WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Lady Wranglers regroup to take win over Salt Lake Community College

Everything was going just fine for the Odessa College women’s basketball team.

And then, it wasn’t.

The Lady Wranglers, however, were able to regroup just in time to earn a 57-54 victory against Salt Lake Community College Saturday at the OC Sports Center.

Odessa College improved to 2-0 on the young season, with Salt Lake CC dropping to 0-2.

Taya Davis scored a game-high 13 points to lead Odessa College, with Nahawa Diarra Berthe adding 12 and Lala Niankan 10 to the victory.

Sephora Koyolo led the visitors with 12 points, with Allyzee Verdan and Diarrah Sissoko each adding 11 in the los.

The Lady Wranglers jumped out to a 22-6 lead at the end of the first quarter, taking advantage of a tenacious, full-court defense that the Bruins had a hard time solving.

Odessa College head coach Franqua Bedell tried to get his team back down to earth between the first and second quarter.

“I challenged them to double it up and to not look at the scoreboard,” Bedell said. “I told them that they (Salt Lake) were going to make a run; every team at this level is going to make a run sometime during the game.

“But I think they got a little relaxed and they learned.”

The run didn’t happen right away as the Lady Wranglers scored the first three points of the second quarter for a 25-6 lead.

That’s when the comeback began for the Bruins.

Salt Lake scored the next 19 points to tie the game, 25-25, with 1:35 remaining in the first half.

Odessa College was able to get some breathing room with back-to-back field goals to end the first half in front (29-25), but Bedell’s point had been made.

“With all the freshmen we have, they are going to have their ups and downs,” he said. “I’m just proud of the way they were able to find a way to settle down and win.”

The positive outcome was in doubt throughout much of the second half as the Bruins took their first lead (35-34) with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter, extending it to four points (38-34) on a field goal by Koyolo on a spin move in the paint with less than two minutes to play in the quarter.

Odessa College’s Jessie Dai breathed some life into the comeback with a 3-pointer from above the top of the key that banked at the buzzer of the third quarter.

That tied the game, 42-42, and when Berthe connected on a 3-pointer from the left corner to open the fourth quarter, the Lad Wranglers had a lead they would never relinquish.

Salt Lake Community College never trailed by more than three points the rest of the way, but could never catch Odessa College.

“I’m hardest on my guards because I was a point guard myself,” Bedell said. “I’m trying to get them to be coaches out on the court.

“They, Taya and Nahawa, did a really good job. This was a good game for us, for them to see just how hard you have to compete every night.”

>> Follow Lee Scheide on Twitter at @OALeeScheide

Odessa College 57, Salt Lake CC 54


Diarrah Sissoko 4-9 1-1 11, Naelle Bernard 1-6 0-0 2, Nexss Ngakosso 1-5 1-1 4, Djessira Diaward 1-1 0-0 2, Maniah Clegg 0-0 0-0 0, Hennessey Luu-Brown 2-5 0-0 4, Brooke Donnelly 0-0 0-0 0, Alyssa Barnard 2-5 1-2 6, Sephora Kayolo 5-11 1-2 12, Allyzee Verdan 5-7 1-4 11, Finau Donga 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-50 5-10 54.


Jessie Dai 4-7 0-0 9, Nahawa Diarra Berthe 5-7 1-2 12, Lala Niankan 3-6 3-6 10, Drea Betts 1-5 2-2 4, Taya Davis 5-15 3-4 13, Chloe Dallas 2-4 1-4 5, Stephanie Hubard 0-0 0-0 0, Kheeauna Lido 0-1 0-0 0, Marchelle Bowden 0-4 1-2 1, Valeria Barrett 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 21-51 11-20 57.

Salt Lake CC………….. 6.. 19   17   12   —    54

Odessa College…… 22…. 7   13   15   —    57

3-Point goals — Salt Lake CC 5-18 (Sissoko 2-5, Bernard 0-4, Ngakosso 1-1, Luu-Brown 0-1, Barnard 1-3, Kayolo 1-4), Odessa College 4-11 (Dai 1-3, Berhte 1-1, Niankan 1-1, Betters 0-2, Lide 0-1, Bowden 0-2, Barrett 1-1). Total fouls — Salt Lake CC 17, Odessa College 14.. Fouled out — Odessa College: Niankan. Technical fouls — Odessa College bench. Rebounds — Salt Lake CC 38 (Verdan 8), Odessa College 20 (Dallas 4). Assists — Salt Lake CC 10 (Ngakosso 6), Odessa College 8 (Davis 5).