WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Odessa College overcomes slow start in win over Hill College

MIDLAND It may have been a slow start, but the Odessa College women’s basketball team made sure there was no hangover from Thursday’s upset over No. 9 Trinity Valley as the Lady Wranglers defeated Hill College 90-80 Friday in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament at the Chaparral Center.

With the win, Odessa College won its second game in as many days as the Lady Wranglers moved to 4-2 for the season despite starting off a little slow against Hill College (4-3).

“We won and I’m always grateful for that,” Odessa College head coach Franqua Bedell said. “But there were some things that we did well on Thursday that we struggled with today. I’m proud of our players. We found a way to win and I’ll take it.”

The Lady Wranglers were led in scoring by Ivana Krajina who had 27 points while her teammate Destinee Barnes had 21 points and Chelsey Bautista finished with 19.

Hill College was led in scoring by both Savannah Velazquez and Mercedes Mancha who each had 20 points.

KJ Walker had 18 points for the Rebels.

Odessa College went 50 percent from the field, going 31-62 on field goals while shooting 0-6 on 3-pointers and 65.1 percent on free throws (going 28-43).

“You shoot 43 free throws, you have to take advantage of them,” Bedell said. “That’s a 20-point win if you shoot better. I don’t want us to miss any. But it still shows our aggressiveness and we have to do a better job of going to the rim and being aggressive.”

The Rebels shot 34.2 percent from the floor, going 26-76, 12-34 on 3-pointers for 35.3 percent and 76.2 percent on free throws (going 16-21).

Hill College took a 19-16 lead with 2:53 left in the first quarter.

Odessa College used a 5-0 run to go in front and end the quarter with a 21-19 lead.

The Lady Wranglers kept up their momentum in the second quarter, building a 27-22 advantage before Hill College called a timeout.

Odessa College’s Kimora Daly was sent to the line and made both free throws to give the Lady Wranglers a 31-26 lead with 6:02 left in the quarter.

Hill College’s Journee Chambers scored from the paint to bring the Rebels to a 33-28 deficit with 2:14 on the clock.

A 3-pointer by Mancha soon followed for Hill College to make it a two-point game.

Mancha scored another 3-pointer and put her team back in front with 1:08 left before the half.

The half ended with both teams tied at 35.

Bautista’s basket gave the Lady Wranglers a 43-29 lead and Krajina followed it up with an inside shot of her own to make it a six-point lead.

Barnes made it a 10-lead for Odessa College on a transition bucket with 6:24 left in the third quarter.

The Lady Wranglers took another 10-point advantage in the third quarter when Aisha Dos Santos made a layup to make it 61-51 with 1:50 remaining.

Barnes hit two more free throws and it was then a 12-point lead with under a minute in the quarter.

Odessa College led 64-55 heading into the fourth quarter.

Krajina scored on an inside basket to make it 68-60, Odessa College with under eight minutes remaining.

However, the Rebels used a 5-2 run to eat at the Lady Wranglers’ lead with 6:32 on the clock.

Krajina ended the run with her turnaround jumper and Odessa College remained in front.

A technical foul on Hill College sent Krajina to the line where she made both shots and Odessa College led 74-65 with 5:57 remaining.

Odessa College maintained an 80-75 lead with under two minutes remaining and the Lady Wranglers started to burn out the clock.

Barnes picked up a foul and was sent to the charity stripe where she made both shots with 1:33 left.

Hill College didn’t go away, but Odessa College wouldn’t relinquish its lead in the final stretch.

The Rebels cut the Lady Wranglers’ lead to 84-80 before Krajina made a crucial free throw with 55 seconds left.

She made two more free throws to put the game out of reach for the Rebels.

Odessa College was outscored 27-26 in the fourth quarter.

“We played well in the second and third quarters, and then in the fourth quarter, I felt like we took our foot off the gas pedal a little bit,” Bedell said. “We have to a better job at the end.”

The Lady Wranglers will finish up this week’s tournament with a noon game against Panola College Saturday at the Chaparral Center.