Article Written by: NEWS-SUN Staff Reports
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The seventh-ranked New Mexico Junior College women's basketball team knew Thurdsay's conference game wasn't going to be easy as it was facing No. 5 South Plains College at Castewr Activity Center.
The contest definitely lived up to expecations and more as both teams battled back and forth. The Lady Thujnderbirds, however, oveercame a sluggish third quarter to defeat the Lady Texns, 70-61.
"It's really big because you have to take care of home court," NMJC women's basketball coach Drew Sanders said of getting the win. "As good as these teams are, it's hard to win on the road. You have to make sure you take care of home. Odess beating us at home, that puts us behind the eigth ball a little bit. We have to steal some down the stretch."
The Lady Thunderbirds (13-4 overall, 2-1 conference) appeared to be in the driver seat late in the fourth quarter as they led 58-46 with 7:47 remaining. South Plains had other plans though as it used a 6-0 run to cut its deficit to 58-52. That was as close as the Lady Texas (17-3, 2-2) would get though as NMJC slowly pulled way down the stretch to get the win.
"We had a drought in the third quarter. I was worried because you could see a lack of energy, we didn't play witht he same energy that we played with in the first half," Sanders said. "We're starting to show some mental toughness. We kind of came back from that and got it going. I felt like we got a lot of good play in the second half out of Alarie Mayze and Laurynn McGowen. Both came in and gave us downhill buckets and took some pressure off the post."
Mayze led the Lady T-Birds with a game-high 19 points and grabbed nine rebound, while Daiane Machado posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards. Ekaterina Zhibareva Chipped in 13 pointsand McGowen scored 11.
Up next for NMJC is a 5:45pm contest Monday at Clarendon College.