Rebound, Rebound, Rebound

PHOENIX, Ariz. – Not shooting well? Grab offensive rebounds. The Arizona Western College women’s basketball team (17-8 overall, 12-5 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) only shot 36% from the floor on Saturday night, but the team combined to snag 23 offensive rebounds. All those extra possessions helped the team pull out a 69-62 win at Phoenix College (12-13 overall, 7-10 ACCAC).

Gloria Mulumba dominated the interior and bulldozed her way to 11 offensive rebounds and 20 rebounds total. She added 12 points and got the team rolling in the first quarter.

Mulumba scored six points in the first quarter as the two teams came out of the gate trading buckets. She had the team’s first five points for a 5-4 lead just a couple minutes into the game.

With less than four minutes to go in the first quarter, Nicole Smith scored a layup, and Mulumba added a free throw one possession later for a 12-8 lead. Raven Roberts put AWC up 14-10 with a pair of free throws near the end of the quarter.

In the second quarter, Theyoung Puoy powered the team’s offense. The sophomore scored four quick points for an eight point lead, and she had nine in the quarter. She led AWC with 16 points.

Phoenix cut the AWC lead to 20-17 a few minutes later, but the Lady Mats responded. RJ Blackburn drove and scored a left-handed layup to end a 7-2 PC run.

It started an 11-3 run for the Lady Mats that Nicole Smith capped with an offensive rebound and layup. That bucket put AWC up 31-20 with 2:31 to go in the first half.

The two sides traded buckets through the rest of the first half, and AWC led 39-29 at the break.

The Lady Mats were cold in the third quarter. Blackburn hit a three for a 42-29 lead, but Phoenix rattled off six straight points to climb back within single digits.

Puoy scored, and Rei Imamura drained a three to push the lead back to double digits, 47-35, but Phoenix didn’t’ go away. The Lady Bears pulled within six points, 47-41, with 2:09 to go in the quarter.

Mulumba went 3-4 from the free throw line over the next two possessions, and Raven Roberts completed a three-point play with 34.3 seconds left in the quarter for a 53-41 lead.

Arizona Western led for the entire fourth quarter, but Phoenix rallied inside the last three minutes. After Puoy hit a free throw to put AWC up 64-56 with 2:11 to play, Phoenix scored four points to make it a four-point game, 64-60, with 57 seconds.

Roberts hit a free throw for AWC, but Phoenix’s Jasmine Covington made a pair of free throws that cut it to 65-62 with 30 seconds to play. She led all scorers with 18 points.

Roberts and Puoy combined to go 4-4 from the free throw line to close out the game.

Blackburn added eight points and eight rebounds for the Lady Mats. Rei Imamura, Roberts and Destiny Gonzalez also had eight points.

The Lady Mats are headed back to Yuma to host Central Arizona on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m. Tickets are only $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and military members. Children 12 and under and AWC students and staff (with current school ID) get in for FREE!

Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,300 certificates and degrees in 2016-17.


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