Sophie Abela played a starring role for Otero Junior College on Sunday night as the Maltese player produce the game-winning assist to help her team to a thrilling 70-68 win over Nebraska Community College at the McDivitt Center.
With the game tied up at 68-all with only 35 seconds to play, Abela sent a bounce pass to her Spanish team-mate Emma Florez Pascual for the game-winning lay-up.
“I think we wanted this more,” Abela told La Junta Tribune Democrat.
“We were looking forward to this game. I personally pushed myself more here. They beat us twice last year, so I personally wanted to beat them. I think they played a good game as well. So I guess we wanted it more. It feels great.”
Abela and Florez Pascual were the protagonists for Ottawa as they were their team’s leading scorers with the Spanish player potting 20 points while Abela helped herself to 18 points.
Ottawa coach Landon Steele heaped praise on Abela and Florez Pascual.
“They are ultimate competitors,” Steele said.
“They are both two of my favourite kids I have ever coached in my lifetime, and I’ve coached a lot. I love those two to death. I wish I could have them for six, seven or eight years. I would take them forever. They are ultra, ultra competitive and they love it. They deserve it.”
Ottawa are set for a busy road trip schedule as they face Northeastern Junior College on Monday and then face North Platte on Friday, McCook on Saturday and a rematch against Western Nebraska on March 30.
“We go on the road next week and play them again,” Abela said.
“So we are back in the gym and we keep working.”