ABILENE — Caroline Germond netted a season-high 24 points as the South Plains College women's basketball team outlasted Collin County 74-64 Saturday to capture the Region V title and punch their ticket to the NJCAA Women's Basketball National Tournament.
The Lady Texans will make their second consecutive appearance at the National Tournament which is slated for March 17-21 in Lubbock at the Rip Griffin Center on the campus of Lubbock Christian University. South Plains will compete in the 24 team tournament with the official bracket to be decided during the women's basketball selection show at 11:30 a.m. on Monday.
"I'm extremely proud of our team's effort, and Collin caused us some problems early with their smaller, faster lineup," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "Ka'Lia and Ruth had to be really unselfish and other people had to step up and do things they haven't been asked to do all year. It's just a credit to our depth as a team and we're really happy to get a win against a quality team and Collin deserves to be in the national tournament."
Leading 34-33 at the break, South Plains opened its lead to eight midway through the third quarter with sophomore Asia McCoy converting at the bucket to put the Lady Texans up 49-41. Sophomore Sarah Shematsi would push the lead to 54-41 with just under three minutes to play in the third with a jumper from 10 feet, capping a 9-0 run from South Plains.
Collin would get back within 10 at the 7:18 mark of the fourth quarter as Cadrina Nolen knocked down a jump shot to cut the deficit to 59-49. Leading 67-57 with just over three minutes to go, freshman Ka'Lia Smith put the Lady Texans back up 12, 69-57 with a layup off the glass. The Lady Cougars would answer back with a 5-0 run to get back within seven, 69-62 on a Shala Robinson free throw with 1:57 to go.
That would be as close as Collin would get in the final minutes as freshman Johanna Teder knocked down a pair of free throws with 31 ticks to go to put the Lady Texans back up 10, 74-64 to clinch the region title, the program's first under Petree.
"This sophomore class came in and trusted me and trusted South Plains College and we were going to do great things, and they've done everything they said they would do and it's been a total team effort and I love them to death."
Germond finished 10 of 14 from the floor to go along with five boards and four assists over 39 minutes. McCoy recorded 11 points and four rebounds while Teder and Smith each netted 10 points. South Plains shot a 51.8 percent clip from the field while holding the Lady Cougars to a 31.3 percent mark from the field.