COOLIDGE, Ariz. – With four minutes to play, the Arizona Western College women’s basketball team seemed left for dead at Central Arizona College. Down 59-50, the offense and defense were both out of sync. The Lady Mats reeled off a 16-4 run to close the game for a massive 66-63 win. AWC swept Central Arizona for the first time in the team’s history this season.
Krisynthia Sampson came up clutch with less than 10 seconds to play for AWC (19-7 overall, 14-4 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference). The sophomore forward ripped the ball out of Robin Butler’s hands after a missed shot and hit a layup to put the Lady Mats up 65-63. Sampson was one of three players with 11 points for AWC.
After Central Arizona (17-8 overall, 12-6 ACCAC) took a timeout, Sampson stifled Keshara Scott on an inbounds pass and forced a missed shot. The Lady Mats cleared the rebound, and Mathilde Diop went 1-2 from the line with two seconds left for the win.
Down nine with four minutes to play, Brianna White started a run with a putback that stopped a 7-2 CAC run. It was her only bucket of the night. Diop followed it up with an aggressive layup that cut the lead to 59-54, and Destiny Gonzalez calmly sank two free throws to make it a one possession game with 2:21 to go in the game.
Tate Tsingine hit a layup for Central to put the Vaqueras up 61-56, but Gonzalez whipped a pass to Maria Marquez for a wide open three. With 49 seconds left, Marquez drilled her second three of the quarter to put AWC up 62-61. The Lady Mats hit seven three’s after halftime and 11 for the game.
Sampson then went 1-2 at the free throw line, but Jamie Young tied the game with a spinning layup. She was fouled but missed the free throw to give AWC the ball with a chance for the last shot.
At the start of the game, the action was fast and furious. AWC jumped out to a 7-2 lead after a pair of Sampson buckets with 6:39 to go in the first quarter.
Central Arizona scored six straight to retake the lead off a Robin Butler offensive rebound and layup. The two teams traded the lead over the next two minutes until Diop knocked down a three for a 12-10 AWC lead.
The lead grew to 21-14 when Diop knocked down her second three of the quarter with a little more than a minute left in the quarter. Central Arizona scored four straight to end the quarter and cut the lead to 21-18.
In the second quarter, both defenses locked in as the two teams combined for 18 points. Central went on an 8-0 run to take a 27-23 lead with 2:49 to go in the half.
Audrey Mulumba broke the drought with a big three that cut the lead to 27-26. She finished with a career high 11 points and hit three three’s.
After Central Arizona took a 29-26 lead, Sampson knocked down a layup with eight seconds to play in the half to make it 29-28.
Sharice Kawakami drilled a three two minutes into the third quarter to put AWC up 31-29. Scott tied the game at 31, and Marquez answered with a three for a 34-31 lead.
AWC was stuck at 34 for the next couple of minutes as Scott scored four of her team’s next seven points. Scott finished with 23 points. Central pushed the lead out 42-36 when Kiara Knox hit a layup.
Mulumba cut it to 42-39 with her second three of the game, and Kawakami tied it at 42 with another three. Kawakami finished with 11 points.
Central Arizona scored the final six points of the quarter to take a 48-42 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
At the start of the quarter, Sederia Carter made a nice move on the fast break and completed an and-one to trim the Central lead to 48-45. Scott responded with four straight to give CAC a 52-45 lead. Mulumba knocked down her third three of the game to cut it to 52-48, but Central managed a 7-2 run to take a 59-50 lead with four minutes left.
The Lady Mats now have the tiebreaker over both Central Arizona and Eastern Arizona with four games to play. AWC hosts Glendale Community College on Saturday at 5:30 pm. Tickets are $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.