In what was a heated rivalry game, the MCC women’s basketball team achieved a hard-fought victory against the No. 5 ranked Pima Aztecs, 60-58, on Feb. 25 in Theo Heap Gym. After a long game of back and forth and rallies by both teams the lady T-birds protected their late game lead and seized the top seed in the Region 1, Division 2 playoffs. Despite being down 14 points in the second quarter the T-Birds rallied back and with just under 3:30 remaining in the game the T-birds took the lead and never let go.
Not without some resistance from the Aztecs however, who put up a 3 pointer and a free throw in the final 20 seconds to narrow the Thunderbird lead to 1 point. The lady Thunderbirds received some assistance in the remaining seconds via 4 much need free throws, of which the team made one, by Allies Fuller, to push the score to 60-58. Tori Lloyd, the Thunderbirds second leading scorer over the course of the season, lead the team on Saturday night with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Anessa Glenn closely followed with a healthy 12 points and a whopping 12 rebounds. Sham Troupe and Gianna Grumbien also had good games with 9 points each. The final score was just six points under their average points per game on the season. The lady T-birds beat back the Aztecs and secured a home court advantage in the playoffs. When asked about the importance of earning home court advantage Head Coach Kori Stephenson said, “It’s so important, home court advantage is the first outcome goal we always set and then we just love to play in front of the fans.”
There is still one more regular season game for the T-Birds, on Feb. 28 at Phoenix College, but for the sophomore athletes on the team the game was their final regular season contest at home. After the game concluded the team’s graduating sophomores were honored with a small ceremony. When prompted about the win on sophomore night team captain Lloyd said, “It obviously feels good to win, especially against a top team like Pima.” The team looks to put up more wins for Lloyd and Stephenson ahead in the playoffs.