GLENDALE — Victories are no longer scarce for the Glendale Community College women's basketball team.
After winning just six games the previous two seasons, the Vaqueros, backed by a strong foundation and balanced scoring, appear to have turned the corner.
Glendale closed out the nonconference portion of its schedule Friday night with a resounding statement, as four players scored in double digits en route to an 88-59 home victory against Imperial Valley on Friday night.
"I think it's a case of them starting to believe in themselves and buying completely into the system," said Glendale fourth-year Coach Carrie Miller, whose team improved to 9-7 and was making its first appearance on the floor since winning the consolation championship game of the Antelope Valley Tournament on Dec. 21. "We still have some bumps here and there, but they are still looking for ways to get better.
"We still need to work on some things, but we feel good about where we are [heading into Western State Conference South Division action Wednesday]."
The Vaqueros, who have won a season-best three contests in a row, never trailed against Imperial Valley (0-10).
Glendale freshman forward Samantha Pyros paved the way for the Vaqueros on Friday. Pyros, a Village Christian product, finished with a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds. She collected 12 first-half points to help the Vaqueros build a 39-21 halftime advantage.
"It's been a good transition for me from high school to college," said Pyros, who added four steals. "With rebounding, it's my job.
"With scoring, I get whatever my teammates get me. We've gone through our struggles, but we are prepared for conference."
Glendale also received 19 points from sophomore guard/forward Gabriela Beltran, 17 from freshman forward Jessica Sanchez and 13 from freshman guard Elsie Mejia. Beltran notched four steals, Mejia had four assists and Sanchez added six rebounds. Glendale also got five steals from freshman guard Brenda Balbuena.
Glendale jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a short jump shot by Pyros with 16:10 remaining in the first half. Imperial Valley then knotted it at 6 before the Vaqueros went on a 10-0 run take a 16-6 lead. Glendale freshman guard Ana Tonga scored on a layup to complete the run with 12:06 to go in the first half.
Miller said Pyros has provided the Vaqueros with an added dimension.
"She gives us so much," Miller said. "She's got great inside moves and can rebound well."
A layup by freshman guard Selin Gomez gave Glendale a 39-19 advantage with 2:44 remaining in the opening half.
Pyros had a steal and converted it into a layup to extend Glendale's lead to 53-26 with 15;12 left in the second half.
Glendale will tip off division play at 5 p.m. Wednesday against host West L.A. It will then have its division opener at 3 p.m. Jan. 11 against Citrus.
Miller said the Vaqueros will look to improve on its 2-10 division record from last season in which the Vaqueros finished tied for last place.
"We definitely have the potential to battle for one of the top spots," said Miller, who got eight points from Gomez.
Imperial Valley got 20 points from sophomore center Jalen Olguin and 14 from freshman guard Ana Rodriguez.