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Matador women drop second straight
No hot streak this time. No defensive clamp down. No comeback.
Just a second straight loss to a conference power and the most lopsided defeat since 2009.
The Arizona Western women's basketball team struggled from buzzer to buzzer against second-place Cochise in a 69-38 loss Saturday at The House, days after losing to first-place Central Arizona.
“We literally watched Cochise play a really good ball game,” AWC coach Patrick Cunningham said. “We had no interest in playing tonight. We lacked competitive spirit. Hopefully, it's lesson learned.”
AWC had won six straight in the series, including the NJCAA Region I Division I semifinal last year in Yuma, in which the Matadors trailed 28-16 in the first half but held the Apaches to two second-half buckets.
The Matadors (11-5 overall, 4-3 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) never led in the game Saturday and were losing before the tipoff. They were called for an administrative technical for an equipment malfunction and Ashley Mitchell made both free-throws before the game started.
Cochise (14-2, 7-1) used an early 12-0 run to go up 18-5, and the Matadors never closer than seven. The Apaches led by double digits throughout the second half.
“We didn't play on Wednesday, so we had five days of practice to prepare,” Cochise coach Laura Hughes said. “We really focus (on) taking away Western's inside game, collapse inside as much as possible. And they're a great defensive team. We spent all week working on their trap, and our team executed the game plan.”
AWC was coming off a loss to Central Arizona Wednesday, and had the game tied late before losing 58-54.
“We lost by four to the No. 8 team in the country with chances to win,” Cunningham said. “Our problem is we lack competitive spirit right now. We're not willing to compete, and we're very capable of that right now. It's something we have to try to work on.”
The loss was the biggest since a 85-53 loss at Pima on Nov. 21, 2009.
“The mind of the 18- and 20-year-old – it's going to be interesting to see if we toughen up mentally,” Cunningham said. “That's all it takes. Teams play hard and physical, we lack interest right now. So we're going to need to toughen up and play physical when the game is physical.”
Four Apaches reached double figures, while Samantha Wallace led the Matadors with 10. She and Emilie Muanandibu tied for the team lead with five rebounds as Cochise finished with a 33-17 edge on the glass, including 14-6 on offensive rebounds.
“It's an exciting win for our program,” said Hughes, in her second year with the program. “I'm not sure the last time Cochise beat Western, it's probably been a while. We're just trying to go one game at a time. I'm excited, it's a good win against a Division I opponent, but it's one game at a time.”