JASON FARMER/NEWS-SUN Alexes Bryant works her way toward the hoop Saturday before taking a shot for the Lady Thunderbirds in the Region V Tournament championship game against Odessa College. Bryant had 18 points in NMJC's loss.
WOLFFORTH, Texas – For the second time this season, the New Mexico Junior College women's basketball team has lost to Odessa College. After having its perfect season ruined by the Lady Wranglers in Odessa, the Lady Thunderbirds most recent loss came Saturday in the Region V Tournament championship game. NMJC fell 74-53.
"Odessa played great," NMJC coach Drew Sanders said. "They shot the ball really well and we definitely had a case of the nerves. You could tell. We didn't play with near the confidence and consistency that we did (Friday) night."
The Lady T-Birds (30-3) can blame their loss on any number of things, from missed free throws to injured players to lack of defense, to poor shooting. Other than the free throws, Sanders didn't want to use any excuses in his team's loss.
"The missed free throws were big," Sanders said. "We have played games without Ni'Asia (McIntosh) and if you start using that as an excuse, we won't win any more ball games. We have just got to go play, but we definitely have had more trouble scoring."
Even with the loss, the Lady T-Birds should have no trouble getting on of the eight at large bids into the NJCAA National Championship Tournament.
"The seeding meeting is Monday morning at 10 o'clock," Sanders said. "Losing in this tournament is going to hurt our seed. We probably wont get a bye and will probably have to play one of the fifth games. But, the end result can still be the same. We just have to go win five games."
After winning the opening tip and recording the game's first bucket, nothing else went right for the Lady T-Birds. Odessa (22-10) quickly responded with a pair of treys and the Lady T-Birds trailed the rest of the game.
Odessa hit four treys in the first quarter, putting the Lady T-Birds in a 23-14 hole. While NMJC did keep the scoring closer in the second quarter, it wasn't enough as it trailed by 11 points, 36-25, at the break.
The halftime score could have been closer, but the Lady T-Birds were miserable at the charity stripe. NMJC sank just six of its 16 first half free throws. For the night, NMJC sank just 17 of its 33 free throw attempts.
Things didn't get any prettier in the second half. By the end of the third quarter, NMJC trailed by 20 points, 61-41.
The Lady T-Birds showed they still had some fight in them in the fourth quarter as they opened the final 10 minutes of play with a 7-0 run. With 7:58 left to play, NMJC had cut its deficit to 61-48. Unfortunately for NMJC, when its run came to an end, it was on another Odessa College three-pointer.
Odessa sank 10 treys in the game.
By the time there was 3:15 left in the game, NMJC was back down by 22, 74-52.
Alexes Bryant led all scorers with 18 points. Danielle Craft chipped in 15 off the bench while Jurnee President posted 12. Only three other Lady T-Birds scored, but it wasn't much as Thamires Andrade, Tatiana Wright, and Keonna Watson combined for eight points.
"When you lose a scorer like Ni'Asia (McIntosh) and you lose a scorer like Ashley Reid, you can only go to the well so many times," the Lady T-Birds' coach said. "Our season is not over and this group of kids, they will rally and they will make a run at the nationals."