Three days prior to its first appearance at the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Tournament, Pima Community College women’s basketball coach Todd Holthaus talked about how a team effort carried it all season.
Freshmen Tia Morrison and Abyee Maracigan, who were first-team Arizona Community College Athletic Association, had ample support this season. Count Azya Peoples as one of them.
Peoples, a freshman, came up big against Kankakee (Ill.) Community College in leading Pima to a 50-47 win Thursday and to an appearance in the national semifinals.
Pima (27-5), seeded third in the tournament, plays No. 2-seeded Schoolcraft College (Livonia, Mich.) at 6 p.m. Friday.
Peoples (Flowing Wells High School) helped the Aztecs secure the victory with a pair of free throws with 6 seconds remaining.
“She was huge,” Holthaus said. “She put it all on the line. They did a nice job of controlling Abyee. (Peoples) stepped in and filled the void.”
Peoples finished with a double-double, scoring 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Morrison added 12 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman LeAndra Lucas had 10 points.
Pima led much of the first half but failed to pull away from Kankakee.
“I was worried about us being a little rusty,” said Holthaus, whose team drew a first-round bye. “We came out well the first half. The second half we needed to do a better job of executing.
“We knew it was going to be a tight game because Kankakee has been in the championship game the last two years. I knew we weren’t going to blow them out.”
Caitlin Lowe, a four-time All-American outfielder at Arizona, has signed to play this summer with the Washington Glory of the National Pro Fastpitch league.
Lowe will be joined on the Glory by former UA teammate Taryne Mowatt, who made her professional debut with Washington last summer.
Ex-Cat catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest, who did not play last season while pursing a career as a firefighter, has signed with the Glory as a free agent.
Lowe, who finished her eligibility at Arizona in 2007, earned a silver medal at last summer’s Olympic Games, hitting .357 in 10 games for Team USA.
The Aztecs beat visiting Williston State (N.D.) College 9-3 on Thursday to run their record to 19-12-1.
Dane Dehler (Sabino) earned the win while Kody Johnson (Cienega) was 4 for 4 with a homer and double.
Pima visits Paradise Valley at noon Saturday for a doubleheader.
Pima women’s tennis
The Aztecs improved to 6-4 with an 8-1 win over visiting Johnson County (Kansas City, Kan.) CC on Thursday. Cindy Sands won 7-5, 1-6, 10-3 at No. 1 singles for Pima, which visits Glendale at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Pima men’s tennis
The Aztecs lost 9-0 to Johnson County (Kansas City, Kan.) CC on Thursday, and are next in action when they host Glendale at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.