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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats fall to Cougars on Senior Day

Arizona Athletics
Arizona guard Keyahndra Cannon (15), the only senior on the women’s basketball team this season, brings the ball downcourt in McKale Center on Sunday, Feb. 21. The Wildcats dropped a heartbreaker at home, their final game in McKale Center for the season.

Senior Day marked a night to remember for the Arizona women’s basketball team, but not in the way it had hoped. The Wildcats lost to the Washington State University Cougars 62-61 in a heartbreaking display.

“I’m not so much focused on senior night, but it’s always tough to lose a game like that,” said Arizona’s lone senior, Keyahndra Cannon. “I thought we fought hard, but we just came up short.”

After trailing for the entire game, the Wildcats tied things up at 50 near the end of the third quarter and took their first lead of the game at the start of the fourth, thanks to a pull-up jumper by LaBrittney Jones. Arizona would take a four-point lead after Cannon found Breanna Workman for a score in transition, but WSU would tie things up at 56 soon after.

The Wildcats answered and Cannon scored inside while Jones hit a desperate 3-pointer with the shot clock expiring, putting Arizona up 61-56 with less than two minutes remaining.

It looked as if Arizona was going to create separation and pull away, but a pair of WSU free throws would make it 61-58 with roughly 40 seconds left.

Needing just one basket to ice the game, the Wildcats failed to generate an open look and eventually turned the ball over. WSU’s Mariah Cooks drew a foul while securing the loose ball and headed to the free throw line, where she split the pair to make it 61-59 with 14 seconds left.

After WSU used a foul to give, the Cougars covered well on the Wildcats’ inbounds play and Workman threw an errant pass out of bounds. The Cougars would get one last chance with 7.6 seconds remaining.

“We didn’t make smart decisions there at the end,” Jones said. “We turned the ball over and we didn’t execute like we needed to and that’s what happened.”

Nike McClure was fouled as WSU was throwing the ball in and she headed to the line for two free throws. She missed both, but Cooks scored for the offensive rebound, put it back up and in, and drew a foul in the process. Cooks sank the free throw to put WSU up 62-61 with 3.4 seconds left.

“I shouldn’t have fouled, but I was trying to go for the rebound,” Jones said. “On that type of play, I just got to let her catch it. They were only down by two and giving her the and-one put them up by one.”

Malena Washington, who had a team-high 14 points, heaved up a shot from near midcourt as the final seconds ticked away, but it was well off the mark.

“When you lose a game the way we lost the game, naturally players are hurt and upset,” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said.

No player was more visibly shaken than Cannon, who had five points, four assists and five rebounds in her final game in McKale Center.

“Anytime you have a senior that’s been with you all four years—through the ups, through the downs—you certainly have to appreciate that,” Butts said. “I thought [she] played hard today. Unfortunately, we came up short for her in our last game [in] McKale. I’m certainly going to miss her and I wish her well.”

The Wildcats have now lost 10 games in a row, dropping their record to 11-17 overall and 2-14 in Pac-12 Conference play.

“We’re just not very good right now and finding ways to lose these basketball games is what it boils down to,” Butts said.

The team will face UCLA and USC next weekend in its final games of the regular season.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.

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