The Otero Junior College women's basketball team had a hard time shaking off visiting Clarendon (Texas) College Wednesday at the McDivitt Center.

Whenever the Lady Rattlers would take a big lead, the Lady Bulldogs would always come back to make the game close. But when the dust settled, OJC ended up with a 66-63 win.

"We just wren't ready to play today," said OJC coach Sta'Nisha Hersey. "We had a whole week off and it took us to the second half to realize that we can win the basketball game. We can't play 20 minutes, we have to play 40 minutes."

Clarendon took a 3-0 lead early, but Otero scored 11 straight points, including 3-point baskets by Hilda Garcia and Zaryna Ibarra-Urbina. The Lady Rattlers maintained the momentum and led 19-9 at the end of the first quarter.

The Lady Bulldogs closed to within 19-14 early in the second quarter and after McClain Walker scored for the Lady Rattlers, Clarendon closed the deficit to 21-19.

Alessia Capley's basket gave OJC a four-point lead, however, the Lady Bulldogs closed to within 23-22.

Kait Roycroft and Walker both scored to push the lead to 27-22. But Clarendon rallied to reduce the OJC lead to 27-25.

The Lady Rattlers got a basket and free throw from Grace O'Neil and Roycroft swished a 3-pointer. But Clarendon scored with 1:13 left in the quarter to close to within 33-31 at halftime.

Otero came out hot for the third quarter and increased the lead to 42-31. But Clarendon rallied again to narrow the gap to 47-41.

The Lady Rattlers raised the lead to 53-41, but the Lady Bulldogs closed the margin to 53-45 at the end of the third.

Otero was able to maintain the lead at eight points before Clarendon rallied late in the game. The Lady Rattlers, however, made seven out of 12 free throws in the final two minutes to stave off the Lady Bulldog charge.

Two Lady Rattlers scored in double figures with O'Neil scoring 13 and Roycroft 10. Carria Smith lead Clarendon with 13 points and J'Kimbria Criss scored 11.

Clarendon outrebounded Otero 44-42. O'Neil was the Lady Rattlers' top rebounder with nine.

Walker led in assists with seven.

Otero (6-3) hosted Casper (Wyo.) College on Thursday. It's naext game will be Tuesday at it will host Laramie County Community College. Game time at the McDivitt Center is at 5 p.m.

Otero 66, Clarendon 63

Clarendon - Nails 0-0 0-0 0, Stolz 2-6 1-2 6, Howard 1-3 0-0 2, Valentine 0-4 1-2 1, Mays 1-8 0-0 3, Escobal 3-5 0-0 8, Piggee 1-3 0-2 3, Hopkins 2-3 0-0 4, Owens 1-5 3-6 5, Lightfoot 2-4 1-2 7, Smith 4-8 5-6 13, Criss 4-7 3-5 11. Total 21-56 14-25 63.

3-point goals - Stolz 1-2, Howard 0-1, Valentine 0-1, Mays 1-6, Escobal 2-3, Piggee 1-2, Owens 0-1, Lightfoot 2-3, Criss 0-1. Total 7-20.

Otero - Garcia 2-9 2-4 7, Walker 2-6 4-7 8, Prado-Morales 3-6 1-1 5, Fairley 3-6 1-1 7, O'Neil 5-17 3-7 13, Roycroft 4-5 0-0 10, Ibarra-Urbina 3-6 0-0 7, Littlehawk 0-0 0-0 0, Shaklee 1-3 0-0 2, Capley 1-5 1-1 3. Total 24-63 13-22 66.

3-point goals - Roycroft 2-3, Ibarra-Urbina 1-2, Garcia 1-4 Shaklee 0-1, Fairley 1-2, O'Neil 0-2. Total 5-14.

Clarendon     9   22   14   18 - 63

Otero          19   14   20   13 - 66

Fouls - Clarendon 20, Otero 19. Fouled out - Mays, Smith, Prado-Morales. Technical foul - Clarendon bench. Turnovers - Clarendon 17, Otero 11.

khamrick@ljtdmail.com