Strong First

YUMA, Ariz. – After three straight slow starts, the Arizona Western College women’s basketball team used a first quarter rally to blow a game wide open. The Lady Mats went on a 17-2 run to take a double digit lead that they would never relinquish on Saturday night. AWC won 77-57 over Phoenix College to stay right in the thick of the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference playoff race.

AWC’s Mathilde Diop broke a 4-4 tie with a three from the left side two minutes into the game. That three sparked the 17-2 run that saw six AWC (18-7 overall, 13-4 ACCAC) players score as the team built a 21-6 lead by the end of the first quarter. Sharice Kawakami capped the run with a runner off the backboard.

In the second quarter, Phoenix scored five quick points to cut the lead to 13. Audrey Mulumba found Maria Marquez on a backdoor cut for a layup to end the Phoenix spurt and start a 16-3 AWC run. Diop punctuated it with her second three and a 40-14 lead. Diop finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Marquez then drained a three at the buzzer to end the first half. The Lady Mats led 47-24 at the break, and 10 players had scored in the half.

Phoenix was aggressive in the third quarter and trimmed the lead to 51-35 a little more than halfway through the frame. Diop knocked down a layup to start a seven point AWC spurt. During the run, Krisynthia Sampson hit a three as the shot clock expired, and Marquez added another layup to push the lead back to 25. By the end of the quarter, AWC led 62-37.

Sampson kept the offense afloat in the fourth quarter for AWC. She scored seven of her 18 points in the quarter. The sophomore finished with a team-high 10 rebounds and four assists on the night. Phoenix never got within less than 18 in the quarter.

Alexis Delgado scored 22 points to lead Phoenix, but she went 8-26 from the floor due to heavy pressure all game from the Arizona Western defense.

The Lady Mats head out to Central Arizona College for an important matchup on Wednesday, February 15. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm, and the game will be broadcast on 560 AM KBLU.

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.

--MATADORS--

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