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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats lose 6 of 8 winter games

    UA junior guard Jessica Arnold tries to drive past ASU guard Danielle Orsillo in Arizonas 89-62 loss to the then-No. 10 Sun Devils on Dec. 22. The Wildcats went 2-6 over winter break but got their first conference win against Washington State on Saturday in McKale Center.
    UA junior guard Jessica Arnold tries to drive past ASU guard Danielle Orsillo in Arizona’s 89-62 loss to the then-No. 10 Sun Devils on Dec. 22. The Wildcats went 2-6 over winter break but got their first conference win against Washington State on Saturday in McKale Center.

    It was a cold winter for the Arizona women’s basketball team.

    Through eight games over finals week and winter break, the Wildcats went 2-6, (0-4 away, 2-2 at home).

    Through the muck, however, there were plenty of bright spots.

    Arizona (7-10, 1-4 Pacific 10 Conference) ended a five-game losing streak on Saturday as they tiptoed away from Washington State 59-57 in McKale Center, leaving UA head coach Joan Bonvicini two career wins shy of 600.

    Although they shot a reasonable 40 percent from the field (20-of-50), the Wildcats missed 10 of 12 free throws in the final minute of the game, resulting in a nail-biting ending.

    “”The missed free throws down the stretch, that’s all mental,”” Bonvicini said. “”That comes from not winning.””

    During the losing streak preceding the WSU game, the Wildcats were outscored 392-294, with four of the five games coming in conference play.

    In the downslide finale, Arizona shot a winter-high 49.2 percent (32-of-65) from the field at home against Washington on Thursday.



    Winter break results
    Dec. 9 at Utah, L 60-66
    Dec. 12 vs. Long Beach State, W 77-39
    Dec. 18 vs. Fresno State, L 60-69
    Dec. 22 at No. 10 ASU, L 62-89
    Dec. 28 at No. 14 Stanford, L 58-86
    Dec. 30 at No. 18 California, L 48-65
    Thursday vs. Washington, L 66-83
    Saturday vs. Washington State, W 59-57


    With guard Ashley Whisonant out for the game due to a knee injury suffered in practice earlier in the week, guard Joy Hollingsworth – a Seattle native – stepped up her game, scoring a game-high 31 points in a 40-minute effort. Her point total was brought up to 49, paired with 11 boards, in the two games against the Washington schools.

    “”It comes from the confidence that my coaches and teammates have given me,”” Hollingsworth said of her successful weekend after the game. “”It can be anybody any given night, and it just happened to be me.””

    The Wildcats saw no such luck in their previous three games as a team when they were swept on the road by then-top 20 teams in Cal (then-No.18, 65-48), Stanford (No. 14, 86-58) and ASU (No. 10, 89-62) on Dec. 30, 28 and 22, respectively.

    Something different seemed to be problematic for Arizona during the three-game series.

    The Wildcats were outrebounded 42-27 by Cal. Five Stanford players scored in double figures against them. They shot a wretched 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from the field in the first half against ASU.

    Although it was the first conference game for the Wildcats and Sun Devils, ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne insisted after the contest that the rivalry means more than the Pac-10 standings.

    After losing to Utah 66-60 Dec. 9 on the road to begin the stretch, on Dec. 12 Arizona enjoyed a dominating 77-39 win over Long Beach State, the school that Bonvicini coached to a 325-71 record (.820) in 12 seasons, including two trips to the Final Four.

    The Wildcats allowed the visitors just 12 field goals, the second-least in school history only to the 11 given up against Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 8, 1995.

    It was also the second-least amount of points allowed in a game, trailing the 33 points allowed to Fullerton in that same contest.

    “”This was our best half-court defensive game we’ve played all year,”” Bonvicini said following the game.

    After that contest the Wildcats concluded nonconference play with a 69-60 loss to Fresno State Dec. 18 in McKale Center.

    With 13 Pac-10 games left, Arizona has a chance to redeem itself.

    “”We still have a lot of work to do,”” Bonvicini said. “”We need to continue working hard … and pay attention to details.””

    The redemption should be easier with the return of forward Rheya Neabors.

    Neabors, who suffered a stress reaction – a weakening of the bone, not a break – in her foot in the Dec. 3 win over Louisiana Tech, will return to the lineup this week, Bonvicini said.

    “”She won’t start,”” Bonvicini said, “”but we will bring her off the bench and gradually work her back in.””

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