Down 10 points in the third quarter and still trailing in the fourth, the Buccaneers were undeterred as they rallied for a 66-59 victory over No. 4 South Plains College on Monday in Levelland, Texas.
It was the second 10-point deficit Blinn (3-0) has overcome this season after rallying out of a double-digit hole against No.19 McClennan Community College in its season opener.
“It was a great road win against the No. 4 team in the nation,” Buccaneers head coach Jeff Jenkins said. “I’m so proud of our fight when we got down 10 in the third.”
Blinn built a 16-14 lead over South Plains during the first period but trailed 38-32 by halftime and faced a 51-47 hole going into the final 10 minutes.
The Bucs turned on the offense in the fourth quarter and locked down on defense, outscoring the Texans 19-8 to earn the win.
“We kept fighting a little bit at a time and then broke free in the fourth quarter,” Jenkins added. “We didn’t get tired and that’s really thanks to the depth we have on our bench. We stayed at one speed the entire game.”
Five-foot-10 sophomore forward Allana Thompson earned high praise from her coach after putting on a defensive showcase in the paint.
“I also can’t say enough about Allana defending 6-foot-3 and 6-foot-4 players down low,” said Jenkins. “She competed her tail off.”
Leading the way offensively for Blinn was sophomore guard Hannah Humphrey, who logged 18 points. Sophomore guards Jakoriah Long and Skylar Barnes had 11 points apiece, and sophomore forward Tiffany Tullis registered a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Crystal Smith finished with nine points.
Blinn entered Monday at No. 6 in the preseason top 25 but by midafternoon had made the jump to the top three in the first in-season rankings of the year.
“I’m really excited,” Jenkins said. “Our girls work so hard and they’re competitive, they really do deserve this ranking right now. We were No. 6 to start the year and I believed we were deserving of six, but after tonight, going to South Plains and defeating the No. 4 on the road, I really think we’re No.3 in the country.”
The Buccaneers will hit the road for a tilt against Temple College at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Temple, Texas.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.