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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s hoops lets 8th straight game slip away

    Not even the power of Arizona’s state governor, school president and Fox Sports Network could help eliminate the Arizona women’s basketball team losing streak.

    In an afternoon full of such official state support, No. 8 California fended off the Wildcats 66-45 Saturday at McKale Center. Arizona (6-12, 0-7 Pacific 10 Conference) let their eighth straight game slip away, despite a closely contested and hard-fought first half.

    Arizona finished with a season-low 24.1 shooting percentage off 13 field goals due to bad shot selection, quick shots and a lack of confidence that UA head coach Joan Bonvicini plans on tackling this week.

    “”I’m going to be the psychologist this week,”” Bonvicini said. “”Our issues right now are honestly more mental than physical. Right now my job is to help the team stay together and keep their confidence up.””

    California coach Joanne Boyle switched to a full man-to-man defense in the second half that Arizona could not overcome. The Wildcats hit only four field goals (15.4 percent) the entire second half.

    The poor shooting in the second stanza eliminated any chance of treading water against its third straight ranked opponent.

    “”I think just coming together now everyone’s picking everyone up,”” said guard Ashley Whisonant about the Wildcats’ current confidence struggles.

    Whisonant scored 10 points despite only going 2-for-12 from the field in 39 minutes of play.

    Forward Rheya Neabors led the team with 13 points, and Ify Ibekwe grabbed 11 rebounds, (seven offensive) in 30 minutes of play – the most in the eight games since her eye injury.

    Guard Tasha Dickey ripped the ball from two defenders with 7:41 remaining in the first half, which sparked a huge flow of intensity throughout the team and fans. An ignited yet relaxed Arizona squad opened its lead to 21-16, but turnovers and missed shots allowed California to capitalize by hitting a barrage of 3s.

    The Bears (17-2, 8-0 Pac-10) finished the game with 10 3s – a 58.8 percent overall that frequently put a dagger in spotty Arizona momentum. At one point in the second half, California was shooting above 80 percent from beyond the arc, led by Alexis Gray-Lawson with a career best 5-for-6, who finished with a team-high 19 points in 35 minutes.

    Governor serves as guest coach

    Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano served as a guest coach Saturday – her fifth appearance on the sidelines with the Wildcats. Napolitano joined in on team huddles as well as pre- and post-game meetings.

    “”It’s always a pleasure to come down and support the coaches, support the players and just watching them play,”” Napolitano said. “”I’ve lost the last two, so I’ve got to get back on my winning streak.””

    President Robert Shelton was also in attendance, but sat a few rows behind the Arizona bench.

    And 1

    Bonvicini said Rhaya Neabors remains suspended, but did not comment on the length of the suspension.

    Suzy Bofia watched the game a few rows behind Arizona’s bench, but returned to practice Tuesday after giving birth to her first child, Irene Noelle, born Nov. 28. Bofia was released by doctors to practice but will not expected to play, Bonvicini said.

    Arizona now remains winless against ranked opponents in its last three seasons, dropping 23 straight games.

    – Bobby Stover

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