Down the stretch of the regular season, style points don't matter as much ending the night on the right side of the scoreboard.
That was the case for the Odessa College women's basketball team Monday night.
Despite a slow start offensively, the Lady Wranglers were able to put things together late, pulling away for a 58-44 win over Howard College in WJCAC action at the OC Sports Center.
With the win, the Lady Wranglers clinched a spot in the NJCAA Region 5 tournament.
"Every game is a little different but this one played out pretty similar to the first meeting," Odessa College head coach Ara Baten said. "In this game, it was still close heading into the last few minutes. We were able to make a few plays and take advantage of a few missed shots in order to pull away."
One of the biggest challenges for Odessa College proved to be defending Howard College forward Corbyn Cunningham.
The sophomore had 15 of the 17 first half points for the Lady Hawks and was the only player to make a field goal in the first half.
She finished with a game-high 27 points to go with seven rebounds.
Despite her production, Odessa College was able to stay in the game defensively until they could find a way to score.
That first basket for the Lady Wranglers did not come until midway through the first quarter off a Kamryn Lemon layup.
Howard College built up a 9-5 lead in the first quarter but the Lady Wranglers were able to finish the frame on a good note, closing the period on an 8-1 run to lead 13-10 after the first 10 minutes.
However, Cunningham was able to keep the Lady Hawks in the game, going on a run of six straight points to cut the lead down to 18-16 midway through the quarter.
Odessa College was able to lock down defensively as they were able to push the lead back to seven points before halftime.
"I thought we were pretty good defensively tonight," Baten said. "We did have a few breakdowns because they have a really talented scorer in (Cunningham). It was a good effort but we need to work on being more consistent."
Even with the good defense, the Lady Wranglers weren't able to get much separation in the third quarter as other members of the Lady Hawks started knocking down shots.
Howard got to as close as four points before a layup from Dyanna Offutt closed the quarter to put Odessa College back up 37-31 at the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter saw the Lady Wranglers finally pull away, opening the period on a 15-4 run.
Three of those shots were made by Okako Adika, who led the Lady Wranglers with 10 points to go with five rebounds.
Adikas's production combined with Offutt's eight points helped lead the way for 34 points off the bench for Odessa College.
"We started off slow but I thought we played well together as a team," Adika said. "I just felt comfortable shooting the ball and my team really kept me going.
ARTICLE BY- TONY VENGAS:ODESSA AMERICAN
PHOTO BY- PETER DINDINGER:ODESSA AMERICAN