SIGNAL PEAK — The top three scorers for the Central Arizona College women’s basketball team definitely made their presence known in Wednesday night’s game against Arizona Western.
Ayanna Clark, Mikayla Pippin and Denali Hughes combined for 67 points as the No. 13 Vaqueras remained undefeated in Arizona Community College Athletic Conference play with an 85-69 victory at the George Young Activity Center.
Pippin, the No. 3 scorer in the conference with a 17.9 average, led the way with 25 points. Clark, who leads the ACCAC with a 20.5 average, scored 22. Hughes provided 20 points, topping her average of 14.4.
Central (17-3, 12-0 ACCAC) overcame an early 8-4 deficit by closing the first quarter with a 14-4 run to take a 27-16 lead. The Vaqueras were up 49-37 at halftime and 68-55 heading into the final period.
The Matadors (11-9, 6-6) closed to within six points after CAC took a 17-point lead in the second quarter and narrowed the deficit to seven on two occasions in the third. But the Vaqueras responded by taking a 21-point lead at 76-55 with 6:20 remaining.
“We allowed way too many open shots, which was not part of the game plan,” CAC coach Denise Cardenas said. “We let them stick around and we didn’t rebound like we should have.
“But we still found our strength when things got chaotic. We made the extra pass to find people to put it in the bucket and we also crashed the offensive boards. Our second-chance effort was really good.”
In addition to finishing with a 23-9 advantage in second-chance points, the Vaqueras outscored Western 19-9 in points off turnovers.
Pippin, who scored 18 points in the first half, made four of Central’s seven 3-pointers. Clark, named ACCAC Division I player of the week for the second straight week and third time this season, had 12 points in the second half.
Pippin’s third 3-pointer of the night extended CAC’s lead to 35-18 with 8:01 left in the second quarter and capped a 22-6 surge. The Vaqueras, who defeated the Matadors 108-93 in their first meeting on Nov. 20, began the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run. Hughes ended it with a second-chance basket to give Central its largest lead.
The Vaqueras shot 44 percent from the field, going 34 of 77 overall and 7 for 22 on 3-pointers.
Arianna Pagan scored 15 points and Harria Mendoza had 12 for Western. The Matadors shot 42 percent, going 25 of 60 overall and 9 for 26 on 3-pointers.
NOTE — Saturday’s home game against Mesa will start at 6 p.m. because Cardenas is to be inducted into the Yuma Kofa High School Athletics Hall of Fame earlier in the day. Cardenas played volleyball, basketball and softball at Kofa and earned all-state honors 11 times.