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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Strong second half propels Cats over La. Tech

    Arizonas Ashley Whisonant wrestles for the ball with Louisiana Techs Shan Moore during the Wildcats 74-59 win over the Lady Techsters last night. Whisonant finished with a season-high 22 points.
    Arizona’s Ashley Whisonant wrestles for the ball with Louisiana Tech’s Shan Moore during the Wildcats’ 74-59 win over the Lady Techsters last night. Whisonant finished with a season-high 22 points.

    The Arizona women’s basketball team used a second-half spurt to down Louisiana Tech 74-59 yesterday in McKale Center.

    The Wildcats (5-3) started the first 8 1/2 minutes of the game with a 25-9 lead, but that lead faded to six at the half, 36-30.

    “”We started out strong,”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. “”We are a team of spurts, but that’s good because we can put big spurts together. The first half we let them get a big spurt, but in the second half we prevented them from getting another one.””

    The win marked the first time in the history of the program that Arizona ever beat Louisiana Tech (2-5) after the Wildcats failed four times before.

    Center Shannon Hobson (16) and guards Joy Hollingsworth (22) and Ashley Whisonant (22) all had season highs in points in the win.

    “”This is a game that I wouldn’t say will be one of our highlight games, but it was a good win,”” Bonvicini said. “”I thought Shannon Hobson had unbelievable energy off the bench with her points and rebounds.””

    Added Hollingsworth: “”Shannon was our sparkplug. I definitely fed off her running the floor.””

    The Wildcats shot only 36 percent from the field, but they took advantage of the Lady Techsters’ fouls by compiling 23 points from the free-throw line.

    “”Once we got running, we were real good,”” Bonvicini said. “”We challenged the players before the game that they needed to get to the free-throw line at least 25 times, and they got there 31. The other thing we needed to do was outrebound Louisiana Tech.””

    Arizona had only three offensive rebounds in the first half, but in the second half, the team had 17, which Bonvicini called a key statistic to the team’s late spurt.

    “”Coming into the game, we always want to set the tone on defense,”” Hollingsworth said. “”Coach said we needed to balance between our guards and our posts, and it just happens that our guards stepped up and set the tone today.

    A year after a medical redshirt, Hobson had arguably one of the biggest impacts of her career on the team’s win.

    “”I saw the guards were out there working hard, and I just wanted to come in and do whatever I could for the team,”” Hobson said. “”I definitely feel more comfortable on the court.””

    Arizona used a rather depleted roster that included only nine players by game’s end, with forward Rheya Neabors leaving yesterday’s contest with an injured foot and center Beatrice Bofia out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

    Bonvicini said she was impressed with the way her injury-riddled squad has handled the pressure of losing key players as well as a tough 20-point loss at No. 10 Texas A&M Tuesday.

    “”I said to the team before the game that the character of a team really shows after a loss,”” Bonvicini said. “”We didn’t play very last week in Texas, but we had three really tough days of practice, and a lot of the things we worked on really came back to help us today.””

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