2003-2004 Women's Basketball News

2004 Lady Thunderbird Basektball Individual Camp to Be Held June 27-30

May 20 — Hobbs, NM.
2004 Lady Thunderbird Basektball Individual Camp Brochure and Application (PDF)

NMJC Basketball Players Honored

March 10 — Hobbs, NM. New Mexico Junior College is proud to announce the names of those male and female basketball players who were chosen for the Western Junior College Athletic Conference All Conference Team.

For women’s basketball Miranda Swearengin, Toni Atherley and Johnice James were selected. Honorable Mention was given to Eva Vodrazkova. For the men Kareem Lloyd and Fred Campbell were chosen to represent NMJC, and Kareem Telfer was given an Honorable Mention.

Also representing NMJC in the Region V Men’s Basketball All Region Team is Kareem Lloyd from the men. On behalf of NMJC in the women’s Region V All Region Team are Miranda Swearengin and Toni Atherley.

Everyone from NMJC would like to congratulate these players on their magnificent accomplishments.

Successful Season Ends

March 7 — Plano, TX. It looked as if NMJC would overcome the Weatherford College Lady Coyotes and advance to the Region V Tournament Finals at the University of Dallas, Sunday. Then it looked like Weatherford would, then NMJC, then Weatherford, and so on. It was a see-saw game the entire way. During the entire game, neither team took command, they couldn’t, as the offensive pressure from each team was too great. As soon as Weatherford would score, NMJC would turn around and do the same.

It was back and forth until 00:12 a foul was called on Erica Smith from Weatherford on Miranda Swearengin of NMJC. The score was 71 NMJC – Weatherford 70 before the foul with 00:12 left on the clock. Swearengin missed the 1st of the double bonus free throws, but made the second. NMJC immediately called timeout to set their defense.

When the time out was over, the score was 72-70 in favor of the T-Birds, but Weatherford had possession. Then the unthinkable happened. The T-Birds' concern was focused on Lady Coyote, Laura Kizyte. She had already racked up four 3-pointers. But the Lady Coyotes went with a different plan and passed the ball to Kristin Harrell. No one thought Harrell was a long range threat because she was 0-7 in her attempts all night.

As if the play went in slow motion, Harrell put up a shot from behind the line, and it went in as the buzzer sounded. NMJC 72 and Weatherford 73 was the final score of the Lady T-Birds last game of the season. (Play by Play)

“We had a great game against a fantastic team that pulled it off at the end. The Lady T-Birds played excellent and a coach can’t ask for more than that. My hat goes off to these ladies and I’m extremely proud of what they accomplished this year,” says head coach Ara Baten.

Ladies Take Down Temple

March 6 — Plano, TX. In game one at the regional tournament in Dallas, Texas, the Lady T-Birds slaughtered Temple College 90-55. Toni Atherly had a game high 26 points, followed by Catherine Coley who netted 12. Miranda Swearengin matched Temple’s high scorer with 9 buckets. The Lady T-Birds had excellent help from their bench as they scored 35 of their 90 points. The Lady T-Birds will now advance to the semi-finals where they will meet Weatherford.
Interview with Coach Ara Baten after the Game
Play by Play

Lady T-Birds Lose Final Game But Continue

February 26 — Odessa, TX. The last time they played the Odessa Lady Wranglers, they went into overtime to secure a win. This time though, they lost 89-77. The Wranglers jumped ahead of the T-Birds and led 40-29 at half time. “Odessa is coached very well, and it’s hard to win games on the road in our conference,” said Ara Baten, head coach for the T-Birds. Miranda Swearengin scored 27, Toni Atherly added 14 and Johnice James put up 13.

Regardless of the loss, this is not the end of the Lady T-Birds season. They will begin regional play on March 6.

Lady T-Birds Win Final Home Game

February 23 — Hobbs, NM. The 9-2 Lady Thunderbirds won their final home game Monday night against Frank Phillips College, 93-86. The first half ended with the Lady Plainsmen leading by one (44-45). When the second half started, the Lady Thunderbirds went on a 27-9 scoring rampage that led them to victory.

