JASON FARMER NEWS-SUN
February 26, 2019
NEWS-SUN PHOTO Thamires Andrade takes a shot for the Lady T-Birds during a home loss to Odessa College earlier this season. Andrade had 23 points Monday as NMJC beat Odessa 67-62.
The New Mexico Junior College women's basketball team secured no worse than a second place finish in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference Monday night with a 67-62 win over the Lady Wranglers in Odessa and Midland's 59-58 loss to Howard College.
Having already lost to Odessa at home, the No. 12 ranked Lady Thunderbirds needed to win on the road, and while they got the win, it wasn't easy. For three of the four quarters, one bucket separated the two teams. Odessa edged NMJC in the first and fourth quarters while the Lady T-Birds edged the Lady Wranglers in the second and used the third quarter to get the win.
"It was a hard-fought game that saw the lead change several times," NMJC coach Drew Sanders said. "We had a big third quarter and outscored them by seven points."
Odessa, ranked No. 19, led NMJC 18-16 after the first quarter, but NMJC turned the tables and tied the game at 28-28 heading into halftime. The Lady T-Birds took the lead in the third quarter by outscoring the Lady Wranglers 19-12.
"Odessa came out and took the early lead in the first quarter," Sanders said. "They came out and knocked down some shots early, but our kids battled back to tie it at halftime."
The Lady T-Birds went into the fourth quarter leading 47-40. Odessa outscored NMJC 22-20 over the final 10 minutes of play, but the Lady T-Birds were able to hang on for the win.
"In the fourth quarter, they made a really strong run and hit a bunch of threes," Sanders said. "We were able to hold off by hitting some clutch free throws down the stretch."
Three Lady T-Birds scored in double figures, two starters and one player off the bench. Thamires Andrade led NMJC with 23 points while Sydnee Wynn had 14 points and 13 rebounds to record a double-double. Eternati Willock, playing off the bench, also had a double-double, scoring 10 points and grabbing 10 boards.
With the win, NMJC improves to 23-4 on the season and 11-2 in WJCAC play. The Lady T-Birds will close out the regular season on Thursday when they travel to Midland for a 5:45 (CST) start against the Lady Chaparrals.
"We have one more conference game left in Midland on Thursday," the Lady T-Birds' coach said. "After that, we will head into regionals."
While the top four teams in the WJCAC, and those moving on to the Region V Tournament, have already been decided, seeding for the WJCAC is still up in the air. NMJC trails South Plains College (12-1) by one game in the conference standings.
The Lady T-Birds could still claim a share of the WJCAC title if South Plains losses in Odessa on Thursday and NMJC beats Midland. At the same time, Midland and Odessa are tied for the final two spots in the conference with an identical conference record of 9-4.
A win by the Lady Wranglers over South Plains coupled with a win by NMJC over Midland, would give the Lady Wranglers third place in the conference while the Lady Chaparrals
would finish fourth. Howard College (7-7) is in fifth place and has already been eliminated from contention.
NMJC @ Midland Thursday, 5:45 p.m.