Women's Basketball | 04/06/2021

Matadors Knock Out Central

Team Score
Arizona Western College 65
Central Arizona College 64

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COOLIDGE, Ariz---Mizha Gilberto's three in the final minute net the Arizona Western Lady Matadors (6-8 overall) their first lead since midway through the third quarter, en route to knocking out the Central Arizona Vaqueras (7-4 overall) 65-64 in the Region I Semifinal Tuesday night at Central Arizona College.

Arizona Western battled back and forth with the Vaqueras early on with Faith Silva scoring 14 of her team high 18 points in the first half and the Matadors holding a 34-31 edge at the half.

But Central came out firing in the second half, starting the third quarter on a 25-9 run. But the Matadors came up with a crucial stretch at the end of the period, with a mini-run of 6-0 to limit the deficit to seven at the start of the fourth.

Neither team found much rhythm at the beginning of the final period which ended up favoring the Matadors. AWC held Central to just two field goals over the final ten minutes and turned much of their stout defense into offense.

With Arizona Western inching closer down the stretch, Gilberto had already hit one three when the Matadors were down two points at 62-60. In the final minute, Gilberto knocked down a go-ahead three giving the Matadors a 63-62 advantage with 27 seconds left.

Central did have plenty of chances at the free throw line with ACCAC Player of the Year Denali Hughes shooting 9 of her 16 free-throws in the fourth quarter, but making just four in the period.

Overall, Central had 26 free-throw attempts to the Matadors 16 as the game became increasingly physical down low.

But as was the case early in the year when the Matadors made three's, even though Gilberto's two triples were the only of the second half for AWC, they found enough offense at the right time to pull out the victory.

Silva led the Matadors with 18 points. Hughes had a game high 32 for Central.

Gilberto finished with 15 points while Da Silva chipped in 11.

Its the first win over Central Arizona for AWC since 2001, the third year of the Women's Basketball program, and the first post-season win at Coolidge in program history.

Remarkably, it was the first game the Lady Matadors have played in nearly a month, since a March 10th victory in Yuma over Cochise.

Arizona Western will aim to continue the road warrior mentality when they head to Thatcher, Arizona on Friday night at 7:00pm for the Region I Final against Eastern Arizona. The game will be streamed by the Eastern Arizona College Athletic Department.

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