“We did a good job with our help-side rotation and our defensive effort was especially good in the second half,” said head coach, Ara Baten. The first time that the two met in conference play, and the T-Birds lost the game 57-69. Baten says that he doesn’t like to single out players, because offense and defense usually compliment each other; therefore, no one really does it alone. It’s a team effort. The Lady Thunderbirds play Odessa at 6:50 on Thursday.

Game Video Highlights

Lady T-Birds Rock Chaps

February 16 — Hobbs, NM. It was business as usual for the Lady T-Birds and that business is winning by substantial margins – 73-56. “I thought everyone performed at a level we needed in order to get a win against a really good basketball team,” said Head Coach, Ara Baten.

Miranda Swearengin was one of the players who took her basketball skills to another level. She made 25 of NMJC’s 73 points – including five baskets from three point land. Fellow guard Toni Atherly added 21 and Johnice James attached 11. Baten admits that having the home court advantage was a very big plus for them.

Game Video Highlights

Lady T-Birds Trounce Howard

February 12 — Big Spring, TX. Thursday night the Lady T-Birds went on a "scorefest" against the Howard College Lady Hawks 91-47. The Lady T-Birds (7-2 in conference) seemed to be on a mission that night as they more than doubled the Lady Hawks score by halftime - 48-21. Miranda Swearengin was on top of her game that night as she racked up 20 points for the Thunderbirds. She also 5-for-5 as she sank 3's with pinpoint accuracy.

The Lady Thunderbirds next game will be at home Monday at 5:50 against Midland College.

Lady T-Birds Soar Over South Plains

February 9 — Hobbs, NM. “We played a good team that had a nice plan that they executed well,” said coach Ara Baten. The South Plains Lady Texans plan was slowing the game to a snail's pace. It worked for about the first 10 minutes, and then the Lady T-Birds pulled together and started setting the pace. Once they did, the Lady Texans couldn’t quite keep up.

Midway through the first half, the Lady Thunderbirds brought their lead to 10 and continued leading until it was 38-26 at the half.

At the beginning of the second half, slowing down the game was not an option for the Lady Texans. NMJC blasted the other team by quickly building a 20-point lead. Miranda Swearengin led the T-Birds with 16 points and Catherine Coley put up 10. The T-Birds ended the game with a 69-50 win.

Game Video Highlights

Lady T-Birds Down Clarendon

February 2 — Clarendon, TX. The Lady T-Birds wasted no time downing another opponent as they displayed awesome second-half skills. At the half, they were down 29-31. That soon changed when the buzzer sounded to start the second-half. Although it wasn’t a blowout, it was a win by six points, 74-68. Miranda Swearengin netted 20 and Johnice James scored 17 to mark off another T-Bird win.

Lady T-Birds Overpower Odessa

February 2 — Hobbs, NM. The Lady T-Birds won 96-89 over the Odessa College Lady Wranglers; however, the win was not an easy one. Kanani Marshal and Rashida Wilson of Odessa each had great nights. Marshal had eight three-pointers and closed the night out with 32 points. Wilson finished with 30.

Despite the 62 points added by the two Lady Wrangler players, NMJC had some tricks of their own up their sleeves. Tricks in the names of: Miranda Swearengin who had a game high 35 points, Johnice James added 22 and Toni Atherly netted 14.

There were 25 seconds left to play and Swearengin hit a jump-shot to tie the game at 84. After Odessa missed two three-pointers, Marshal was called for a foul as time expired. NMJC missed the free throw and sent the game into overtime. Swearengin netted two points first in OT and the Thunderbirds led all the way to the buzzer.

“We had some girls who made some very good plays last night, and gave us the opportunity to win against a very good team,” said coach Ara Baten.

Game Video Highlights

Ladies Handed Second Loss In Two Weeks

January 29 — Borger, TX. First, Midland College gave them their first loss in conference, and last night the Frank Phillips Lady Plainsmen served up their second one . . . 69-57. At the half, the Lady Plainsmen led by 13, 41-28. In the second half, the Lady Thunderbirds outscored Frank Phillips by one, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the first-half deficit.

