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Matador women use second half run to breeze past Artichokes
The Arizona Western women's basketball team had a stretch on Wednesday where everything came together.
The Matadors used a huge run in the second half and distanced themselves from Scottsdale Community College in a 72-39 win at The House.
Artichoke guard Camille Draper made a pair of free throws midway through the half to cut the Matador lead to 42-29 – then Arizona Western delivered the knockout. The Matadors went on a 22-0 run, including 10 points from sophomore guard Imari Lyons.
“We were moving our feet, moving with the ball and moving to the pass and talking on defense,” said Lyons, who finished with a team-high 19 points and four steals. “We saw they were down and took advantage of that. We took it at them hard and got easy buckets.”
The run, which lasted more than seven minutes, was the result of several Artichoke turnovers and visibly sucked the life out of Scottsdale.
“I think we wore them down,” Matador coach Patrick Cunningham said. “Tired bodies make mental errors, and we took advantage of that.”
Freshman post Samantha Wallace recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Matadors, who improved to 8-2 overall and 2-0 in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. Sophomore post Emilie Muanandibu added 10 points and nine rebounds and sophomore guard Nikki Villescaz chipped in 11 points – including a pair of 3-pointers in the Matadors' 22-0 run.
The interior size of the Matadors – with the Muanandibu (6-foot-4) and Wallace (6-3) – clearly affected the Artichokes, who spent most of the game settling for outside shots. Scottsdale (2-3 overall, 0-1 ACCAC) finished the night 5 for 22 from beyond the arc, including 1 of 13 in the second half, in which they only scored 14 points. However, a decent first half from the floor kept the Artichokes in the game and into halftime trailing 32-25.
“At halftime we talked about it. You keep them off the free-throw line and don't give them any free looks from the outside. We felt our defense inside that 3-point line, we'd be all right,” Cunningham said. “And 14 points in the second half is a good number.”
Scottsdale's main shooter, sophomore Mason Hawk scored 14 points in the first half but picked up her fourth foul with 1.6 seconds to go in the half. She managed to stay in the game but had a rough second half, going 1 for 11 to finish with 19 points on 6 of 22 shooting. However, by the time the Matadors blitzed the Artichokes with the big run, the game was out of reach regardless.
“We played like that at times,” Cunningham said of the second half run. “ We just got in a great rhythm defensively and offensively.”
Jesse Severson can be reached at email@example.com or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson.