LUBBOCK — The South Plains College women's basketball team secured their spot in the Elite Eight of the NJCAA Women's Basketball National Tournament in dominating fashion Wednesday as the fourth-seeded Lady Texans topped No. 13 Georgia Highlands 65-49 at the Rip Griffin Center.
South Plains will match up with No. 5 Northwest Florida State at 5 p.m. on Thursday in the quarterfinal round. The contest will stream live at spctexans.com via the NJCAA Network.
"Georgia Highlands presents a lot of problems, and they are very active defensively," South Plains head coach Ara Baten said. "It was hard to get continuity offensively, but I thought defensively we played well and kept the ball in front of us for the most part and rebounded well."
The Lady Texans were locked in on the offensive end to begin the contest, shooting 51.6 percent in the front half as they took a 33-24 lead into the break. SPC would use a 14-4 run to close out the first half capped by a 3 from the right corner from sophomore Shalya Moseberry, who finished with 16 points and was 5 of 6 from distance over 27 minutes.
"When we were struggling offensively, we hit some really big shots," Baten said. "I'm really happy with our kids, and we weren't perfect today, but the kids played hard and they played through their bad minutes. We defended and rebounded, and if do that hopefully we can give ourselves a chance in the next one."
South Plains would build its lead to 18, 47-29 on a pair of free throws from sophomore Viktoria Ivanova, who netted a game-high 17 points, at the 2:36 mark of the third quarter. SPC would continue to find success on the offensive coming out of the break, shooting 50 percent from the floor in the third quarter while holding Georgia Highlands to just seven points in the quarter.
SPC would continue to pour in on down the stretch as Moseberry connected from outside one more time with 4:36 to play to give South Plains a 58-41 advantage. The Lady Texans would close out the game shooting 63.8 percent in the final stint, while holding the Lady Chargers to a season-low point total and their worst offensive shooting performance this season, shooting just 23.5 percent from the field.
"My shots haven't been falling lately, but my teammates have kept their trust in me," Moseberry said. "When they trust me with the basketball I gain confidence, and everyone played their part and stepped up when we needed them to. Defensively, we had to make sure to stay in front, and we tried to limit our fouls and play smart."
Freshman Debora Reis finished with six points and a game-high 16 rebounds for South Plains while Jordan Brown netted eight points, eight boards, and four assists. Shooting 54.5 (24-44) percent from the floor and 47.1 (8-17) percent from distance, SPC dominated the glass, outrebounding Georgia Highlands 44-28 and totaled 24 points inside the paint.