Fourth-quarter run powers Pima to win over Vaqueras

Taylor Davis splits defenders in loss to Pima Wednesday night. -Oscar Perez Pinal Central
Taylor Davis splits defenders in loss to Pima Wednesday night. -Oscar Perez Pinal Central

SIGNAL PEAK — One good quarter was not sufficient to bail out the Central Arizona College women's basketball team on Wednesday night.

The Vaqueras, ranked No. 15 in the latest NJCAA Division I poll, shot just 34 percent from the field while committing 22 turnovers in a 77-71 loss to D-II Pima at the George Young Activity Center.

"We played absolutely horrible," CAC coach Denise Cardenas said. "We just couldn't seem to get our minds right."

Central (6-2, 3-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) trailed by as many as 14 points in the second quarter before going up by seven on two occasions in the fourth. But the Vaqueras, who were coming off a 62-58 win at Cochise on Saturday night, could not respond after Pima (4-5, 1-3 ACCAC) went on an 8-0 run to take a 67-60 lead with 2:27 remaining.

The loss, Cardenas said, ranks as one of the "worst" in her coaching career, mainly because losing "the games we're supposed to win bother me the most.

"I had a feeling something like this was going to happen," Cardenas said.

The Aztecs secured the upset win by going 15 for 15 from the line in the fourth quarter while outscoring the Vaqueras 32-22. Pima led 17-12 after one period and 32-19 at halftime.

Central seemingly had overcome a woeful first-half performance by outscoring the Aztecs 30-13 in the third quarter.

Jacqulynn Nakai provided a game-high 25 points for Pima, which went 8 for 16 from the field in the fourth quarter and shot 38 percent overall. Shauna Bribiescas had 13 points and Hallie Lawson scored 10.

Makayla Pippin led the Vaqueras with 18 points, followed by Ayanna Clark with 17, Alexis Vaughn with 16 and Megan Guadian with 11. Clark had 15 points in the second half.

Central shot 21 percent in the first half, going 1 for 11 in the second quarter. The Vaqueras committed 17 turnovers in the first two periods, which the Aztecs converted into 17 points.

A basket by Marlena Arroyo-Plata gave Pima its largest lead at 30-16 with 1:19 left in the second quarter.

CAC took its first lead since the first quarter at 43-42 on Clark's second-chance basket with 1:57 to play in the third quarter. Ahead 49-45 going into the fourth, the Vaqueras went up 54-47 on Vaughn's basket with 8:35 remaining.

A basket by Bribiescas produced the game's 10th and final lead change, giving Pima a 61-60 lead with 4:25 left.