Odessa starts strong in third quarter, rides wave to 69-54 win over Tyler
LUBBOCK, Texas – Julan McDonald scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Odessa college continued its momentum from winning the Region V tournament with a 69-54 victory over Tyler Junior College in the second round of the NJCAA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championships on Tuesday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Amanda Soderqvist added 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, as the Lady Wranglers (24-7) used a surge from the end of the first half to the beginning of the second half to put some distance between themselves and the Apaches (29-6). Odessa finished the game shooting 54 percent (27 of 50) and hitting on 7 of 17 from 3-point range.
“(Maintaining momentum) was probably the things just in general about coming down here that concerned me the most,” Odessa head coach Ara Baten said. “We’ve had two of those byes with the way our conference schedule worked out where we had kind of a double bye, and both times we just played terrible coming off of it. So that was definitely in the back of my mind, but the kids overcame it and played well all things considered.”
Kierra Brimzy led the Apaches with 15 points and Trelynn Tyler added 11. The Apaches had chances to claw back into the game throughout the second half and even forced 22 Odessa turnovers, but could never get the deficit under double digits after Odessa built the big lead.
Felmas Koranga chipped in 10 points for the Apaches, who were just 3 of 15 (20 percent) from the 3-point line for the game.
“I felt like Odessa did what they needed to do against our defense,” Tyler head coach Trenia Tillis Hoard said. “They hit big shots, they shot a good percentage from the floor and from the 3-point line. I can’s say they wanted it more, but they just hot the shots necessary to get the job done.”
Leading by just four with just over a minute to play in the first half, the Lady Wranglers turned up the heat. Odessa got layups from Geovana Lopes and Soderqvist to close the first half, then opened the third quarter on an 11-2 run, with Okako Adika scoring five of her seven points in the stretch, to take a 45-28 lead midway through the period.
With Tyler struggling from the field, shooting just 11 of 32 after halftime, the outburst proved to be enough for the Lady Wranglers to hold on for the win.
“We just kept our focus through the entire game and kept our intensity up,” Soderqvist said. “We just kept to our game plan and did whatever we said we were going to do.’
Odessa shot the ball well in the first half, hitting 52 percent (13 of 25) from the field. But the Lady Wranglers were undone by 10 turnovers, and that allowed Tyler to hang around.
The Lady Wranglers jumped out to a 7-0 lead, but the Apaches slowly reeled them in, scoring five of the last seven points of the first quarter, then getting a 3-pointer from Brimzy to tie the game at 13 early in the second.
Odessa pushed the lead to nine immediately afterward, getting a Kamryn Lemon 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run and lead 22-13. But a second 3-pointer and two free throws from Brimzy and a bucket by Koranga pulled Tyler to within 28-24. Odessa, however, scored six of the last eight points of the half to lead 34-26 at the intermission.
Brimzy accounted for 14 of Tyler’s 26 first-half points while Julan McDonald scored all nine of her first-half points in the first period.