By: Ruby Arani/ GCU Staff
The wait is finally over.
After waiting an extra month or two to play their games there, the GCU Women’s Club Basketball Purple Team christened the opening of the brand-new Canyon Activity Center (CAC) with a tremendous 76-34 win over Benedictine University Saturday morning in Arizona Women’s Basketball League (AWBL) play. The victory kept the squad undefeated in AWBL play, and in sole possession of first place in the standings.
Last year, Grand Canyon University announced the construction of a brand-new facility to enhance both of GCU’s Club Sports and Intramural programs, with ten state-of-the-art courts that can host both basketball and volleyball games, plus weight room, athletic training facilities, offices and even a snack bar. It was expected to open in time for the 2019 spring semester, but finally opened its doors last Thursday night for GCU Men’s Club Basketball.
Ready and eager to play in the new facility, the Lopes started off strong Saturday against the Redhawks of Benedictine. The Lopes went on a solid run in the first quarter to maintain a 19-14 lead against the Redhawks. GCU opened the second quarter on a brief run, but allowed Benedictine to close the gap to finish the first half trailing the Lopes, 29-22.
The Lopes turned up the heat immediately after halftime. The Lopes’ defensive pressure held the Redhawks to just seven points the entire 3rd quarter to blow open the game, taking a 51-29 lead into the 4th quarter. The Lopes continued the onslaught in the final frame, outscoring BenU, 25-5, to clinch a 76-34 win.
“At halftime, we talked about stepping up our defense, and that is what we did,” said Lopes’ junior Jenny Albano. “We saw that the defense was slow in the first half. We came together and worked on better execution and communication.”
“I think our offense has gotten so much better,” said Lopes’ sophomore Cassandra Ibarra. “Our connection is there, and we play off each other really well.”
How much did the new surroundings help?
“We love it!” said Albano about the CAC. “We are so fortunate to have this facility here on campus. Previously, it was tough to have practice or to even get shots up. Now, we have this facility, and there is plenty of room for not only us but everyone.”
GCU Purple will play again on Tuesday against the Firebirds of Arizona Christian University to continue AWBL play Tuesday, February 12 at 6 pm at the Canyon Activity Center. At the same time, GCU White will take on Bella Vista College Prep. Admissions to AWBL league games are FREE!
Interested in playing with the GCU Women’s Club Basketball teams? Contact Head Coach Kyle Speed today!