Mesa, AZ- It was an explosive second half for the Thunderbirds that propelled them to their sixth straight ACCAC Division II championship game with a huge victory over Glendale, 58-38.
With the win, Mesa has now won at least 20 games in its last seven seasons and will also play in its seventh straight ACCAC championship game against Phoenix College, the previous six being played all against Pima.
Scoring started out slow for both teams in the beginning, as Mesa held just a slim lead of one at the 10 minute mark at 6-5.
Megan Gillespie(So., Phoenix, AZ, Arcadia H.S.) did have six points with five rebounds in the first half but the T-Birds went into halftime down 17-16.
Mesa jumped out quickly though in the second half, going on a 6-0 run in the first three minutes, with baskets from Taylor Reed(Fr., Kingman, AZ, Kingman H.S.) and Kylie Herd(So., Phoenix, AZ, Arcadia H.S.).
Glendale did manage to climb back into it, tying the game at 22 but six points from Lacey Viselli(So., Surprise, AZ, Valley Vista H.S.) and a Briana Clah(Fr., Chinle, AZ, Many Farms H.S.) three pointer helped push the Mesa lead up to seven, 32-25.
By this point of the half, it was Mesa's game to win. With a raucous home crowd, Mesa turned on the after burners.
An Erica Vasquez(So., Mesa, AZ, Red Mountain H.S.) three pointer push the Mesa lead to 10.
The Gauchos battled hard to get within three with 6:48 to play but Mesa finished out the rest of the game on a 23-6 run with 10 of those points coming from ACCAC Division II Player of the Year, Kylie Herd.
Herd finished as the games leading scorer with 14 points to go along with four rebounds and two blocks. Gillespie finished one point shy of a double double, with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Viselli finished with nine points, five rebounds while Reed finished with seven points, five rebounds.
One of the loudest roars from both Mesa players and fans came just after the game when it was announced that Phoenix College had knocked off #1 seed Pima in Tucson.
Mesa will now host the ACCAC Division II championship game Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. That game will be broadcasted live on T-Bird Sports Live.