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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

99:89 – Women’s hoops wins first Pac-12 game

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Cecilia Alvarez

Arizona women’s basketball forward LaBrittney Jones (24) shoots during Arizona’s 81-78 win against Oregon in McKale Center on Sunday. Jones and the Wildcats won their first conference game of the season.

Behind a career-high 30 points from LaBrittney Jones, Arizona women’s basketball won its first Pac-12 Conference game on Sunday by defeating Oregon 81-78 in overtime. The Wildcats (8-11, 1-7) rebounded to split the home stand after falling to No. 9 Oregon State 73-55 on Friday.

With under 10 seconds remaining in the overtime session, Charise Holloway hit a go-ahead 3-pointer to give the Wildcats the lead. In the final possession, Arizona’s defense forced the Ducks into a contested last-second look that went short.

The UA walked off the court with a victory for the first time in nearly a month.

“I have to commend our team,” UA head coach Niya Butts said. “We made enough mistakes for me to be unhappy with, but as a team, we competed and made plays down the stretch.”

In the final minutes of regulation and into overtime, Jones knocked down a handful of key shots that allowed the Wildcats to stay in pace with Oregon.

The forward started for most of the season until Butts recently decided it would be better to bring Jones off the bench. The move paid off, as Jones brought a boost energy on both sides of the ball.

“I like her aggressiveness with the way she comes out,” Butts said. “She was unbelievable today. Unbelievable.”

Yet it was Holloway who had the ball in her hands as the clock ticked down in the closing seconds of overtime. Just a freshman, the shooting guard felt no hesitation in letting the game-winner fly.

“She’s a gamer, and she’s very confident in herself as a person and a basketball player,” UA point guard Candice Warthen said. “She’s a shooter, so she’ll jack up five 3’s a game if she has to.”

Arizona and Oregon both made 40 percent of their attempts, with Lexi Bando being the Ducks’ leading scorer at 20 points. Bando hit four of her team’s 11 3-point attempts. 

At the end, the Ducks needed one more three to fall, but didn’t get it.

On Friday, the Wildcats held their own for most of the night against Oregon State, one of the best teams in the country.

Warthen had one of her best outings of the season as she led the team with 22 points and seven rebounds. The senior also moved into 19th place on Arizona’s all-time scoring list.

For a short while, it looked like Warthen might lead her team to a stunning upset.

The UA got off to a quick 11-5 start by knocking down some tough jumpers and being aggressive down low.

With four minutes to go in the half, Arizona still had a 1-point lead. However, the Beavers used a pair of 3-pointers to regain advantage and go into halftime up six.

In the second half, Oregon State proved to be too big to stop down low and pulled away in a hurry.

The Beavers shot 57 percent in the second half by continuously attacking the paint. On defense, they were just as dominant — blocking nine Arizona attempts overall.

From here, the Wildcats will hope to expand off the momentum of the Oregon win when they travel to play Utah and Colorado this coming weekend.

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Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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