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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s hoops stumbles against Fresno State in ‘payback’ game

    Early last week Arizona women’s basketball head coach Joan Bonvicini declared that “”it’s payback time.””

    After losing 81-70 to Fresno State last year at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., the Wildcats sought out revenge Monday night, but it didn’t pan out in their favor as they were downed 69-60 in McKale Center in front of 1,294.

    Arizona, now 1-3 against Fresno State all time, went scoreless for the final 4:50 of the game to hand the Bulldogs the win.

    The Wildcats (6-6) finished 0-of-11 from the floor and were outscored 13-0 by Fresno State (6-4) to finish the contest.

    “”We were lucky enough to make some key plays and get some tough stops,”” FSU head coach Adrian Wiggins said. “”That was the difference.””

    Arizona shot a season-low 30.7 percent (23-of-75) from the field, including 26.8 percent (11-of-41) in the second half, and was outrebounded by the Bulldogs 54-43.

    “”This was a tough game for us to lose,”” Bonvicini said of her squad’s final nonconference game. “”I thought in the first half we did a very good job defensively, but we didn’t play with that same intensity in the second half.””

    The Arizona defense was pressuring in the first half, to say the least, swiping the rock seven times and forcing the Bulldogs to run the shot clock dry on three straight possessions at one point.

    But FSU took advantage of the lackadaisical defense, and was led by guards Chantella Perera and Tierre Wilson who posted a combined 45 points, collecting 24 and 21, respectively.

    “”They played very well and kept making plays for us,”” Wiggins said. “”They were guarded by a very good player in Joy Hollingsworth. They played really hard.””

    Wilson scored 10 points in the first 16 minutes of the game before coming out. While on the bench, she stepped on a half-moon shaped instrument to stretch out her calves.

    But the quick guard, sporting a white Air Jordan headband, came back in the second half strong, making sure 5 of 9 shots found the bottom of the net for another 11 points.

    Individually for Arizona, Hollingsworth, a guard, posted 19 points and eight rebounds, and forward Amina Njonkou recorded her second double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

    “”It doesn’t mean anything when you lose the game,”” Njonkou said of the feat. “”I feel I could do better than that. I could have finished my shots (better). It is kind of frustrating. I have been saying that (since) the beginning of the year, so I’m not going to say I’m happy getting a double-double. We lost the game.””

    Through the modesty, Bonvicini said this was Njonkou’s best game as a Wildcat.

    Guard Ashley Whisonant chipped in with nine points, seven assists and five rebounds.

    “”Ashley did a nice job with the assists, but she’s a better scorer,”” Bonvicini said. “”So is (guard) Jessica Arnold,”” who scored five points on 2-of-12 shooting.

    The game stayed close in a first half that had six ties and five lead changes. Fresno State went up 23-19 with 6:16 left to play, but Arizona rallied with a 10-3 run to close the half with a 29-26 lead.

    “”We hoped to keep the game close and have a chance,”” Wiggins said. “”(Arizona) is a very good team. I know they had a tough year last year, but they are playing very hard this year. You can tell that.””

    Arizona opened the second half strong, jumping out to a 42-33 lead on a Hollingsworth trey with 15:29 to play.

    But it all went downhill from there.

    The Bulldogs responded with a 12-3 run in the next 3:23 to tie the game up at 45. Arizona went up 52-47 on a Njonkou layup at the 8:43 mark, but the Bulldogs tied the game again at 56-56 on two free throws by Perera with 5:47 left to play.

    The Wildcats took a 60-56 lead on another layup by Njonkou with 4:50 left to play, but went scoreless after that. Arizona trailed 64-60 with 2:25 left, but finished 0-of-11 in the final minutes and could not close the gap down the stretch. Fresno State sealed the win with five free throws in the final minute.

    “”We gave them confidence and let them back in the game,”” Bonvicini said. “”We had defensive breakdowns and never got in a rhythm offensively.””

    Arizona takes on No. 10 ASU to open Pac-10 play Friday at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena.

    “”We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, especially going into conference play,”” Hollingsworth said. “”If we feel sorry for ourselves going into conference against ASU, they will (tear) us apart.””

    And 1

    When asked about her cousin and New York Knick guard Nate Robinson’s 10-game suspension for fighting in a brawl with the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, Hollingsworth said, “”I haven’t talked to him. I saw it on TV. No comment.””

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