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GCU Women’s Club Basketball: GCU Purple Maintains 1st Place in AWBL

February 20, 2019

By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff

Staying at the top.

The Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Basketball Purple maintained their 1st place ranking in the Arizona Women’s Basketball League (AWBL) with a solid 63-57 win over the Bears of Bella Vista College Preparatory. On the other court, GCU White was defeated by the Redhawks of Benedictine University, 62-21.

GCU Purple 63, Bella Vista College Prep 57

In week 7 of AWBL play, GCU Purple and Bella Vista met for the first time. The first quarter was an intense back-and-forth battle that saw the Lopes take the lead at the end with a clutch three-pointer by GCU junior Jenny Albano to gain a 17-16 lead. In the second quarter, the Bears picked up on the defense, but still trailed at halftime, 28-24.

The Lopes came out of the gates in the second half quickly as Jaiviana James scored 10 points in the period to stake the GCU to a 42-28 edge.  BVCP’s pressure defense helped them battle back to close the gap down to five to end the third quarter, 46-41.  Bella Vista caught the Lopes at 46-46 early in the fourth quarter, but was never able to take a lead in the second half.  The Lopes took the lead for good on a Daeja Banner driving layup with just under three minutes left, and made their free throws down the stretch to send BVCP to only their second AWBL loss.

James led the Lopes in scoring with 20 points, while Banner chipped in 19, including eight in the pivotal final frame.

“At halftime, we talked about the opportunities that we were getting,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Kyle Speed. “We talked about playing the type of defense we know we are capable of, and that made the difference. We got into our press early, which caused a couple of turnovers early that got us the lead and helped get this win.”

Benedictine University 62, GCU White 21

Benedictine pulled into a second-place tie with Bella Vista in the AWBL Standings with a 62-21 win over the Lopes. The Lopes, who just had five players in uniform, never led in the game. Paige Johnson led GCU White with 11 points.

“The goal for this Saturday’s game is getting GCU White their first win,” said Speed. “The scores don’t indicate how good this team is. There is a lot of good players on the team, but they are young. When they begin to play together as one, that will be the key to getting their first win and many more.”

This Saturday, February 23, AWBL play continues for GCU White as they take on Bella Vista College Prep in the Canyon Activity Center at 10 am. Admission is FREE!

Interested in being a part of AWBL? Contact Head Coach Kyle Speed today!