Women's Basketball | 01/21/2021

Lady Mats Lose Back and Forth Battle in Opener

YUMA, Ariz. – While it took a few quarters to get going, the Arizona Western Lady Matadors showcased flashes of an unstoppable offense but a few key sequences were their undoing in a 71-70 loss at Utah State University Eastern in the season opener in Price, Utah Thursday night.

Both teams worked off the rust in the opening quarter, but the Matadors showed flashes of what was to come with 3 three-pointers with AWC holding a 12-10 lead at the end of the first.

The offenses would loosen up as Teresa Da Silva and Faith Silva connected on a few three’s for Arizona Western. But USUE built an edge heading into the half. The Matadors appeared to tie the game with just seconds before the half when a corner three bounced off the top of the backboard and rolled in. However, the officials heard the complaints of the USUE coaching staff after the play and overturned the three-pointer, negating the basket and the tie while determining the ball actually hit the shot clock.

The Matadors went in the half trailing 29-26.

The Matador offense caught fire in the third quarter behind Da Silva and Silva. Mizha Gilberto  also connected on two of three from the outside as AWC pulled within a point in the final quarter.

The lead would change hands multiple times down the stretch but AWC found themselves down one point inside the final minute.

Buse Utku hit an elbow from the jumper with 27 seconds left to give AWC a 70-69 lead but Kacelyn Toomer answered on the next possession with a bank shot from the right block to put the Matadors at a one point deficit with nine seconds remaining in regulation.

Teresa Da Silva’s final shot, fell just short and the Matadors dropped the opening game 71-70.

Silva finished as the game’s leading scorer with 23 points while Da Silva contributed 14. Utku finished with 8 points, 7 assists, and six rebounds. Imani Mitchell and Christein Bryan combined for 17 points off the bench.

Arizona Western will bounce right back to play Salt Lake Community College Friday night at 5:00pm. And they will wrap up their trip with a chance to avenge their loss to USUE Saturday morning at 11:00am.

Both games can be streamed for purchase at the Scenic West website.

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.