WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Lady Wranglers want to start new win streak
Feb 25, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Odessa College women's basketball team had won six consecutive Western Junior College Athletic Conference games and climbed to the top of the standings going into last Thursday's meeting against South Plains College in Levelland.
After the first 20 minutes of action, it looked as though the Lady Wranglers (20-6 overall, 10-3 WJCAC) would make it seven in a row and maintain their share of the conference lead with rival Midland College.
But South Plains overturned a nine-point halftime deficit for a 55-46, outscoring the Lady Wranglers 34-16 in the second half.
"Honestly I think we beat ourselves, that's the only way I can sum that whole game up," said OC sophomore guard Angenay Williams, who leads the conference in scoring. "Our defense wasn't in the right place, offense wasn't in the right place. I don't know what was going through everybody's head, it just wasn't there."
It was the Lady Wranglers' first loss since Jan. 24, also against South Plains, and derailed what they had been striving for all season.
Odessa College tries to bounce back at 5:45 p.m. today when its plays host to New Mexico Junior College (19-5, 9-3) in the OC Sports Center in its regular-season finale.
"It was a really tough loss for our team," OC head coach Ara Baten said. "It kind of takes us out of position to have a chance to win a conference championship. So I think we have to get our focus back to playing good basketball, send our sophomores out the right way for their last home game and get ready for the tournament."
The Lady Wranglers already have qualified as one of four WJCAC teams to advance to the NJCAA Region V Tournament, which runs March 6-9 at Lubbock Christian University's Rip Griffin Center.
Putting Thursday's loss in the past, and not looking ahead to the regional tournament will be Baten's marching orders to his squad today against NMJC.
"It's definitely a bummer to come real close to a conference championship and have it go this way," Williams said. "But I hope it serves as a motivation factor for us. Coach is going to do what he does, and that's get us focused on (today's) game and I think he does a real good job of that. He's a great leader, we just have to follow him and move on."
Odessa College topped the Lady Thunderbirds 52-50 Jan. 28 in Hobbs, N.M., which sparked its six-game run.
Baten believes the Lady Wranglers have the potential to repeat those results tonight and regain their confidence heading into the regional tournament.
OC freshman guard Kiera Waters said the Lady Wranglers are ready to do that.
"I think this is a confident team," Waters said. "We know how we can play and we believe in our abilities. We play well as a team, we move the ball and we get defensive stops, if we can get back to that, we'll be fine."
--Follow Mike Whitson on Twitter at @OAWhitson
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