NORTHEAST GLENDALE — A rousing start was exactly what the Glendale Community College women's basketball team needed to get Coach Carrie Miller her first home victory since taking over the program last season.
Before Miller realized it, the Vaqueros had an early sizable advantage before holding on for a 65-59 Western State Conference South Division victory against visiting Santa Monica City College on Wednesday night.
"They are starting to run the things we ask of them and they came out and shot well to get us a quick lead," said Miller, whose team ended its five-game losing streak. "We came ready to play and we capitalized on their mistakes."
The Vaqueros improved to 6-18, 3-7 in the division after going winless last season.
Glendale turned to sophomore guard Michelle Eclar for offense Wednesday. Eclar, a Glendale Adventist Academy product, contributed 13 points, 12 rebounds and five assists to help the Vaqueros sweep the two-game season series against Santa Monica (8-17, 2-7).
Eclar converted on a three-point play to give the Vaqueros a 14-1 lead with 15:44 left in the first half. The sophomore then scored on a scoop shot to extend the Vaqueros' lead to 34-14 with 5:25 remaining in the opening half.
Eclar said the Vaqueros, who notched a 56-46 road win against the Corsairs on Jan. 14, used their speed to their advantage.
"We came out with a lot of intensity," said Eclar, who collected nine first-half points to give the Vaqueros a 42-23 halftime lead. "We also know that we have a fast team.
"The whole season, the coaches have been asking us to push the ball quickly. We were able to get everybody involved. [Santa Monica] wanted to beat us after we beat them the first time."
Santa Monica began to heat up in the second half. The Corsairs closed to within 53-48 on a three-point play by Trayona Thomas with 5:02 left.
Miller called a timeout and the Vaqueros regained their composure.
"We were struggling with our shooting in the second half," said Miller, who saw the Vaqueros make five of their 20 shots from the floor in the second half after converting on 16 of 37 in the first half. "We had some great looks, but we just couldn't finish."
Glendale got 12 points from Lidia Rivas, a Glendale High graduate, and 11 from Amanda Manahan.
Thomas finished with 16 points and 16 assists for the Corsairs, who got 13 points from Kat Johnson and 12 from Rayven Mervin.
After its second bye of the season Saturday, Glendale will finish up with a division road game against College of the Canyons before concluding its season Feb. 18 with a home division contest against L.A. Valley College.