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Vaqueras roll past Eastern Arizona

Alexia Marsh lays it in versus Eastern Arizona in Vaqueras win.
Alexia Marsh lays it in versus Eastern Arizona in Vaqueras win.

Ed Petruska-Pinal Central

SIGNAL PEAK — The win came surprisingly easy for the Central Arizona College women's basketball team on Saturday.

The Vaqueras thumped Eastern Arizona 77-57 at the George Young Activity Center to pull even with the Gila Monsters for second place in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference standings.

CAC (12-6, 8-3 ACCAC) essentially sealed the outcome by outscoring Eastern 25-16 in the third quarter to take a 58-43 lead. The Vaqueras, who have won five in a row, led by 22 twice in the final period.

"I had a good feeling going in," CAC coach Denise Cardenas said. "Any time you can keep a team in the 50s, you're playing solid defense. I hope we can keep the competitive edge" for the second go-round of conference play, which begins Wednesday against Arizona Western in Yuma.

Central trailed conference leader Cochise by two games heading into Saturday's action.

"We have a long way to go," Cardenas said. "It's going to be a difficult road and a battle to the finish."

Eastern's point total matched a season low for a Central opponent. It was the seventh time this season the Vaqueras have held an opponent to under 60 points. They came in allowing 69.6 per game.

The Gila Monsters (12-7, 8-3 ACCAC) shot 35 percent from the field, going 20 of 57 overall and 5 of 24 on 3-pointers.

Central's Ayanna Clark scored 17 of her game-high 25 points in the second half, getting 11 in the third quarter. She was the ACCAC Division I player of the week for Jan. 7-12, the third time this season she has garnered the honor.

Megan Guadian finished with 14 points and Alexis Vaughn had 11 for the Vaqueras, who shot 38 percent from the floor. Central went 32 of 84 overall and 3 of 14 on 3-pointers.

The key to the third quarter surge was CAC's relentless offensive rebounding that led to 13 second-chance points and a defense that limited the Gila Monsters to two points on their first eight possessions.

Up 33-27 at halftime, Central began the third with a 12-2 run that included a pair of second-chance baskets by Clark. Guadian's second-chance basket extended the margin to 47-29, and another second-chance basket by Clark put the Vaqueras ahead by 18 points for the second time at 49-31 with 4:57 remaining.

Jeuzel Pollins scored on a driving layup with 4:37 left in the fourth quarter to make it 70-50. Clark's second-chance basket with 2:57 to play gave CAC a 74-52 cushion, and Alexia Marsh's basket made it 76-54 with 1:14 remaining.

There were two lead changes and one tie in the first quarter, which ended with the Vaqueras holding a 20-10 lead. Central went ahead to stay at 8-5 on Guadian's 3-pointer with 6:27 left.

Tianna Brown scored 16 points and Courtney Anderson had 10 for the Gila Monsters. Makenzie Bond, Eastern's top scorer with a 16.3 average, was limited to four points.

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