YUMA, Ariz. – First quarter blues put the Arizona Western College women’s basketball team down double digits on Wednesday night, and the Lady Mats (7-4 overall, 2-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) couldn’t scrap their way out of it. AWC lost 68-50 to Cochise College (8-2 overall, 3-1 ACCAC) after getting outscored 28-13 in the first quarter.
Live ball turnovers hurt Arizona Western in the first quarter as Cochise picked up seven steals on nine AWC turnovers. The Apaches scored 12 points off turnovers while also getting 10 second chance points.
Arizona Western did score first on a Theyoung Puoy bucket in the post, but Cochise went to work on defense and the glass. Mamita Diagne (11 points) and Awa Keita (six points) powered Cochise early.
AWC’s Nicole Smith hit a layup that cut the Cochise lead to 13-8, but Cochise responded with an 8-0 run. Keita scored four of the eight points during the run. She finished the game with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and four steals. At the end of the quarter, the Lady Mats were down 15.
Both offenses slowed down in the second quarter. After Cochise went up 32-13, the AWC offense showed a spark. Josselyn Morris hit a three that trimmed the lead to 32-18, but Cochise responded with five straight points to nullify it.
At the half, the Lady Mats were down 39-23.
In the third and fourth quarters, AWC couldn’t string together baskets and stops. Each time the Lady Mats seemed poised to chip away at the double digit lead, Cochise grabbed an offensive rebound or made a shot.
Morris and Raven Roberts both had 10 points for Arizona Western. Gloria Mulumba and Puoy finished with nine apiece.
Diagne led all scorers with 17 points.
The Lady Mats are headed to Tohono O’odham on Saturday evening. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m., 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.