Ed Petruska-Casa Grande Dispatch/Pinal Central
SIGNAL PEAK — Playing without two starters did not noticeably hamper the Central Arizona College women's basketball team on Wednesday night.
The Vaqueras won their sixth consecutive game, defeating Phoenix 83-69 at the George Young Activity Center. Central (7-2, 4-0 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) pulled away from the Bears (5-4, 2-2) with a 17-4 run in the fourth quarter that extended its lead to a game-high 19 points.
"Phoenix is always going to play hard," CAC coach Denise Cardenas said. "They're going to keep coming at you. I was worried about matching their energy because I knew they were going to bring it."
Kiara Knox, the ACCAC's top scorer at 19.8 points per game, did her part with 22 points. Jamie Young supplied 13, as did fill-in starter Kaosarat Onikoyi and reserve Juliet Currency. Reserve Jerraysha Smith, who had 26 points in Saturday's 107-35 blowout of Tohono O'odham, contributed nine against the Bears.
Jazmine Covington had 20 points and Lacey Miles scored 16 for Phoenix, whose coach is former CAC superstar Kristi Kincaid.
The Vaqueras led 17-13 after one quarter and 37-36 at halftime. They were up by 12 points in the second period before the Bears closed with a 14-2 surge that included three 3-pointers.
Central took a 13-point lead at 62-49 with 37.8 seconds left in the third quarter on a second-chance basket by Cassandra Gonzalez. But the Bears battled back, closing within 62-56 on Miles' basket to begin the final period.
Phoenix then went 1 for 15 from the field and 1 for 4 from the line on its next 13 possessions. Knox scored six points, Currency had four and Young hit a 3-pointer during the ensuing 17-4 run that boosted CAC's lead to 79-60 with 2:07 remaining.
"We were running a new defense," Cardenas said. "We made some adjustments at halftime and the girls really came through in the fourth quarter."
The Bears shot 4 for 19 from the field in the fourth and 22 of 67 for the game (33 percent). They went 8 for 20 on 3-pointers.
After going 6 for 14 from the floor in the opening period, the Vaqueras went 9 for 20 in the second, 9 for 18 in the third and 10 for 18 in the fourth to finish at 49 percent.
Central outscored Phoenix 14-3 in second-chance points and 13-10 in points off turnovers.