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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women can’t pull it together

    UA forward Amina Njonkou goes for the ball against Oregon forward Eleanor Haring Saturday in McKale Center. The Wildcats held Haring, Oregons leading scorer, to six points, 7.1 below her season average.
    UA forward Amina Njonkou goes for the ball against Oregon forward Eleanor Haring Saturday in McKale Center. The Wildcats held Haring, Oregon’s leading scorer, to six points, 7.1 below her season average.

    The Arizona women’s basketball team is lost in a sea of inconsistency.

    Two days after the Wildcats so easily came from behind to take down Oregon State and give head coach Joan Bonvicini her 600th career win, giving her number 601 wasn’t quite so easy, as Oregon moved past the Wildcats 59-55 Saturday.

    Bonvicini said she felt her team was coming around after Thursday’s milestone win.

    “”I really felt that,”” she said. “”A lot of credit has to go to Oregon. I think they’re a better defensive team than people give them credit for, but we had a five-point lead in the second half, and they just answered.

    “”It’s not fun losing. I hate losing. You’ve got to be tough mentally. …I don’t think we were as tough mentally as we should have been.””
    – Joan Bonvicini, UA head coach

    “”It’s not fun losing. I hate losing. You’ve got to be tough mentally. … I don’t think we were as tough mentally as we should have been.””

    With six seconds to play, guard Ashley Whisonant missed a layup and an opportunity to tie the game at 57.

    Whisonant said the play was supposed to be a backdoor pass to guard Joy Hollingsworth, but because a defender remained closely on her, the play fell through and Whisonant was forced to shoot.

    “”I don’t know what I was thinking,”” Whisonant said. “”But she gave me the lane, so I took it. Unfortunately, I missed the shot.””

    Forward Amina Njonkou then fouled, and the Ducks (14-10, 6-8 Pacific 10 Conference) sealed the win by making two free throws with three seconds remaining.

    It was a tale of two teams in the free-throw department, as Oregon made 18 of 19, but Arizona (9-18, 3-12) hit only 11 of 17.

    “”It comes down to free throws,”” Bonvicini said. “”If we make our free throws, we win.””

    The Wildcats shot 21-of-59 (35.6 percent) from the field, including 9-of-28 (32.1 percent) in the second half.

    Whisonant scored a game-high 14 points off the bench. Guard Linda Pace finished with nine points and made three of six free throws.

    Points were spread throughout the Arizona bench, as only center Suzy Bofia did not score.

    Everyone on Oregon scored at least four points. Added up, 18 of the 19 players used on both teams made at least one basket.

    The Arizona defense contained OU forward Eleanor Haring, the Ducks’ leading scorer with a 13.1-points-per-game average entering the game, holding her to only six points. Only one Duck – guard Kaela Chapdelaine with 10 – scored in double digits.

    “”Our defensive pressure has definitely picked up in the past couple games,”” Pace said. “”This game we were really focused on shutting down their key scorers.””

    Said Whisonant: “”Our defense was good. We had some mental breakdowns, but other than that we played hard and just came out on the downside of the game.””

    After trailing 14-4 in the game’s first five minutes, Arizona outscored Oregon 21-11 the rest of the first half to go into halftime with the score tied at 25.

    The Wildcats’ biggest lead of five came when Njonkou made a free throw with 14:02 to play. They kept a lead until Oregon guard Micaela Cocks hit a 3-pointer with 11:20 remaining that put the Ducks ahead for good.

    “”We’re right there,”” Bonvicini said. “”When you lose like this, it’s really a lot of mental things. Obviously, (we) missed a lot of shots, but a lot of it is mental. It’s about who wants it the most. I probably wanted this more than Thursday.

    “”I don’t like losing. This has been hard for everyone, but when you start winning, you start feeling good. I expect to win every game. I really do. As players and coaches, you have to want it so bad that you’ll do anything within reason.””

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