The 10th ranked New Mexico Junior College women's basketball team closed out the first day of the NJCAA Region V Tournament at Abilene Christian College Wednesday with an 81-59 win over Weatherford College.
The Lady T-Birds went into the tournament as the No. 2 seed from the Western Junior College Athletic Conference while Weatherford entered play as the NTJCAC No. 3 seed.
With the win, NMJC advances to the semifinals where it will play WJCAC Midland College, which knocked off the NTJCAC No. 1 seed, and 25th ranked, Hill College earlier on Wednesday. Midland is ranked No. 24 in the NJCAA.
"It will be a big rematch from last Thursday's game," NMJC coach Drew Sanders said. "It is a big rival."
The Lady T-Birds built up a small lead in the first quarter, outscoring Weatherford 20-13. During the second quarter though, while NMJC did outscore Weatherford again, the Lady Coyotes managed to hang with the Lady T-Birds.
At the break, NMJC led Weatherford by nine, 40-31.
"It was started a pretty well contested throughout the first half," Sanders said. "We were able to gain some distance in the third quarter and we kind of just finished the game off in the fourth quarter."
The Lady T-Birds started to pull away in the second half. NMJC outscored Weatherford 23-12 in the third quarter, giving the Lady T-Birds a 20-point lead, 63-43, heading into the final quarter.
During the fourth quarter, Weatherford did its best to keep pace with NMJC and nearly matched the Lady T-Birds in scoring. NMJC poured in another 18 points over the final 10 minutes of play while Weatherford added 16 to its score.
New Mexico Junior College and Midland College closed out the regular season against each other late last month. NMJC won the game, barely, beating the Lady Chaparrals 64-63. One month prior, NMJC and Midland met in Hobbs where the Lady T-Birds destroyed the Lady Chaparrals, winning 99-59.