Lady T-Birds basketball escaped with a 58-57 victory over the Cochise Apaches on Nov. 16 at Theo J. Heap Gymnasium.
It was the fourth consecutive win for Mesa to bring their record to 4-0 overall in the regular season.
Sophomore forward Madison Austin led all scorers with 21 points on 8 of 26 shooting followed by sophomore shooting guard Peace Amukamara’s 15 points on 5 of 19 shooting.
“We just focus on the first five minutes and the last minute and we knew that defensive rebounds were going to win us the game,” Austin said, “I want to contribute as much as I can to help us win the game.”
Mesa struggled early as the Apaches went on a 7-0 run into the first minutes.
Despite The Lady T-Birds shooting 28.6 percent from the field, Mesa went into the locker room only down 33-30.
“We had a lot of patience and we kept telling people to keep shooting,” said freshman guard Megan Gillespie.
In the second half Cochise went on a 8-0 run, but the Lady T-Birds responded with a 9-0 run to take a 47-46 lead from a layup by Gillespie.
When Cochise regained the lead, Mesa scored six consecutive points to make it 54-51 T-Birds with 4:09 left in the second half.
Cochise went up 57-56 with 2:01 left and the Mesa took a timeout to discuss strategy.
The next possession for Mesa freshman guard Erica Vasquez made two critical free throws giving the lead to Mesa for good with 1:53 left to play.
In the final 15.7 seconds, Cochise drew up a play that left the Apaches with a good look at the three-pointer that missed, but the Apaches got the offensive rebound and then missed a layup at the end of regulation.
Gillespie’s defense was what caused the missed layup in the closing seconds.
“I think we just altogether played really good team defense and I just went straight up and then hope she didn’t make it and she missed,” Gillespie said.
Immediately afterwards, the Lady T-Birds celebrated and so did the fans.
There were 12 lead changes and four times the two teams were tied throughout the afternoon.
Some positives were the 24 points off of the 23 turnovers Mesa forced, 28 points in the paint, and 14 fast break points.
The defense going into this game had only allowed 51.3 points per game in the previous three games and has been reliable in the team’s success up to this point in the season.
The Lady T-Birds’ next home game is against the Pima Aztecs at Heap Gymnasium and is scheduled for Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.