Tucson, AZ –The Pima Community College women’s basketball team is heading back to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament.
The No. 1 seeded Aztecs defeated No. 3 Scottsdale Community College 59-50 to claim the NJCAA Region I, Division II title. The Aztecs went to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in 2020-21 and last captured the region crown in 2019-20.
The Aztecs trailed the entire first quarter and fell behind 15-6 at one point. Sophomore Angel Addleman (Palo Verde HS) had a three-point play but Scottsdale scored the last bucket of the quarter to make it 21-13.
The Aztecs chipped away and went on a 9-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 22-21 after sophomore Luisa Chavez (Rio Rico HS) hit a three-pointer with 4:43 left. Though the Aztecs held the Artichokes to 0 for 11 shooting in the quarter, they trailed 25-22 at the break.
The Aztecs found their rhythm in the third quarter and continued to force Scottsdale’s shooting woes as they went on a 16-5 run. Sophomore Torrance Begay (Page HS) hit a pair of free throws and converted on a three-point play to make it 38-30 with 2:21 left in the quarter. Scottsdale went 1 for 15 from the field in the third quarter and scored their first field goal in 19 minutes at the 1:55 mark of the third. The Aztecs took a 42-32 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Aztecs took their biggest lead of the game when Chavez scored under the basket to make it 54-40 with 4:51 left. The Artichokes made one last effort as they went on an 8-0 run to cut Pima’s lead to 54-48 with 2:58 remaining. Scottsdale cut it to six points again at 56-50 but freshman Taina Lee hit a pair of free throws and Chavez drained one more with 12.5 seconds left.
“This feels gratifying because this group of kids has been a blast to coach and I wanted it for them because they deserve it. They dug in and got it done,” Pima women’s basketball coach Todd Holthaus said. “Scottsdale came out pumped up and ready to go as they should. They hit some shots early and I knew that if we would just keep doing what we’re supposed to do, play good defense, that it would figure itself out. We shot terribly the first half and I knew that once we made some shots that we’d be okay. No matter how poorly we shoot, we could always play good defense. I’m proud of them for that.”
Chavez finished with a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Addleman also scored 16 points as she also added seven rebounds. Addleman was named the NJCAA Region I, Division II Finals MVP.
“There are no words. We were really working hard to get here and it’s been worth it,” Addleman said. “In the locker room, we talked about shutting them down defensively, rebounding and getting it inside. Those were the main things. We encouraged each other, getting on each other’s case but in a good way. We picked up our effort and made it happen.”
Begay was a force on the glass as she posted 11 points and 14 rebounds. She also finished 7 for 7 from the free throw line.
“I felt we were pretty big on the inside so we took advantage of that; mostly in the third quarter.” Begay said. “It’s hard beating a team twice, let alone three times. They (Scottsdale) brought it to us, it was a good game and we came out with the win.”
Freshman Dominique Acosta (Nogales HS) had six points and 10 rebounds.
The Aztecs will play in the NJCAA Division II National Tournament at the SC4 Fieldhouse in Port Huron, MI from March 21-25.
SCC 21 4 7 18 50
PCC 13 9 20 17 59
Press Release courtesy of Pima Athletics – Raymond Suarez