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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s hoops beats Washington State despite missed free throws

    The Arizona women’s basketball team shot 12 free throws and made only two of them in the final minute of its game against Washington State Saturday afternoon in McKale Center.

    Despite the poor finish, the Wildcats (7-10, 1-4 Pacific 10 Conference) snapped a five-game losing streak and grabbed their first win in conference play thanks to several runs throughout the game, edging the Cougars 59-57.

    The Cougars (5-11, 1-5) extended their losing streak to five.

    “”The Wildcats gave us every opportunity to win this game, and we just did a horrible job of finishing,”” WSU head coach Sherri Murrell said.

    With just seconds left on the clock, WSU guard Amanda DuRocher went up for a 3-pointer that would have won the game, but the shot was blocked by guard Ashley Whisonant.

    “”I had a little inside tip,”” said Whisonant, who missed Thursday’s game against Washington due to a knee injury that occurred in practice earlier this week. “”I heard the coach tell her to stop and shoot the 3.””

    Coming into the second half down 32-24, Arizona went on an 8-0 run that lasted 7:42.

    “”Runs are good,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”It shows we started to score a little bit. Being able to score a little bit definitely helps.””

    That’s putting it mildly.

    The run began when Arizona guard Jessica Arnold stole the ball in a diving effort and flipped it to guard Joy Hollingsworth, who raced downcourt for a layup, scoring two of her team-high 18 points.

    Hollingsworth shot 41.2 percent from the field (7-of-17), making one of six attempted 3s. Her point total was brought up to 49 in two games after scoring a career-high 31 against Washington on Thursday.

    “”It comes from the confidence that my coaches and teammates have given me,”” Hollingsworth said of her successful weekend. “”It can be anybody any given night, and it just happened to be me.””

    Hollingsworth’s play was backed by forward Amina Njonkou, who put up 13 points of her own, grabbing nine boards as well.

    The Cougars’ dry spell was ended by a Katie Appleton’s layup and a foul that brought the score to 35-32 in Washington State’s favor.

    Appleton, a guard, tallied a game-high 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting, including 3-of-4 from behind the arc.

    The Wildcats reacted by going on an 8-2 run, bringing the score to 40-37 at the 9:55 mark.
    Three converted shots by WSU at the charity stripe tied the game 40-40 at 8:51.

    With the score tied again 49-49, the Wildcats began another 8-2 run on an Arnold layup with 4:25 left that lasted 2:23.

    “”It was definitely on our minds,”” Murrell said of the runs. “”I thought it was great that our kids were able to dig themselves out of those runs.””

    But the run-digging shovel wasn’t quite long enough.

    The Wildcats started the game on a 6-0 run in the first 2:40.

    After the Cougars, who shot 34.4 percent from the floor (21-of-61), missed their first four shots from the floor, Appleton tickled the twine on two consecutive shots from beyond the arc, tying the game 6-6 at the 15:05 mark.

    After a layup by Hollingsworth – who paced Arizona in the first half, scoring seven points on 3-of-8 shooting – at the 10:52 mark to tie the game 10-10, the game turned into a five-minute 3-point shootout.

    The Wildcats made two 3-balls while the Cougars made a 2-pointer followed by four treys shot by four different players, bringing the score to 23-16 in WSU’s favor at the 5:27 mark.

    WSU drained 5-of-12 3’s in the first half, while Arizona made 4-of-6.

    “”This was a tale of two halves,”” Bonvicini said. “”At halftime, let’s just say I got on the players a lot. I was really pleased in the second half, particularly with defense.””

    And 1:

    For the first time this year, the Little Dribblers, a group of 25 elementary school-aged children, came out and showed off their dribbling skills during halftime. … Saturday’s game was the 41st meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Cougars on the hardwood, with Arizona owning a 23-18 all-time series advantage after the win. … The win leaves Bonvicini two shy of 600 for her career.

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