The last home game of the season saw the Lady Vaqs grind out a 72-70 overtime win against Bakersfield College on Wednesday evening.
It was the final regular season home game for sophomores Laura Armenian, Paola Gupilan and Neyra Valenzuela who all contributed vital minutes in regulation and in overtime to guide the Lady Vaqs to 5-6 in conference play and a 15-14 record overall.
Gupilan, the team’s heart and soul, was hampered by a knee injury all week leading up to the game. Yet, she managed to prove to her teammates, the coaching staff and team supporters why she deserves the respect she has been given by her peers after scoring a game high 25 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out five assists in 41 minutes of play.
Gupilan’s knee was the center of head coach Monica Hang’s attention during the game and was adamant on playing Gupilan in spurts rather than extended minutes.
“I was focused on making sure I wasn’t leaving her out there too long,” coach Hang said after the game.
The Lady Vaqs had four players with at least 10 points or more. Rachel Estrella, the freshman out of Hoover High School displayed composure in her performance shooting 7-12 from the field en route to a 16-point performance.
Valenzuela and freshman guard Amanda “Q” Quesada each contributed 10 points.
The Lady Renegades, a dismal 1-9 in conference play and 4-22 overall, gave it a go late in the first half, outscoring the Lady Vaqs 12-3 in the final six minutes of play in the first half to cut the deficit to 35-30.
The second half brought plenty of action, especially from the Bakersfield players, who came out of half time with guns blazing, going 8-9 from the three-point line, five of those made by Lady Renegade Nicole Lopez, who is also the conference’s leader in three-point percentage, 41.6 percent for the season.
The game was ultimately decided by free throws in the closing minutes after Glendale guard Armenian was called for a controversial foul on Lopez after scrambling for a loose ball.
Lopez missed both free throws to keep the game tied at 63-63 heading into overtime play.
The Lady Vaqs proved why experience matters, with all three sophomores for Glendale playing vital minutes in the extra period.
Bakersfield and Glendale traded blows in those tedious five minutes; however, the leadership and basketball savvy of Gupilan combined with Valenzuela’s defensive tenacity proved too much for Bakersfield to handle in the end.