Lady Aztecs basketball drops close game at Mesa
The Pima Community College women’s basketball team (6-5, 4-2 in conference) played a tight game at No. 9 Mesa Community College on Saturday but came up short in this rivalry game. This was the first meeting between these two teams since last’s year Region I, Division II finals meeting when Mesa eliminated the Aztecs.
The No. 12 Aztecs lost 83-82 in overtime, snapping their four-game winning streak.
Rachel Williams’ (Cesar Chavez HS) defensive pressure forced Mesa to turn the ball over which made the Thunderbirds call timeout with 12.4 seconds left. The Aztecs inbounded the ball but Mesa forced Felicia Foster (Peoria HS) to turn it over to end the game.
With the game tied at 67-67 with 4:47 left in the second half, the Aztecs went on a 7-0 run with a Williams’ three-pointer, a jumper by Foster and an offensive rebound put back by Moreno-Ross to take a 74-67 lead with 3:03 left. Pima led 76-71 after Foster hit a pair of free throws with 1:02 left. Mesa would convert on a few buckets which included a put-back score to force overtime.
Mesa held a seven-point lead on two occasions in the first half, but the Aztecs stayed close and tied the game at 43-43 after Raja Moreno-Ross hit two free throws. In the second half, Pima turned the tables and held a slim lead throughout the period.
Pima had five players score in double figures led by Foster, who scored 19 points with seven rebounds and four assists. Williams scored 13 of her 15 points off the bench in the second half and overtime. Julia Cooper (Catalina Foothills HS) finished with 13 points while Moreno-Ross and Melody McLaughlin (Marana Mountain View) each had 12. Moreno-Ross also had 10 rebounds.
“Another instant classic in the Pima/Mesa rivalry,” Pima head coach Todd Holthaus said. “Out of the disappointment, we realized that we can go toe-to-toe with the same team that finished national runner-up.”
The Aztecs will play at Central Arizona College in Coolidge on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.