The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

97° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Late rally not enough for women’s hoops

    It was nearly miraculous, but ultimately, the Arizona women’s basketball team suffered another heartbreaker.

    The Wildcats’ struggles in Tempe continued Friday night as ASU (16-7, 10-2 Pacific 10 Conference) staved off a near-miracle comeback by the Wildcats to defeat Arizona for the eighth time in nine tries dating back to the 2004-05 season.

    Arizona (9-14, 3-9) kept it a close contest throughout the night, but allowed the Sun Devils to take a 5-point lead with under three minutes remaining – a lead ASU would not relinquish en route to a 67-64 win.

    “”All the years I’ve been here we’ve never been this close,”” said UA guard Ashley Whisonant. “”We usually have gotten blown out, so it hurts more knowing we were in it and we could have, should have won this game.””

    The Wildcats came painfully close to putting an end to their tough luck in Tempe.

    With less than 10 seconds remaining and Arizona down six, Whisonant went to the free-throw line. After converting on both shots, guard Tasha Dickey intercepted the ASU inbound pass and laid the ball in while also drawing a foul from the Sun Devil’s Kayli Murphy.

    Dickey converted on her free throw cutting the Wildcats’ deficit to one with two seconds remaining.

    On the ensuing ASU possession, Arizona’s Rheya Neabors quickly committed her fifth foul on the Sun Devils’ Dymond Simon.

    Simon, however, made both free throws, extending ASU’s lead to three. This would ultimately seal the game as Whisonant, who finished with 16 points, failed to get a shot off before time expired.

    “”Throughout the whole game we never gave up, we kept fighting,”” Whisonant said, “”and then when Tasha made that amazing shot I was like, ‘Dang, maybe we can win this.'””

    After the game, UA head coach Joan Bonvicini, although disappointed with the loss, expressed her appreciation for her team’s effort.

    “”We’ve improved a lot,”” Bonvicini said in a post game radio interview with 1400 AM. “”We played the entire game start to finish. Overall it was a good ballgame.””

    While Arizona’s intensity remained constant throughout the game, there were times when the Wildcats became overaggressive.

    Arizona committed 22 personal fouls, putting ASU into the bonus fairly early in each period. The high number of personal fouls also put four of the Wildcats’ starters in jeopardy.

    Whisonant and forwards Amina Njonkou, Rheya Neabors and Ify Ibekwe all compiled four fouls with under three minutes remaining in the second half, but Neabors was the only player to foul out.

    “”The fouls didn’t affect us other than they got a lot of their points off our fouls,”” Whisonant said. “”We knew we had (substitutes) who, if they needed to come in, would be just as effective. So we just kept attacking the boards hard and playing aggressive.””

    Rebounding proved to be one of Arizona’s advantages, especially on the offensive end. With Njonkou leading the way with 10 points and 10 rebounds, the Wildcats dominated the Sun Devils on the offensive glass. Arizona finished the game with 19 offensive boards while ASU pulled down only 10.

    The Sun Devils, however, made up for their lack of rebounds by taking advantage of 20 Arizona turnovers, turning them into 15 points.

    Bonvicini said little mistakes throughout the night were the most likely cause for her team’s dramatic loss.

    “”We didn’t handle the pressure as well as we should have,”” Bonvicini said. “”We just couldn’t complete some plays and a lot of it was turnovers.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search