Miranda Swearengin took charge of the scoring, posting 19 points. But the she was the only Lady T-Bird that made it to double digits. “We were always just a little off,” said Head Coach Ara Baten. “We’ve just got to play through it.”

Lady T-Birds Shot Down

January 22 — Midland, TX. All good things must come to an end and the ladies spotless conference basketball record proved to be no exception. They were beaten 67-51 by Midland College.

NMJC was able to cut the Chaparrals lead to one with eight minutes to go, but they never got any closer. Toni Atherly and Miranda Swearengin scored 13 points each to lead the T-Birds, but collectively shot only 9-31 from the floor.

Their first conference loss might have been attributed to their poor shooting from the field – 25 percent – but coach Ara Baten sees it differently. “I just feel as if Midland has a good basketball team. They forced us to do things we haven’t been doing. We’ve got some things we need to get better at and we’ll try to do those the next time we play.”

The ladies play Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas, 4:50 p.m. on January 29.

Girls Keep It Perfect

January 19 — Hobbs, NM. If the Lady T-Birds continue dominating opposing teams like they have so far, then perhaps they will rename the WJCAC (Western Junior College Athletic Conference) to the New Mexico Junior College Athletic Conference. Well, maybe not.

But, NMJC continued their control of their opponents by winning against Howard College 95-61. “The girls executed things very well both offensively and defensively,” said Ara Baten, head coach. Their next game is at Midland on Thursday at 6:50 p.m.

Women Go 2-0 in WJCAC

January 15 — Levelland, TX. The Lady T-Birds never trailed in the game against the South Plains College Lady Texans after taking a 12-point lead into halftime. Miranda Swearengin blasted 21 points and Toni Atherley netted 15, as the Lady T-Birds beat South Plains 71-58 Thursday. Coach Ara Baten was very pleased with his team’s performance, “especially against a well-coached team like South Plains.”

Interview with Coach Baten before the Game | Player of the Game and Stats of the Game

Lady T-Birds Win Over Clarendon

January 12 — Hobbs, NM. Perhaps it was the weather, or maybe it was because it was their first conference game. Whatever the reason for their stellar 79-58 win Monday night against the Clarendon Lady Bulldogs, it was right on time. From start to finish, the Lady T-Birds controlled every aspect of this game. Four Lady T-Birds reached the double-digits, Toni Atherly -18, Johnice James - 14, Eva Vodrazkova -13 and Orma Fisher netted 10.

Coach Ara Baten said that that his team played very solid team effort throughout the game. “We had some outstanding players tonight, but I hate to single anyone out,” says Baten.

In conference play so far the ladies are 1-0. They will try to improve their record to 2-0 Thursday against South Plains College.

Game Video Footage

Lady T-Birds Split Shootout

January 6 — Hobbs, NM. The Lady T-Birds regained their winning form Tuesday night, as they conquered Casper College 64-56. Toni Atherly put up 24 points and Eva Vodrazkova added 11 points as the Lady T-Birds improved their record to 15-2.

Game Video Footage

Ladies Smothered by Central Arizona

January 5 — Hobbs, NM. With only one loss out of the 15 games they had played so far, the Lady T-Birds hoped to keep their winning streak alive. However, the Central Arizona College Vaqueras would have none of that as they handed the Ladies their second loss. Despite the loss, NMJC’s Toni Atherly scored a team high 19 points, and Era Vodrazkova netted 13. If the score was based on rebounding, the score would have been different. NMJC had 18 and Central Arizona had 15. “Anytime we have a chance to play against good competition like Central Arizona, it helps to expose our weaknesses. Hopefully we are better now because of it.”

The Ladies will try to score their first win of the new semester tonight against Casper College.

