Pima Community College sports

Pima prepares for regional tournament after loss to Eastern Arizona

Pima guard Melissa Simmons (Pima photo).

The Pima College women’s basketball team struggled Tuesday night in its final regular-season game at the Pima West Gym with the Aztecs losing to Eastern Arizona 81-45.

After the game, Pima honored the sophomores who played their last regular-season game at the gym.

“It was really emotional,” Pima guard Luisa Chavez (Rio Rico graduate) said about playing her final regular season game at Pima. “We still have a few more games left – probably like one or two. But, it was just really emotional because we had a really hard last year (due to COVID-19 restrictions), so it was tough.”

Pima was only able to play six regular season games last year due to their season being delayed because of COVID-19 related issues.

The Aztecs were outscored 43-21 in the first half and 38-24 in the second by Eastern Arizona.

Pima was not far behind in terms of field goal percentag. It shot 33 percent while the Gila Monsters shot 37 percent.

The difference was in the amount of shots attempted by each team. The Aztecs attempted 55 shots and made 18. Eastern Arizona attempted 75 shots and made 28.

Turnovers were an issue for the Aztecs as they gave the ball up 18 times compared to Eastern Arizona’s eight.

Second-chance opportunities were also costly for Pima. They could only muster five offensive rebounds while Eastern Arizona had 15.

Chavez had a team high 20 points. She also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Forward Nikya Orange (Tanque Verde) had 10 points and four rebounds,

Despite the loss, there is still plenty to look forward to as the Aztecs ended the regular season 19-10 ranked No. 10 in the NJCAA Division II standings and a No. 2 seed in the Region I, Division II tournament.

“This season was really good for us,” Chavez said. “We had ups and downs, we had injuries, we had COVID problems, but overall it was a really good season for us. We brought it together, the chemistry came in, we’re just trying to get ready for what’s next.”

Pima has plenty of experience going into this year’s regional tournament. there are a number of sophomores that played in last year’s tournament.

“We have really good experience from last year,” Chavez said. “Most of us last year went to nationals, so we know how it works. We just need to be ready.”

The Aztecs won last year’s NJCAA Division II Southwest District tournament and made it to the seventh place consolation game of the NJCAA Division II national tournament as the no. 9 seed. They lost to No. 7 seed Arkansas State Mid-South 65-47, finishing in eighth place with an overall record of 5-5.

The NJCAA Region I, Division II semifinals begin Mar. 2. The Aztecs will play Scottsdale Community College at the Pima West gym at 7 p.m. Mesa, the top seed, will host the other semifinal with Glendale. The region championship game will be March 5 at Mesa.

Pima won its last game with Scottsdale 71-66 in an overtime thriller on Feb. 12 on the road.

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