCoy pushed the lead to 46-24 with just over three minutes left in the third as South Plains would take a 52-31 advantage into the final stint. Following a jumper from Perryman with 7:51 to play, South Plains utilized an 11-0 run capped by a layup off the glass from Smith with 3:31 remaining to put the Lady Texans up 65-33 in the closing minutes.
"We knew we had a big challenge coming into this week with three games in five days after a long road trip," Petree said. "A lot of it is mental toughness, and we're playing some really good teams and trying to take it one game at a time, and we have to take care of our bodies tonight and get back to work tomorrow."