The Pima Community College women's basketball team (21-8, 15-6 in ACCAC) could not stop a rally from Mesa Community College (23-6, 18-3) in the fourth quarter on Saturday at the West Campus Gymnasium.
The No. 7 ranked Aztecs fell to the Thunderbirds 74-69 after being outscored 26-13 in the fourth quarter.
The Aztecs will be the No. 2 seed for the Region I, Division II Tournament in a couple weeks. Mesa will go in as the No. 1 seed.
Up 39-35 at halftime, the Aztecs went on a 15-4 run to take a 54-39 advantage with 3:46 left in the third quarter. The Aztecs were held to two points for the reminder of the quarter but still led 56-48.
The Thunderbirds started the fourth quarter on a 10-4 run and tied the game at 61-61 at the 6:30 mark. Freshman Macey Rose (Basha HS) hit a pair of free throws to give Pima the lead back at 63-61 with 2:44 left. The Thunderbirds scored five straight points in under a minute to take the lead.
The Aztecs cut the deficit to 68-66 after sophomore Christine Ortega (Flowing Wells HS) hit a pair of free throws but back-to-back Pima turnovers turned into free throw points for Mesa.
Freshman Jacqulynn Nakai (Coconino HS) scored a game-high 22 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists. Freshman Shauna Bribiescas (Dobson HS) had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while Rose scored 10 points off the bench. Ortega struggled from the field as she went 0 for 6. She had five points (all on free throws) and grabbed 14 rebounds.
The Aztecs got swept in their regular season meetings with the Thunderbirds. They lost last month 78-64 in Mesa.
After the game, the Aztecs recognized their seven sophomores: Reazsha Benjamin (Sahuaro HS), Alliyah Bryant (Mesquite HS), Aubre Fortner, Piper Mali (Ironwood Ridge HS), Christine Ortega (Flowing Wells HS), Katey Roquemore and Izzy Spruit (Mesquite HS).
The Aztecs will close out the regular season on Tuesday when they play at Arizona Western College in Yuma. Tipoff will be at 5:30 p.m.
MCC 11 24 13 26 74
PCC 20 19 17 13 69