No. 5 Lady Texans soar past Howard 57-41 Tuesday, advance to conference tournament championship

No. 5 Lady Texans soar past Howard 57-41 Tuesday, advance to conference tournament championship

LUBBOCK — The fifth-ranked South Plains College women's basketball team will play for the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Tournament championship after defeating Howard College 57-41 in the semi-final round on Tuesday at the Rip Griffin Center.

South Plains will take on the winner of Midland College and Western Texas at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Fans are welcome to attend, and the game will also stream live at

"I think for the most part we were really good defensively," South Plains head coach Ara Baten said. "I thought we had a couple of breakdowns in the first half but didn't have many in the second half. I thought every shot they took we were there, so I'm really proud of the way we defended. We rebounded the ball better in the second half, and our offense is going to come and go. We turned it over a few times early on and were able to clean it up, and overall I thought we played well."

Freshman Debora Reis recorded her 15th double-double of the season, totaling 14 points and 13 rebounds, connecting on 7 of 19 shots from the floor over 34 minutes. South Plains opened the contest 6 of 11 from the field, shooting 54.5 percent in the first 10 minutes before eventually taking a 26-25 lead in the break.

The Lady Texans would open the second half with an 11-2 run, pushing their lead to 37-27 midway through the third quarter. South Plains would hold the Lady Hawks to just four points in the third as they carried a commanding 41-29 lead in the final stint. South Plains shot 43 percent in the final 10 minutes, knocking down a trio of 3s and forced Howard to shoot just 37 percent in the contest and 22.7 percent from distance.

"We didn't make any adjustments in the second half, and our kids played well defensively," Baten said. "They took on the challenge individually and did their job. They helped each other out defensively and I thought they did a good job today."

SPC controlled the interior, netting 32 points inside the paint, and tallied 16 points off 16 turnovers from the Lady Hawks. The Lady Texans recorded 12 points on second-chance opportunities, outrebounding Howard 42-35. Sophomore guard Jordan Brown poured in 14 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists, while Grace Hunter dropped in 11 points, bucketing 5 of 11 shots over 34 minutes.

 "Howard did a good job mixing up their defense and switching to zone," Baten said. "I thought our movement was better in the second half and, and it's just one of those things that goes up and down. Whoever we play tomorrow is going to be a tough game, and we're going to have to play well if we are going to have a chance to win."