By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO
The No. 1 Pima Community College women’s basketball team started the season 6-1. The Aztecs played in two pre-conference tournaments: the New Mexico Junior College Thunderbird Classic in Hobbs, New Mexico, and the Native American Classic at PCC. They opened conference play Nov. 22 with a win.
Head coach Todd Holthaus earned his 200th Pima win on Nov. 17.
“I’ve been privileged to coach people and alongside those I hold dear,” Holthaus said in a press release. “I’m very fortunate to do what I do.”
The Aztecs also avenged last season’s national semifinal loss to Illinois Central College in a rematch on Nov. 19.
Nov. 3: PCC 71, Western Texas College 64
The Aztecs’ first ‘W’ came at the Thunderbird Classic against a Division I team, Western Texas. Pima held the lead from the first minutes of the game.
Pima shot 43 percent from the field. Sophomore Bree Cates led the team with 13 points.
Nov. 4: PCC 54, New Mexico JC 79
Pima lost to the host school on the second day of the Classic. The Aztecs never held a lead and shot 6-for-28 from three-point range.
Sophomore Sydni Stallworth led the team with 12 points. She also had two rebounds and two assists.
Nov. 5: PCC 62, Howard College 56
PCC closed out the Thunderbird Classic with a win against Division I Howard College from Texas.
The Aztecs were behind by three points to begin the third quarter but went on a 13-0 run to turn their deficit into a double-digit lead.
Nov. 17: PCC 80, Gillette College 52
The first game in the Native American Classic saw Holthaus get his 200th Pima win. The Aztecs never let up pressure and finished the game with 18 offensive rebounds.
Sophomore Denesia Smith led the team with 15 points. Freshmen Izzy Spruit and Alliyah Bryant had three 3-pointers apiece. Spruit also had five steals.
Nov. 18: PCC 90, Elite 1 Academy 36
The Aztecs dominated, holding Elite 1 Academy to single-digit points in the second and third quarters.
Spruit hit five 3-pointers and finished the game with 17 points. Fellow freshman Reazsha Benjamin had 10 points. Stallworth finished with 16 points, five assists and four steals.
Nov. 19: PCC 96, Illinois Central College 73
After a tight first half, Pima outscored the No. 11 Cougars 34-16 in the third quarter and went on to win 96-73.
Pima lost 77-74 to Illinois Central in the NJCAA Division II tournament last March.
Cates finished with a game-high 26 points. She also had five rebounds and three steals.
Sophomore Erin Peterson had 16 points and four rebounds, while Stallworth contributed 16 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Smith had eight points, six rebounds, six assists and two steals, and fellow sophomore Moana Hala-ufia scored 14 points.
“This win was for last year’s graduates,” Holthaus told the team after the game.
Nov. 22: PCC 88, Tohono O’odham CC 51
After leaving the Native American Classic unscathed, the Aztecs defended their home court against Tohono O’odham Community College. PCC took control of the game early and never let up pressure.
Stallworth led the team with 19 points, and shot for 57 percent from the 3-point line. Spruit had 13 points, three steals and two assists in the game.