Aztecs women's basketball holds off Sinclair CC to take fifth place at NJCAA tourney; Nakai named to All-Tournament team

The Aztecs women's basketball team claimed fifth place at the NJCAA Division II Tournament after beating Sinclair Community College 64-57. The Aztecs finished the season with a 24-12 overall record. Photo by Raymond Suarez
The Aztecs women's basketball team claimed fifth place at the NJCAA Division II Tournament after beating Sinclair Community College 64-57. The Aztecs finished the season with a 24-12 overall record. Photo by Raymond Suarez

The Pima Community College women's basketball team was in a battle in its final game of the 2018-19 season to close out the NJCAA Division II Tournament.

  • The No. 6 seeded Aztecs defeated Sinclair Community College 64-57 to claim fifth place.
  • With the game tied at 55-55 with 2:54 left, the Aztecs closed it out on a 9-2 run. Sophomore Jacqulynn Nakai (Coconino HS) broke the tie with a three-pointer as the Aztecs took advantage of missed shots and two turnovers down the stretch by the Tartans.
  • The Aztecs led 43-39 after the third quarter and went on a 10-2 run to take a double digit lead at 53-41 at the 7:47 mark. The Tartans tied the game with a 14-2 run of their own in almost six minutes.
  • The Aztecs held tight to a 27-26 lead at halftime.
  • The Aztecs smothered Sinclair's Amanda Schroeder, who came into the game as the leading scorer in Division II at 27 points a game. Freshman Hallie Lawson (Campo Verde HS) and Marlena Arroyo-Plata (Campo Verde HS) were the primary defenders as they held her to 15 points on 6 for 16 shooting and six turnovers.
  • "Hallie Lawson did an amazing job and its not just one person but we did a good job of making sure Hallie had lots of help so she (Schroeder) didn't get loose," Pima coach Todd Holthaus said. "It might have been one of our best defensive performances. Our offense struggled a bit today but that doesn't happen very often. We found a way to win."
  • Lawson also did it on the offensive side as she finished with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
  • Nakai scored a team-high of 19 points with seven rebounds and four assists. She was named to the NJCAA Division II All-Tournament team and closed her Pima career with a program-record of 1,397 points.
  • "I definitely grew as a player and as a person in my two years at Pima," Nakai said. "Getting all the knowledge from the coaches, especially Ros (Jim Rosborough). He taught me so much over the two years."
  • Sophomore RyLeigh Long finished with 11 points while freshman Alyssa Perez (Marana HS) had eight points and 10 rebounds. Perez, who is 5'7" averaged 8.3 rebounds in the four games.

The Aztecs finished the season with an overall record of 24-12; their biggest win total since the 2015-16 season. They had eight sophomores on this year's team.