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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    W-hoops falls in deja vu defeat against Cal

    No. 9 California 66, Arizona 45

    Same score, different venue.

    The Pacific 10 Conference’s home-and-home type scheduling allows most teams to make adjustments the second time around. But with a conference-leading top-10 ranked opponent on tap, the Arizona women’s basketball team couldn’t adapt to a dynamic No. 9 California team, resulting in another 66-45 loss against the Golden Bears on Saturday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.

    California (23-3, 14-1 Pac-10 Conference) swept the season series to earn its sixth straight victory through tenacious post play.

    In their first meeting at McKale Center on Jan. 19, Arizona (9-16, 3-11) lost 66-45 from the Golden Bear’s unstoppable perimeter shooting. The Wildcats double-teamed forwards Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker before they received the ball, allowing for open perimeter looks from guard Alexis
    Gray-Lawson, who scored five of the team’s season-high 10 3-pointers.

    This time, the Wildcats waited to double-down on the posts, resulting in 42 combined points from a versatile Hampton and Walker.

    “”I don’t think we did a good job defensively,”” said forward Amina Njonkou, who registered her 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. “”Their posts were out running us in transition offense – they were getting everything they wanted. They would get the easy baskets.””

    Not even UA head coach Joan Bonvicini’s decision to start four forwards could help Arizona overcome the duo of one of the
    Pac-10’s toughest post combos. The absence of guards Marie McGee (concussion) and Tasha Dickey (ankle) due to injury forced Bonvicini to leave guard Ashley Whisonant as the lone ball-handler.

    Whisonant scored a season-low five points in 36 minutes after Thursday’s 2-for-10 shooting from the field in a 69-46 loss at
    No. 6 Stanford.

    “”She did not have a great weekend,”” said Bonvicini of Whisonant. “”I think she’s a lot better (than her last two performances). Part of it, she’s worn out playing a lot of minutes – we’re asking a lot of her. I think it’s important she get rest and come back.””

    California collectively outshot (49.2 percent), out-rebounded (41-37) and out-blocked (9-2) the Wildcats, inflated by a barrage of layups and rebounds (19) from Hampton and Walker.

    Often forced to take tough jump shots, Arizona shot 28.6 percent from the floor with a tired eight-player bench that forced four Wildcats to exceed 35 minutes.

    “”(The short bench) definitely played a factor not having the same depth that we normally do,”” Bonvicini said.

    California squashed the Wildcats’ early first-half lead with a 21-6 scoring run to put the Golden Bears up 32-20 at halftime. From that point onward, California took complete control with a 14-4 run to take a commanding 51-28 lead.

    Arizona led 14-11 with 7:55 remaining in the first half.

    “”We just lost our intensity after they went on that run,”” said forward Rheya Neabors, who scored 10 points in 38 minutes.

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