TOPAWA, Ariz. – The Arizona Western College women’s basketball team started slow on offense early, but the defense kept them in it. The offense came around, and the Lady Mats won 70-42 at Tohono O’odham Community College on Wednesday night.
After Tohono O’odham hit a three to start the game, the Lady Mats (17-7 overall, 12-4 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) ripped off eight straight points capped by a pass from Krisynthia Sampson to Audrey Mulumba for a three and an 8-5 lead. Arleen Ceniceros and Veronica Barraza drained three’s to put Tohono O’odham up 9-8 with a little more than four minutes left in the quarter.
Sharice Kawakami scored five straight to put AWC back up after hitting a runner and a three-pointer. TOCC (4-17 overall, 2-14 ACCAC) tied the game again at 13, but Gloria Mulumba put the Lady Mats up by hitting a drop-step layup on the block to make it 15-13 to end the quarter.
In the second quarter, Arizona Western clamped down and made it difficult for Tohono O’odham to score. AWC kept passing the ball and found the open player, and there was an assist on the first three buckets of the second quarter. It was all part of a 12-2 run that Sampson capped with a bucket for a 27-15 lead.
Tohono O’odham closed the gap to 28-20 after Ceniceros hit a three, but that was as close as it would get. Sampson pushed the Lady Matador lead back to 10, and AWC led 33-21 at the half. She led the way with 15 points.
Arizona Western came out focused in the third quarter. After Tohono O’odham hit the first shot, the Lady Mats reeled off 10 straight points punctuated by an Aloani Escobar three for a 43-23 lead. Thirteen players scored for the Lady Mats.
The AWC lead ballooned to 55-31 after Maria Marquez knocked down a three near the end of the quarter. She finished with 11 points.
The Lady Matador lead stayed comfortably between 25 and 30 points throughout the fourth quarter.
Rebecca Herrera led TOCC with 18 points.
AWC is home on Saturday night to host Phoenix College. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm, and tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and military members. Children 12 and under and AWC students and staff (with current school ID) get in for FREE!
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.