The Pima Community College women's basketball team (22-11) overcame its first hurdle to open the NJCAA Division II Tournament on Tuesday.
- The No. 6 seeded Aztecs rallied to beat No. 11 seed Lake Michigan College 81-79 in the first round of the tournament.
- The Aztecs led 79-76 with 44 seconds to play. After a Pima turnover, the Red Hawks (27-6) missed a three-pointer and freshman Haile Gleason pulled down a huge defensive rebound. She was fouled and converted on both free throws to make it 81-76 with 20.8 seconds left. The Red Hawks hit a three-pointer to make it 81-79 and called a timeout at the 14.5 second mark. The Aztecs turned the ball over on the inbounds and forced a missed three-pointer at the buzzer.
- "They had some jitters obviously. We've been in this position before and we've come back and that's where the season serves you well in terms of getting that game experience," Pima coach Todd Holthaus said. "They talked about that in the huddle going into the fourth quarter. We just had to keep going."
- The Aztecs trailed 63-54 with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter but sophomore Shauna Bribiescas (Dobson HS) helped spark an 8-0 run in two minutes to cut Lake Michigan's lead to 63-62. Down 70-68, sophomore RyLeigh Long hit a three-pointer to give the Aztecs a 71-70 lead with 3:31 left. The Aztecs turned it into a 9-1 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 77-70 with 1:56 remaining.
- Bribiescas scored 12 of her 16 points in the fourth quarter and secured her 12th double-double of the season as she finished with 11 rebounds.
- "We trailed behind the whole game but in the fourth quarter we started playing together, moving the ball, getting it inside, pounding it and making free throws. We withstood their pressure and got the win," Bribiescas said. "I had an advantage with my speed inside."
- Sophomore Jacqulynn Nakai (Coconino HS) finished with a game-high 25 points to go along with eight rebounds. She went 9 for 15 from the field.
- Long went 3 for 4 from three-point range and finished with 10 points and six assists. Gleason and freshman Hallie Lawson (Campo Verde HS) each contributed with 10 points.
- The lead changes seven times in the first half and neither team held a double digit lead for the game.
The Aztecs return to the court on Wednesday when they play No. 3 Kansas City Kansas Community College (29-4) in the quarterfinals. Tipoff is at 6:00 p.m. (CT); 4:00 p.m. (MST).
LMC 23 18 19 19 79
PCC 27 15 12 27 81