• Lady T-Birds, ranked No. 2 nationally, win 21st in a row
January 23, 2018
JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN Thamires Andrade takes to the air before attempting a shot for the Lady T-Birds Monday night at Caster Activity Center. NMJC beat Frank Phillips College 71-48.
Caster Activity Center hosted a premier match up of Western Junior College Athletic Conference teams Monday night as No. 2 New Mexico Junior College hosted No. 11 Frank Phillips College. However, the game was anything but as NMJC dominated Frank Phillips as the Lady Thunderbirds beat the Lady Plainsmen 71-48.
"Sometimes teams go on the road and it is hard for them to get to play. I think that kind of happened to Frank," NMJC coach Drew Sanders said. "I think they were flat and that is hard to imagine them being flat, but sometimes you practice too much and emphasize it too much and the kids get emotional and adrenaline drops out. You could see more of their true team in the second half than the first half. You could see their aggressiveness pick up in the second half."
The win was the 21st straight for NMJC. Frank Phillips College, which entered play 15-1, had its 14 game winning streak snapped. Even with the win streak, Sanders wants his team to focus on just one game at a time.
"The win streak is not as important as playing well," Sanders said. "And trying to get ready for the next game and the next opponent and not overlooking anyone."
Four different players scored in double figures for NMJC. Alexes Bryant had a game-high 25 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. Danielle Craft had 15 points off the bench while Tatiana Wright and Ni'Asia McIntosh each finished with 11 points. McIntosh also had 10 rebounds to finish the night with another double-double.
The Lady T-Birds opened up a bit slow, coughing up the ball on turnovers on each of their first four possessions, putting the Lady T-Birds down 4-0. NMJC knotted the game up a 4-4, but were quickly behind again on a trey from the Lady Plainsmen. With 4:16 left in the opening quarter, the Lady T-Birds trailed 9-7.
New Mexico Junior College wouldn't take its first lead of the game until 3:53 was left in the first, and once NMJC went out in front, the Lady T-Birds never looked back.
The Lady T-Birds closed out the first quarter on a 12-0 run, putting NMJC up 21-10.
New Mexico Junior College continued to dominate in the second quarter. The Lady T-Birds pushed their run to 17-0 before Frank Phillips finally scored with 8:11 left in the second. The Lady Plainsmen wouldn't score again until 3:28 was left in the second quarter. NMJC outscored Frank Phillips 20-6 in the second quarter, taking a 41-16 lead at the break.
New Mexico Junior College outscored Frank Phillips 32-6 over the final 13:53 of the first half.
After sputtering through the first half, Frank Phillips appeared more like the No. 11 team in the nation in the second half. The Lady Plainsmen outscored the Lady T-Birds 17-16 in the third quarter and 15-14 in the fourth quarter.
"We played a quarter and a half of good basketball. Then we came out in the third quarter and we were ho hum," Sanders said. "Of course, what you would like to see is your kids come out and play at a high level for another five or six minutes then bring your bench in to finish it off. You could see that (Frank Phillips) was still trying to get back into the game, because he left his starters in."
With the win, NMJC stands alone atop the WJCAC standings at 5-0 while Frank Phillips falls to 4-1 in WJCAC play and 15-2 on the season. Overall, NMJC improves to 21-0 on the season. Next up for the Lady T-Birds is a pair of road games. NMJC will play at Odessa College (13-7, 1-4 WJCAC) on Thursday before heading to Midland College (10-8, 3-2 WJCAC) on Monday, Jan. 29.
"It is going to be a really, really tough matchup and a tough game," Sanders said. "They always come after us hard and it is a big, big game for them because it's at their home and for them to keep track in the conference race, they need the win."
JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN Amanda Maqueia goes up for a shot up for NMJC against Frank Phillips College Monday.