WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Lady Wranglers end New Mexico Junior College’s winning streak

For the Odessa College women’s basketball team, it was sweet revenge.

For New Mexico Junior College, it was the end of a nine-game winning streak.

On Thursday, the Lady Wranglers got payback with a 90-89 overtime win over New Mexico Junior College at the OC Sports Center.

With the victory, No. 11-ranked Odessa College (23-3 overall, 9-1 in WJCAC) moved into a tie for first place in the WJCAC standings with No. 5-ranked New Mexico Junior College (20-5, 9-1).

“I think I need a defibrillator,” Odessa College head coach Franqua Bedell said. “My heart is hurting and my voice is shot but our team showed grit and they showed fight. We weren’t perfect but we did what we needed to do in order to get the win tonight.”

It was the Thunderbirds’ first loss since Dec. 16 when the team lost to Casper College 98-81.

Odessa College avenged its 93-76 loss to New Mexico Junior College in both teams’ last meeting on Jan. 15.

The Lady Wranglers were led by Ivana Krajina’s 27 points while Sarengbe Sanogo and Chelsy Bautista each had 12. Tia Shelling scored 11 points for the Lady Wranglers as well.

New Mexico Junior College was led by Cacia Antonio’s 25 points while Filipa Calisto had 20 and Amyah Sutton had 16 points.

The Lady Wranglers began the evening on a 4-2 run.

A basket and a free throw by Aisha Amaral Dos Santos made it 7-3 shortly after.

However, the Thunderbirds used a 6-2 run to tie things up.

The game was tied up at 23 at the end of the first quarter.

Odessa College continued to remain in front throughout the second quarter and took a 45-37 lead at the halftime break.

The Lady Wranglers began the second half on a promising note, going on a 4-2 run to extend their lead.

However, the Thunderbirds weren’t done as they went on a 10-0 run to tie the game back up with 4:45 left in the third quarter, capped off by an Amyah Sutton layup.

A 3-pointer by Santos helped break the Lady Wranglers’ scoring drought.

Both teams continued to trade baskets left and right and the game was tied at 54 with 2:14 left in the quarter.

A transition basket by Antonio put the Thunderbirds ahead 56-54 shortly after.

The visitors kept up their run and took a 60-57 lead at the end of the third quarter.

The Thunderbirds began the fourth quarter on a layup by Pania Davis to make it a five-point game.

Aaliyah Holmes’ 3-pointer made it 65-59 shortly after.

Things would not get any easier for the Lady Wranglers as the visitors stayed in front.

Odessa College didn’t go away but missed shots were crucial as New Mexico Junior College capitalized on defensive rebounds.

Krajina’s 3-pointer brought the Lady Wranglers to a 79-77 deficit with 3:09 left.

The game remained close as the Lady Wranglers didn’t give up.

A foul by Antonio sent Odessa College’s Tia Shelling to the line where she made 1-of-2, making it 81-80.

Shelling put the Lady Wranglers back in front 82-81 and a steal on the following possession led to a foul called on by Filipa Calisto, sending Destinee Barnes to the line with 1:26 remaining.

She made the first but missed the second and Odessa College’s lead was 83-81.

Antonio was sent to the line where she made both free throws to tie the game up with 26 seconds left.

The Lady Wranglers couldn’t find the game-clinching basket and overtime beckoned.

A 4-0 run by the Thunderbirds came at the start of overtime.

Krajina scored a 3-pointer to make it a one-point game but New Mexico Junior College had a response with an inside jumper.

Krajina made another 3-pointer to put the Lady wranglers ahead 90-89 and the Thunderbirds missed a basket on the other end.

“The 3-pointers at the end were huge,” Bedell said. “Big-time players make big-time plays. She made some great plays tonight and we were able to come out with a win.”

A turnover led to Lady Wrangler possession and Odessa College drained the clock as much as they could.

New Mexico Junior College would not foul anyone.

But the Thunderbirds regained possession, down by one but another turnover followed and the Lady Wranglers held on for the win.

“It was championship basketball,” Bedell said. “It’s one of the things you have to do to stay the course. You have to stay patient and keep grinding. At the end, if you do that, there’s no guarantee that you’ll win but there’s a guarantee that you’ll have a good shot. We went on a good run and they went on a good run and I was proud of our girls for fighting.”

The Thunderbirds will next face Howard College at 5:45 p.m. Monday at home.

The Lady Wranglers will face Western Texas College at 5 p.m. Feb. 22 at the OC Sports Center.

“I’m excited for a little time off,” Bedell said. “We can fix some things on film and I’ll go on the road recruiting.”