Ladies Hold Up Against Lon Morris

December 6 — Tyler, TX. The Lady T-Birds (14-1) overcame Lon Morris College 64-59 Saturday afternoon. Head coach, Ara Baten said, “Lon Morris is a very good athletic team... we struggled offensively. But, we guarded and rebounded well to do what we had to do to win that basketball game.” The Lady T-Birds next game is January 5, at 6:00 p.m. versus Central Arizona College on the NMJC campus.

Ladies Win Again

December 5 — Tyler, TX. NMJC had a strong night offensively on Friday, as they slipped past Tyler Junior College 79-65. The Lady T-Birds led by eight at the half, but went on a scoring rampage in the second half to put a check in the win column.

Toni Atherley’s 21 points led the Lady T-Birds.

Lady T-Birds Slam Wayland Baptist

December 2 — Hobbs, NM. The ladies got just the medicine they needed to cure any ailments they might have acquired from their nearly week-long break, as they triumphed over Wayland Baptist JV 93-39. Ara Baten thought all of his girls played very hard and very well.

Johnice James led the way by netting 18 points, Toni Atherly and Angel Sparks scored in the double digits. Baten insists that there is not a standout player in the Lady T-Bird squad, “They all stand out,” smiles Baten.

On Friday the Lady T-Birds travel to Tyler, Texas to compete in the Tyler Junior College Classic. This event will feature four of the top 20 ranked junior college teams in America. NMJC is ranked no. 12.

Game Video Highlights

Lady T-Birds Get Win

November 25 — Lubbock, TX. In the first half of play, things didn’t go NMJC’s way. While playing Lubbock Christian University JV, they ended up leading by only 11 (32-21) at the half. “It was in one word, ugly,” said Rusty Laverentz, Assistant girls basketball coach, in a Hobbs News-Sun Article.

In the second half it was a different story. In the first five minutes of the second half, NMJC shut down LCU with a 17-1 run in the first five minutes. The final score was 68-36.

Lady T-Birds Rebound From Loss

November 22— Big Springs, TX. After dropping their first game Friday at the WJCAC Pre-Conference Tournament, the New Mexico Junior College Lady T-Birds wasted no time in recapturing their winning ways with Frank Phillips College as they won 81-73. This win brings their record to 10-1. Miranda Swearengin led the women with 20, Toni Atherly added, 17 and Katherine Coley netted 12.

Lady T-Birds Gain First Notch in Loss Belt

November 21— Big Springs, TX. Five points ended up being the difference between 10-0 and 9-1. The New Mexico Junior College Lady T-Birds were handed their first loss from the Oklahoma State College Lady Mountaineers. The women were suffocated much of the game with the Mountaineers full- court man-to-man defense. Despite that fact, some of the T-Birds managed to come up with big numbers. Johnice James scored a huge 29, Eva Vodrazkova added 18, and Miranda Swearengin put 17 on the board. In spite of the end result, the women did manage to erase an 11 point deficit and pull ahead by one in the second half. The T-Birds will end the tournament November 22 when they face the loser of the Midland College, Frank Phillips College game.

Lady T-Birds Spoil Clarendon 76-45

November 20 — Big Springs, TX. An assertive defense was one of the weapons the NMJC Lady-T-Birds used to hold the Clarendon Lady Bulldogs to one point in the first nine minutes of the game. Even though the bulldogs are known as three-point threat, the T-Birds out shot them 8-2 from that range. Toni Atherly had 14, Miranda Swearengin netted 13, Haley Dunlap sunk three from 3-point land, Angel Sparks and Katherine Coley sunk 11 each. The women continue on November 21, taking on Okalahoma State College.

Lady T-Birds Spank LCU

November 18 — Hobbs, NM. Last night the Lady T-Birds did it again. They overwhelmed Lubbock Christian JV 92-52. Toni Atherley led the way netting 17 points, Angel Sparks followed closely with 15, and Johnice James contributed 14.

“I thought the kids played very well and did some really nice things, considering this was their fourth game in five days,” said coach Ara Baten. “They had some energy in this game, and I’m proud of them fighting through being a little tired,” said a pleased Baten.

