Dec. 2—A late surge wasn't enough as the Odessa College women's basketball team fell 85-81 against New Mexico Junior College Wednesday at the OC Sports Center in overtime.
Odessa College head coach Franqua Bedell said his team is still going through the process of learning how to play with an up-tempo pace.
"The way we want to play is very quick and they are getting used to it," Bedell said. "It's something that they're trying to figure out and understand."
Bedell added that it's a slow process and once his players get it, they will look like a very good basketball team.
The Lady Wranglers had a fast start to their first Western Junior College Athletic Conference game of the 2021-2022 season, taking a 6-0 lead in the first quarter's opening minutes with quick baskets from Carlota Alfaro Marti, Lala Niankan and Jessie Dai.
Niankan would lead all scorers with 35 points.
Dai finished with 14, Alfaro Marti 11 and Nahawa Diarra Berthe had 10 in the loss.
Odessa College held the advantage throughout the quarter, but the Lady Thunderbirds found ways to keep things close.
New Mexico Junior College mainly made things difficult for the Lady Wranglers by closing open lanes in the paint and forcing them to look for contested 3-point attempts.
The home team was able to capitalize on at least two of its long distance shots in the first period, including a 3-pointer from Marti to put Odessa College up 14-11.
A layup from Sandra Magolico helped New Mexico Junior College close the gap and head into the second quarter down by one point.
The Lady Thunderbirds held the Lady Wranglers to 3-of-16 shooting from the field in the second quarter and outscored them 15-12.
Niankan was Odessa College's leading scorer with 13 points at the end of the first half, while New Mexico Junior College evenly distributed its scoring with six players recording four or more points.
Marti helped the Lady Wranglers regain the lead with a 3-pointer from the right corner to renew the action after halftime.
Both teams traded the advantage four times until a 6-0 scoring run gave the Lady Thunderbirds a 40-34 lead, the largest deficit Odessa College faced up to that point in the game.
New Mexico Junior College would extend its advantage throughout the third period, building up to a 13-point cushion before the home team started finding a momentum boost late.
The fourth quarter push saw the sides end regulation tied at 72-72.
New Mexico Junior College outscored the Lady Wranglers 13-9 in the overtime period to seal the victory and give the Lady Wranglers a losing start to their conference slate.
Bedell said playing against a team like the Lady Thunderbirds showed his players that every game in conference play will be a challenge.
Executing the little things like free throws and layups will be important as the season progresses.
"It's right there in their hands, but they just have to finish the little stuff," Bedell said. "We've got to make big shots when big time plays are needed."
The Lady Wranglers will continue conference play against Clarendon College at 2 p.m. Saturday in Clarendon.
New Mexico JC 85,
Odessa College 81 (OT)
NEW MEXICO JC (11-1 overall, 1-0 WJCAC)
Precious Cowan 9-21 4-7 22, Mariama Snow 6-11 5-8 17, Cabria Lewis 5-11 2-2 15, Danna Grenald 3-11 6-7 12, Bianca Juzzo 4-8 0-0 8, Delmit Zita 3-9 0-0 6, Sandra Magolico 2-3 0-0 4, Madina Camara 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 32-75 18-26 85.
ODESSA COLLEGE (2-5, 0-1)
Lala Niankan 11-21 12-13 35, Jessi Dai 5-10 0-2 14, Carlota Alfaro Marti 4-11 0-0 11, Nahawa Diarra Berthe 5-9 0-0 10, Taya Davis 1-6 4-5 6, Marchelle Bowden 1-3 0-0 3, Chloe Dallas 1-2 0-2 2, Stephanie Hubard 0-0 0-0 0, Drea Betts 0-3 0-0 0, Kheeauna Lide 0-0 0-0 0, Valeria Barrett 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-67 16-22 81.
New Mexico JC....... 13.. 15 19 25 13 — 85
Odessa College...... 14.. 12 16 30 9 — 81
3-Point goals — New Mexico JC 3-11 (Zita 0-1, Cowan 0-3, Juzzo 0-1, Lewis 3-6), Odessa College 9-22 (Alfaro Marti 3-6, Dai 4-5, Diarra Berthe 0-1, Niankan 1-6, Betts 0-1, Davis 0-1, Bowden 1-2). Total fouls — New Mexico JC 18, Odessa College 22. Fouled out — New Mexico JC (Grenald). Technical fouls — None. Rebounds — New Mexico JC 46 (Grenald 16), Odessa College 37 (Diarra Berthe 10). Assists — New Mexico JC 6 (Cowan 2, Zita 2), Odessa College 15 (Diarra Berthe 5).