GLENDALE — It's hard to imagine a half of basketball going much worse for Glendale Community College’s women’s team than the first half of Saturday afternoon's Western State Conference South Division tilt with Santa Monica College.
But the Vaqueros turned things around in the second half, overcoming a 16% shooting performance in the first half to defeat the Corsairs, 83-77, in overtime.
Glendale (15-10, 6-3 Western State Conference South) entered the second half down 15 points, but battled back to tie the score at 74 with 25.7 seconds remaining in the contest on two free throws from the game's leading scorer, Samantha Pyros.
Pyros would finish with 27 points and seven rebounds.
“We decided we were done letting them pull away,” Pyros said. “So we made our run. It was very frustrating all-around for everybody [in the first half]. It didn't seem to have anything positive.”
The tide, though, turned steadily throughout the second half, as Glendale crept closer and closer.
Still, things looked bleak with just two minutes remaining, as Santa Monica (6-17, 1-7) took a 74-67 lead on two free throws from Briah Nelson.
“We have the capability of scoring six points in less than 30 seconds, so I knew we had a chance to win,” Glendale Coach Carrie Miller said.
For Santa Monica, inexperience reared its head at the worst possible time for the roster of nine freshmen.
Shannon Yahn turned the ball over on an offensive foul early in the shot clock on the next possession and Selin Gomez swung momentum back to the Vaqueros with a three-pointer to cut the lead to 74-70.
“They're not bad, but they do freshman things at crucial times,” Santa Monica Coach Lydia Strong said. “We ask our kids to step up and be a leader. So now they know what we mean.”
After two missed free throws by the Corsairs, Pyros hit two free throws, blocked a shot on the defensive end and nailed two more free throws to tie the score at 74, as Glendale ended regulation on a 7-0 run.
Glendale didn't let its run stop with the end of regulation. The Vaqueros stormed out of the gate in overtime, starting things out with a 7-0 run to take a commanding 81-74 lead with 1:57 remaining.
“I didn't think we were [destined to win]. We were just on a run and that carried into overtime,” Pyros said.
Elsie Mejia followed up Pyros' effort with 25 points, including six in overtime for Glendale.
Imani Holloway led Santa Monica with 22 points, while Nelson had 15 points and Shannon Yahn had 12.