Arizona Western uses quick start to dispatch of South Georgia Tech, 60-46.
LUBBOCK, Texas – Arizona Western College got 18 points from Teresa Da Silva and used a strong start to stave off an upset bid by South Georgia Tech College as the No. 8 seeded Matadors captured a 60-46 victory in the second around of the NJCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship on Thursday at the Rip Griffin Center.
Christeina Bryan added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Matadors (30-2), who watched No. 1 seed Three Rivers in the game previous get off to a horrid start and fall victim to the upset. Arizona Western would not repeat the feat as it opened the game on a 10-0 run and never trailed.
“We came out ready and have worked hard all season,” Da Silva said. “This season we’ve worked so hard to get here, and it was an exciting moment to come out and play and show out what we can do.”
With the win, the Matadors advance to Friday’s quarterfinals to face Tyler Junior College (25-8), the team that bounced the No. 1 seed earlier in the day, at 1 p.m. South Georgia Tech ends its season at 27-7.
The Jets had a shot to get back into the game in the fourth quarter and used an 8-2 run to cut the lead to nine at 49-40 with 6:18 to play. But Arizona Western finished the game on a 11-6 run to seal the win.
“The kids came out focused and ready,” Arizona Western head coach Patrick Cunningham said. “I thought we were relaxed and got into a good comfort level there in the first quarter. That really helped us. In our regional championship game, we got down 9-0 as well so when you go through something like that you don’t want to do it again. The kids were just prepared, and they were comfortable.”
Faith Silva chipped in 10 points for the Matadors, who finished 9 of 30 from 3-point range while outscoring South Georgia Tech 32-24 in the paint. Defensively the Matadors held the Jets to 1-for-11 shooting from 3-point range and 25 points below their season average.
“Just sticking to our gameplan, and (we) remember that any team can come back from any type of lead,” Da Silva said. “We just stayed down and remembered our game plan and played hard.”
Much like the previous game, one team in this one got out to a huge lead. This time, however, it was the higher seed as No. 8 Arizona Western jumped out on South Georgia Tech early, scoring the first 10 points of the game and never trailing the rest of the way.
The Matadors came out on fire from outside as Da Silva and Buse Utku combined for a pair of long-range shots, and Faith Silva added a 3-pointer from the key, Miza Gilbert added a layup before South Georgia Tech could get on the board.
The Jets then spent the rest of the first half chasing – but not really catching – the Matadors. SGT finished 8 of 30 from the field in the first half, including an 0-for-8 mark from 3-point range, and were decidedly outrebounded 3=26-19.
South Georgia Tech struggled containing the Arizona Western shooters. The Matadors hot 13 of 33 from the field in the first half and were 5 of 16 from 3.
Da Silva finished with 12 points in the first half to lead Arizona Western while Alexia Dizeko led South Georgia Tech with 10.
Arizona Western got two quick buckets from Silva to push the lead to 20 at 40-20 to start the second half before South Georgia Tech went on a 9-0 run to cut its deficit to 11. The Jets would get as close as nine at 49-40 before the Matadors sealed the win with a 9-0 run to push their advantage to 58-40 with under two minutes to play.
Dizeko led the Jets with 14 points.