WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Late collapse dooms Odessa College in loss to Howard College

The Odessa College Lady Wranglers suffered another frustrating loss Thursday, falling 55-54 to Howard College at the OC Sports Center as they fell even further back in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference women’s basketball race.

Howard College’s Cierra Morris made the first of two free throws with 18.4 seconds remaining to break a 54-54 tie, then stripped the ball from Odessa College’s Shannon Dozier with the Hawks taking possession on the resulting jump ball with one second to go.

The loss, which followed Monday’s 47-46 setback at Western Texas College, dropped the Lady Wranglers (13-6 overall, 1-3 conference) into a tie for sixth place in the WJCAC standings with Clarendon College.

“It puts our back against the wall,” Odessa College coach Ara Baten said. “We’re in a bad spot for conference standings.”

Amanda Soderqvist had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Lady Wranglers, but there were too many mistakes to overcome in a game that featured dramatic swings in momentum.

Odessa High graduate Ruthie Fox led Howard College (12-10, 2-4) with 14 points, while Corbyn Cunningham scored 12 points and Kaki Simpson added 11.

“It’s tough to win a game (on the road in conference),” Howard College coach Earl Diddle said. “It’s tough to bring the ball up the court.

“Coach Baten’s a great coach. He does a great job. The kids play well. We were really fortunate to win.”

Howard College built an early 12-3 lead before Odessa College could get anything going, but the Lady Wranglers chipped away to get within one midway through the first quarter and trailed 24-20 at the half. While the Lady Wranglers shot just 26.7 percent in the half (8 of 30), Baten said the real culprit was 14 turnovers.

“We were incredibly careless with the ball in the first half,” he said. “We just turned the ball over way too many times. We’re not patient enough on offense. We force shots. We force passes. We’re not getting the ball side-to-side. We’re not getting people making themselves available. They’re not moving into open areas. They’re standing too much.

“Our offensive execution is very poor.”

Odessa College heated up in the third quarter, starting with a 10-2 run, then reeling off 13 consecutive points to go up 43-30 when Chinna Fair, who scored 11 points, converted a three-point play. The Lady Wranglers outscored the Hawks 27-10 in the period to take a 47-34 lead into the fourth quarter.

And then it all came apart.

Howard College started the fourth with a 7-0 run and finally tied it at 54 on Kenall Alsup’s 3-pointer with 1:46 remaining. Odessa College did not score after Dozier’s basket with 4:47 left.

Baten said defense led to Lady Wranglers’ comeback, while a lack of it led to their downfall.

“We turned them over and got some easy baskets on our end,” he said. “More than anything, it was that. We knocked down a couple of 3s in the halfcourt. That kind of helped get us going, but mostly our defensive intensity was really good.

“And then we stopped. We didn’t get back a couple of times. We gave up some offensive rebounds. We didn’t cover the 3-point line. We gambled and took ourselves out of plays. We just didn’t play disciplined defense in the fourth quarter and they made us pay.”

Howard College 55, Odessa College 54

HOWARD COLLEGE (12-10, 2-4)

Addison Moseley 1-4 1-3 4, Kendall Alsup 2-9 0-0 6, Kaki Simpson 3-13 3-4 11, Ruthie Fox 5-11 3-3 14, Corbyn Cunningham 6-13 0-2 12, Cierra Morris 2-2 2-4 6, Rebecca Laberge 0-0 0-0 0, Taylor Allison 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 20-57 9-16 55.

ODESSA COLLEGE (13-6, 1-3)

Tanaka Gapare 2-5 0-0 4, Amanda Soderqvist 6-10 0-0 17, Chinna Fair 4-12 1-1 11, Shannon Dozier 3-14 0-0 6, Leticia Soares 3-8 2-2 8, Kassie Ybarra 0-1 0-0 0, Danyael Goodhoope 1-2 0-2 2, Cameryn Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Sydni Tears 2-3 0-2 4, Wytalla Motta 0-2 2-4 2. Totals 21-58 5-11 54.

Howard College…… 14.. 10   10   21   —    55

Odessa College…….. 7.. 13   27     7   —    54

3-Point goals — Howard College 6-13 (Moseley 1-2, Alsup 2-6, Simpson 2-6, Fox 1-1), Odessa College 7-24 (Soderqvist 5-7, Fair 2-7, Dozier 0-7, Soares 0-1, Ybarra 0-1, Goodhoope 0-1). Total fouls — Howard College 10, Odessa College 16. Fouled out — none. Technical fouls — Goodhope. Rebounds — Howard College 27 (Cunningham 7), Odessa College 47 ((Gapare 11, Soderqvist 10). Assists — Howard College 10 (Morris 4), Odessa College 19 (Fair 7).