GLENDALE — Not much went right early on for Selin Gomez with her shooting.
The Glendale Community College women’s basketball player struggled throughout the first half. However, she more than atoned for it with a big second half.
Gomez recorded 17 of her 21 points in the second half, including five three-pointers, to propel host Glendale to a 79-75 Western State Conference Southern Division victory against Bakersfield on Wednesday.
PHOTOS: GCC womens' basketball beats Bakersfield
Gomez’ performance wasn’t the only big night for GCC, as freshman Samantha Pyros poured in 30 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Gomez, a freshman guard, said she received some encouragement from coach Carrie Miller at halftime, setting the stage for an offensive resurgence.
“She told me that I needed to stay confident and good things would happen,” said Gomez, who made six of 10 shots from the floor in the second half following a one-for-eight effort in the opening half. “I came out in the second half with more confidence and we were able to get a big win.”
Glendale, which received 20 points from freshman guard Elsie Mejia, improved to 12-8 and 3-1 in the division. Bakersfield dropped to 8-11, 3-2.
The Vaqueros surpassed their conference win total from last season Wednesday. They are 6-1 in their last seven games entering Saturday’s road division matchup with Antelope Valley.
“I like where we are right now, but we still want to contend [for the division championship],” Miller said.
With the score deadlocked at 35 at halftime, Gomez and the Vaqueros made their run. Gomez made a three-pointer on the first possession of the second half to give the Vaqueros a 38-35 advantage. She them made another three-pointer to make it 65-58 with 5:55 remaining.
Mejia made all 13 of her free-throw attempts, including nine in the second half. She converted on four free throws in the final 80 seconds to seal the victory.
Miller, who took over the program in 2010, said Gomez was able to provide another dimension for the Vaqueros in the second half.
“Once she hits that first shot, she’s ready to go,” Miller said. “She just missed on some of her shots in the first half, but she stayed with it.
“Elsie stepped up and made some big free throws in the second half. Samantha had a real big first half (21 points) to help keep us in it.”
The Renegades took a 28-21 lead on a three-pointer by freshman guard Claesey Tarver (team-high 20 points) with 7:05 remaining in the first half. Pyros knotted it at 35 on a short jump shot with 10 seconds left in the half.
“We were able to regroup and we knew how big this game was,” Pyros said. “We needed this win.
“All of my points came because of my teammates making big plays. We just want to keep things going.”
The Vaqueros played the first half without starting sophomore guard/forward Gabriela Beltran and freshman guard Brenda Balbuena. Miller said they were disciplined after missing a team practice Monday.
Glendale will met Bakersfield at 3 p.m. Feb. 15 at Bakersfield.