Ed Petruska-Pinal Central Contributing Writer
SIGNAL PEAK — It was a long, dispiriting Wednesday night for the Central Arizona College women's basketball team.
The Vaqueras suffered their most lopsided loss of the season, falling 77-57 to Cochise at the George Young Activity Center.
"We played terrible," CAC coach Denise Cardenas said. "I didn't even recognize my team. Cochise did exactly what we knew they were going to do. We just weren't ready."
The Apaches, ranked No. 21 in the NJCAA poll, now have a three-game lead over the Vaqueras in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference standings. Cochise (19-3, 13-1 ACCAC) has won 10 straight and 13 of its last 14.
A 21-2 burst helped the Apaches build a 14-point lead in the first half, and they led by 19 following a 17-3 surge in the third quarter. The Vaqueras (14-7, 10-4 ACCAC) reduced the margin to eight points at 61-53 with 8:36 to play, only to be outscored 16-4 the rest of the way.
The Apaches "hit a big shot every time they needed it," Cardenas said.
Central came in with a seven-game winning streak. But the Vaqueras were held to 38 percent shooting while committing 15 turnovers that led to 18 points for the Apaches. They were 4 for 16 on 3-pointers and went 5 for 14 from the free-throw line.
Cochise led 20-15 after one quarter, 36-28 at halftime and 58-47 going into the final period.
Central Arizona vs. Cochise women's basketball 1/30/19
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Raena Suggs made five 3-pointers and scored 28 points — her season high — for the Apaches, who also got 18 points from Awa Keita and 12 from LaPraisjah Johnson. Cochise shot 48 percent, going 8 for 13 from the field in the fourth quarter and 8 for 16 in the first. The Apaches made 9 of 18 3-pointers.
The Vaqueras outscored the Apaches 15-10 to begin the first quarter, then went scoreless on their final five possessions as Cochise closed with a 10-0 run.
Following a second-chance basket by Clark in the opening minute of the second quarter, Cochise tallied 11 unanswered points to take a 31-17 lead with 5:41 left.
Down 36-22 with 1:41 remaining, the Vaqueras ended the half with a 6-0 run on two baskets by Pippin and one by Morticia McCall in the final 48 seconds.
Megan Guadian's 3-pointer reduced Cochise's lead to 36-31 with 9:38 left in the third quarter. But Central scored just once on its next 11 possessions, getting another 3-pointer from Guadian.
The Apaches, meanwhile, scored on eight of 10 possessions, going up 53-34 on a basket by Isabel Rodriguez midway through the third.
After Alexia Marsh's basket pulled the Vaqueras within 61-53, Cochise scored the next seven points to extend its lead to 68-53 with 6:25 remaining.
Cochise had held its previous eight opponents to under 50 points and were allowing an average of 46.3 coming in. The Apaches, who lost 62-58 to Central on Dec. 1, raised their road record to 7-0.