Pima Community College sports

No. 12 Pima women outlast Arizona Western in overtime to improve to 12-4

Pima’s Luisa Chavez drives toward the basket with Matehya Aberle posting up (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Coming off a loss at rival Mesa on Saturday, Todd Holthaus’ team did not have long to question itself.

Four days later, on Wednesday night at the Aztec Gym, Pima was matched against traditionally strong Arizona Western.

The 12th-ranked Aztecs overcame a five-point deficit with 3 minutes remaining in overtime to pull out the 85-81 win and improve to 12-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACCAC.

Arizona Western, annually a team loaded with international talent, is now 11-4 and 4-4.

“It was probably a good gut test,” said Holthaus, whose team went on an 11-2 run to close the game after trailing 79-74. “Sometimes you have to have those to see what you’re made of. I just told them there were probably a lot of opportunities for us to fold, or tuck our heads, but they kept fighting.

“We started off in the hole in overtime but they just kept coming and coming. I give a lot of credit to them and their fight.”

Pima had the opportunity to get the last-second win in regulation but a perfectly-designed inbound play with Torrance Begay lobbing the ball inside to post player Matehya Aberle was unsuccessful with Aberle missing at close range as the buzzer sounded.

Aberle overcame that miss by scoring six points in overtime to finish with a game-high 26 points with 14 rebounds.

“I just thought, ‘Hey, it’s a new possession (in overtime),'” she said. “Take it possession by possession and lock down on D (defense).”

Arizona Western started the overtime period with a 4-point play, converted when Rosa Revueltas made a 3-pointer and subsequent free throw after getting fouled.

Revueltas, from Spain, led the Matadors with 25 points and five rebounds. They also have players from Turkey, Italy, Egypt, Japan, Australia, Congo and Great Britain. Not one of their players is from Arizona.

American players are from Washington and Hawaii.

Arizona Western’s quick start and Pima guard Priscila Varela fouling out in the extra period was a concern. Varela made 5 of 8 shots from the field for 12 points before getting called for her fifth foul.

“It was definitely tough but my role just switched,” Varela said about fouling out. “I wasn’t on the court anymore so role on the bench was to be as loud as possible and keep supporting my teammates from the outside.”

The Aztecs trailed 79-74 with less than three minutes left in overtime. That’s when sophomore Angel Addleman (a Palo Verde graduate) drew a foul and converted on a 3-point play to cut the deficit to two points at 79-77 with 2:22 left.

Pima took its first lead in overtime when Begay drained a 3-pointer. Aberle scored off an inbounds pass from sophomore Luisa Chavez (Rio Rico) in the next possession to give Pima an 82-79 with 41.8 seconds left.

Addleman made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 83-81 with 15.3 seconds left. The Matadors looked to tie it but Revueltas missed her shot on a drive and Pima’s Aiona Johnson snared the defensive rebound and was fouled. She hit two free throws with 3.8 seconds left to seal it.

“When you come in against Western, who has players from all over the world, and we’re Pima, the biggest thing is you don’t want to lose two in a row because it starts creeping in your head a little bit,” Holthaus said. “They bounced back. It wasn’t pretty but I’ll take an ugly win over a pretty loss any time.”

Johnson grabbed three crucial defensive boards on the last three possessions.

Begay added 11 points and five rebounds while freshman Dominique Acosta (Nogales) scored 11 points off the bench while going 5 for 6 from the field.

The Aztecs will return to the West Gym on Saturday when they play Glendale (3-12, 1-7). Tipoff is at 4:00 p.m.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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