The ladies have a pre-conference tournament in Big Springs, Texas, on November 20.

Game Video Highlights

Lady T-Birds Rout Wayland Baptist University JV 91-31

November 17 — Plainview, TX. Sixty points. That was the margin that the Lady T-Birds won by, making the start of this season a spotless 7-0.

“Alena Batovska, from Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, did a lot of nice things for the team for just recovering from an ankle injury,” said Assistant Coach, Rusty Laverentz. She scored a team high 17 points.

Their next game is November 20, in a Pre-Conference Tournament, at Big Springs, Texas.

Lady T-Birds Go 7-0

November 15 — Weatherford, TX. The ladies improved their record to 6-0 on 11-15-03, with an 84-81 overtime win against Weatherford College Lady Coyotes. They were down at half time, and trailed most of the night, but perked up and tied the game at 75.

Weatherford scored the first points in the overtime, but Lady T-Bird, Miranda Swearengin, dropped a three-point bucket to end the game.

Lady T-Birds Slaughter ACU

November 14 — Abilene, TX. The Lady T-Birds overwhelmed Abilene Christian University Lady Wildcats 88-52, improving their record to 6-0. Johnice James led the T-Birds with 21 points, followed by Harley Dunlap with 18, and Toni Atherley with 16. “It’s one of the better JV teams we’ve seen. They just couldn’t keep up with our running game,” said Assistant Coach, Rusty Laverentz.

Girls Humiliate Bruins to Go Undefeated in Tourney

November 8 — Hobbs, NM. Forty-three points was all that NMJC would let Salt Lake City Community College score on the last night of the Thunderbird Classic, as they trounced them 75-43. "We've got a few theories to work on, but for the first full weekend of basketball, I think we did very well," said Ara Baten, Women's Basketball Coach.

In the second quarter, defense was the name of the game for NMJC. They only allowed the Bruins 20 points. Johnice James led the T-Birds with 15 points, followed by Haley Dunlap for 13, and Toni Atherly with 12.

Miranda Swearengin only netted 5 points that night, but she was honored with the MVP trophy for her performance in the Thunderbird Classic.

The All Tournament Team included Kyla Parker (Rend Lake College), Johnice James (NMJC), Bridget Chacon (Cochise College), Toni Atherley (NMJC), Jennifer Cook (Salt Lake C.C.), and MVP Miranda Swearingen (NMJC).

Video News:
Successful Shots
Thunderbird Classic Championship Celebration

The Lady T-Birds will play on the road this Friday at 6:30 p.m., when they play Abilene Christian JV.

Ladies Bewilder Rend Lake College

November 7 — Hobbs, NM. The Lady T-Birds defeated Rend Lake College 85-67 tonight. "I think we played as well as we ever have," said Ara Baten, Women's Basketball Coach. Despite a slow start (43-25) at the end of the first half, the women pumped up the second half with some help from Toni Atherly (18 points) and Johnice James (14 points).

Lady T-Birds Rout Cochise

November 6 — Hobbs, NM. The first day of the Thunderbird Classic proved to be a good one for the Lady T-Birds. They played very well against the Lady Apaches from Cochise College, beating them by 39 points. The final score of the game was 92-53. This win gives the ladies a 2-0 start for the season, and coach Ara Baten stated he was really impressed with the team’s defense. Tomorrow night the ladies play Rend Lake College at 6 p.m.

Lady T-Birds Control Rangers in Opener

November 1 — Hobbs, NM. The New Mexico Junior College Lady T-Birds easily controlled the Ranger College Lady Rangers 96-59, in their opening season game.

After five minutes into the game, NMJC had an 11-3 lead. It took the Rangers nearly 11 minutes to score again.

Guard, Miranda Swearengin, led the ladies romp with 17 points, going 6-7 at the line. Angel Sparks followed closely with 16, Johnice James added 12, and Orma Fisher netted 11.

Head Coach Ara Baten said, “Defensively I thought we rebounded really well, and we had a very high-energy level. If we can sustain those throughout the season, we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

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