The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

84° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Eight scoreless minutes doom Cats against UCLA

    Sophomore guard Ashley Whisonant loses the ball in traffic during Arizonas 90-64 loss to UCLA Saturday in McKale Center. Whisonant was one of five Wildcats to play more than 30 minutes, as the team had only six scholarship players available for most of the game because of injuries.
    Sophomore guard Ashley Whisonant loses the ball in traffic during Arizona’s 90-64 loss to UCLA Saturday in McKale Center. Whisonant was one of five Wildcats to play more than 30 minutes, as the team had only six scholarship players available for most of the game because of injuries.

    Sometimes bright spots are overshadowed. In the case of the Arizona women’s basketball team, injuries have been too much to overcome, despite solid individual performances.

    The Wildcats got career highs in points from freshman guard Kelsey Burns (15) and senior forward Anna Chappell (eight), but it wasn’t nearly enough as UCLA cruised to a 90-64 victory over Arizona in McKale Center Saturday.

    The Bruins (13-9, 8-5 Pacific 10 Conference) used deft shooting – 55 percent from the field, including 62 percent in the second half – and strong defensive pressure – forcing 26 turnovers – in scoring the most points by a visiting team against the Wildcats (7-16, 3-10) all season.

    “”The turnovers killed us,”” Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said of her team’s fourth straight loss. “”That’s mental breakdown.

    “”I think we played with a great deal of heart, but when you get tired, you make a lot of mental mistakes.””

    The Wildcats were already down to eight players coming into the game because of the injuries when freshman guard Malia O’Neal took a shot to the face midway through the first half. Though she returned for a short time in the second, the Seattle native was held out the rest of the game.

    Bonvicini said the move was precautionary.

    O’Neal’s injury forced sophomore walk-on Jessie Robinson into action for her first opening-half appearance as the Wildcats were down to only six scholarship players. A forward who earned cheers from the crowd each time she checked into the game, Robinson pulled down two rebounds and had one steal in a career-high seven minutes of action.

    “”I just said, ‘You know what? They need me tonight. Jessie, you have to play your heart out,’ “” Robinson

    said. “”I mean, I might not know everything perfectly, and I might not know 100 percent of every little aspect of every little play, but I just played my heart out.””

    The Bruins jumped out to an early 15-5 lead, but Burns, who has seen her role on the team increase rapidly due to a recent rash of injuries, responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 Wildcat points during a 12-4 run to close the gap to two, 19-17, with 11:59 to play in the half.

    However, Arizona wouldn’t score again until senior guard Natalie Jones, who led Arizona with 22 points, sank two free throws at the 3:35 mark.

    The scoreless drought that spanned 8:24 opened the door for the Bruins, who used it to go up 32-17 and take a 40-25 lead into the break.

    “”UCLA was on fire,”” Bonvicini said.

    Junior guard Noelle Quinn led the Bruins with 26 points, while senior guard Lisa Willis added 20.

    Despite playing with seven players for the majority of the game, Arizona tried to ignore the fatigue, said Burns, who also had career-highs in minutes (31), field goal attempts (15) and makes (six).

    “”It’s one of those things that you can’t let affect you,”” she said. “”No matter how tired you are, you just have to keep on playing.””

    Bonvicini, on the other hand, acknowledged that fatigue played a factor.

    “”Just like a gas tank, I think we used it all up on Thursday,”” she said of the team’s 73-72 loss to USC last week. “”They put everything they had into Thursday’s game, and it’s just hard to do it.

    “”Even though it wasn’t back-to-back, to do two games in three days is tough when numbers are down so much.””

    Notes

    Saturday’s game marked the third consecutive game in which Jones has gone over the 20-point plateau. … It was the third game in which Robinson saw action. Her mother was in attendance.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search