Women's Basketball | 01/07/2017
YUMA, Ariz. – A humongous second quarter propelled the Arizona Western College women’s basketball team to a huge win on Saturday night. The Lady Mats outscored Central Arizona 31-19 in the frame (while shooting 67% in the first half) before holding on to win 75-70.
With AWC (11-4 overall, 6-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) up 28-26 early in the second quarter, Sharice Kawakami caught fire. The sophomore guard jumpstarted a 12-3 run with five points that pushed the lead to double digits at 40-29.
Central Arizona (10-4 overall, 5-2 ACCAC) trimmed the lead to six with a Tate Tsingine three with 3:20 to go in the half, but the Lady Mats answered. Brianna White tossed a perfect pass to Krisynthia Sampson for a layup to quell any Central run.
With 50 seconds to go in the half, Kawakami drained her second three of the quarter to push the lead to 52-38. Central answered with four points to cut the lead to 10, but Kawakami hit two free throws with 0.7 seconds left to push the lead back to 12. She finished with 17 points and two assists.
In the second half, the game slowed down as both offenses went cold and couldn’t keep possession. The two teams combined for 29 turnovers and shot less than 31% from the floor as the quick pace of the first half took its toll.
Neither side hit a shot during the first six minutes of the third quarter. Central Arizona trimmed the lead to single digits with three free throws, but AWC’s Destiny Gonzalez took the lid off the basket briefly with an offensive rebound and putback that made it 56-45.
With 48 seconds left in the quarter, Kiara Knox trimmed the AWC lead to 61-52 after grabbing an offensive rebound and laying it in. Sampson put the Lady Mats back up by 10 at 62-52 once she hit a free throw with nine seconds to play in the quarter. She led the team with 19 points.
CAC’s defense locked in once again to start the fourth quarter and held AWC to two buckets over the first five-and-a-half minutes. Meanwhile, the Vaqueras attacked the basket and started whittling away the double-digit lead. With 3:45 to go in the game, Knox hit a putback to cut the lead to 66-65. She finished with 21 points and nine rebounds.
Maria Marquez answered with a monster three from the corner for the Lady Mats to push the lead back to four. She finished with eight points, four rebounds and three assists.
Both sides went scoreless for the next minute until Brianna White finished off a nice pass from Mathilde Diop to put AWC up 71-65 with 1:55 to play.
Central Arizona wasn’t quite through yet though, and a full court press forced a couple of turnovers. Robin Butler hit a layup that made it a one-possession game at 73-70 with 37 seconds left.
Sampson pushed the lead back to two possessions by coolly knocking down two free throws with 35 seconds to play. On the following possession, Knox turned the ball back over to AWC with 20 seconds left. The Lady Mats were able to close out the game after that.
The team heads to Glendale Community College on Wednesday, January 11. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm, 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 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.