LEVELLAND — Leave no doubt.
Looking to secure the program's first outright conference crown since 2013, the No. 3 South Plains College women's basketball team ran away from No. 16 Odessa College in the second half of Thursday night's conference showdown to down the Lady Wranglers 72-52 at the Texan Dome.
The Lady Texans close out the regular season with a 29-1 mark including a 13-1 record in league play, earning the top seed out of the west to the NJCAA Region V Tournament March 4-7 in Abilene. South Plains will make their postseason debut on Thursday, March 5 at 1 p.m. against Weatherford College at Abilene Christian University.
"Odessa is such a good time, but in the second half we were playing with the mentality of not to lose, but to go out and win a conference championship," South Plains head coach Cayla Petree said. "I think this is one of the toughest conferences in the country, and they wanted it and didn't let anything get in their way."
South Plains shot a blistering 50 percent from the floor including a 57.6 percent mark from the field in the back half after carrying a 28-19 lead in the locker room at the midway point. The Lady Texans would continue to have their way on the offensive end in the second half as they would go on to lead by as much as 21 thanks to a 56 percent shooting clip from distance in the final stint.
"This was a phenomenal game and when it got close we found a way to make plays and keep going," Petree said. "You cannot win with losers, and we have nothing but winners in our locker room. They win every day – in the classroom, they win as people and I'm so proud to be their coach. These sophomores went undefeated at home in two years and it's been a great ride."
Sophomore Sarah Shematsi led South Plains on the offensive end as the LSU signee netted 17 points and nine boards, knocking down 7 of 17 shots from the field and was 3-for-6 from the 3-point line over 33 minutes. Johanna Teder went off for 16 points, 13 coming in the final 20 minutes as the 5-foot-7 freshman was 6 of 8 from the floor and 4 of 5 from the perimeter over 37 minutes.
"Winning this championship is amazing, and we had a chance to close it out tonight and we were able to do that," Teder said. "We had a timeout and coach Petree told us we had to make plays, and I got help from my teammates and tried to execute the plays coach called and help my team. I did what she said and took my shots and started feeling confident."
Playing in her final game at the Texan Dome, sophomore Caroline Germond was her usual self, chipping in 16 points on 8 of 12 shooting while also handing out three assists over 39 minutes. Freshman Ka'Lia Smith finished with 10 points and five rebounds while sophomore Asia McCoy had eight points and a pair of boards. The Lady Texans forced Odessa into a season-high 26 turnovers resulting in 19 points on the offensive end and tallied 42 points inside the paint.
"Big time players make big time plays in big time moments, and when things got tight Johana made some big buckets and kept attacking," Petree said. "Caroline was able to make plays the entire game and create for the rest of the team, and this was a great team effort and a great win for our program.