YUMA, Ariz. – A 22 point lead evaporated into thin air after halftime for the Arizona Western College women’s basketball team, but the Lady Mats (11-5 overall, 6-2 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) rallied for a win. AWC took out Glendale Community College (8-6 overall, 4-4 ACCAC) to stay within striking distance of the top spot in the conference.
AWC seemed to be in control with a dominant 29-7 lead at halftime. The defense limited Glendale to three made shots, and the offense overcame early turnovers to get in a rhythm.
After halftime though, Glendale took advantage of Arizona Western’s worst quarter of the season. The Gauchos outscored the Lady Mats 30-7 in what felt like an avalanche.
Glendale slowly trimmed the lead to 33-20 with 4:05 to go in the quarter. Then the Gauchos reeled off 10 straight points in two and a half minutes to cut the lead to 33-30. Ella Segal scored five of the 10 for Glendale, and she had 15 for the game.
AWC’s Aimee Brett drained a three from the corner to stop the run momentarily and push the lead to 36-30, but Glendale ended the quarter on a 7-0 run. Tierney DeDonatis hit a shot, Segal scored off an offensive rebound, and Mary Faulkner hit a three with 10 seconds left. Faulkner’s three gave Glendale its first lead of the game, 37-36.
After Glendale started the fourth quarter with a DeDonatis bucket, AWC responded with four straight points. Destiny Gonzalez made a shot off a feed from Rei Imamura, and then Raven Roberts hit a bucket from a nice pass by Brett.
Glendale scored to retake the lead, but Gonzalez and Gloria Mulumba each scores layups on a pass from the other to give AWC the lead for good, 44-41. Mulumba led the Lady Mats with 11 points and 12 rebounds, and Gonzalez added 10 points and six boards.
The Gauchos closed the gap to 47-46 a few minutes later, but Imamura hit a huge three to put AWC up 50-46 with 2:45 to play. AWC’s defense started to lock down, and Glendale couldn’t get anything to drop for the next 90 seconds.
Meanwhile, Mulumba scored three points, and Roberts added a free throw for a 54-46 lead with 1:28 to go.
AWC struggled a little from the line down the stretch, but Glendale didn’t make any shots to take advantage. With 18 seconds left, tensions boiled over. DeDonatis and Roberts were both ejected from the contest with AWC holding a 57-49 lead.
At the start of the game, neither side could hit a shot. AWC broke through first, and the defense snuffed out Glendale’s offense as the team opened up a 17-2 lead. Seven players scored in the first quarter for the Lady Mats.
Both sides started slowly in the second quarter as well, but Josselyn Morris scored six of the team’s 12 points as AWC took a 29-7 lead at the half. Morris finished with nine points and five rebounds before fouling out.
The Lady Mats are headed to Scottsdale Community College on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 6:00 p.m. following the men’s contest at 4:00, 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 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.