Ed Petruska-Pinal Central
SIGNAL PEAK — Nothing came easy for the Central Arizona College women's basketball team in Tuesday night's 72-59 victory over Arizona Western at the George Young Activity Center.
The Vaqueras fought through 30 turnovers to win their home debut, which also was their Arizona Community College Athletic Conference opener. Central (4-1) never trailed and held the Matadors (1-3, 0-1) to a .313 shooting percentage.
"I'm glad we got the win but I wasn't pleased at all," CAC coach Denise Cardenas said. "We were inconsistent, we couldn't get comfortable and everybody got in foul trouble. We've got a lot of work to do."
After building an 18-point lead in the third quarter, the Vaqueras allowed Western to close within nine in the fourth quarter. But Central held off the Matadors by going 9 for 10 from the line in the final period and 24 of 29 overall.
Western failed to take full advantage of CAC's shortcomings, scoring just 16 points off turnovers and going 13 for 30 on free throws. The Vaqueras converted 21 AWC turnovers into 22 points and shot 46 percent from the field.
Ayanna Clark finished with a game-high 23 points for the Vaqueras, notching eight in both the first and third quarters. Megan Guadian knocked down four of CAC's six 3-pointers and scored 16 points. Makayla Pippin had 13 points, going 9 for 10 from the line.
Morticia McCall, one of Central's best players, missed the game with a hip injury. She is out indefinitely, Cardenas said.
Mar Ibern came off the bench to lead the Matadors with 19 points. Mone Izumi finished with 15.
The Vaqueras have held opponents under 60 points in three of their first four games. They led 18-11 after one quarter, 36-25 at halftime and 51-38 heading into the final period.
The Vaqueras took their largest lead of the first half at 35-21 on Kenya Henderson's 3-point play with 1:55 left in the second quarter.
Pippin's 3-pointer with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter extended the lead to 47-29, and Guadian's basket with 3:42 left in the period made it 49-31.
Izumi's 3-pointer with 2:07 remaining in the fourth pulled the Matadors within 63-54. After she hit another trey with 27 seconds left to make it 68-59, Central got two free throws from Guadian and a basket from Alyssa Estrada to secure the victory.