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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “O’Neal has career game, women win 3rd in last 5”

    She may be small, but she played huge.

    Arizona guard Malia O’Neal had a stellar game as she and the Arizona women’s basketball team downed UCLA 66-33 last night in Pauley Pavilion. It was the Wildcats’ third straight Thursday win and third win in five games.

    “”We’re kind of on a roll,”” O’Neal said after the game.

    The shortest player on the court, at 5-foot-5, scored 12 points, dished out 11 assists and grabbed five boards, all career highs.

    “”How about that Malia O’Neal,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini boasted. “”She was amazing, she did a little bit of everything.””

    With 8.8 seconds left, UCLA (13-14, 7-8 Pacific 10 Conference) – now 2-12 when scoring under 70 this season – trailed 63-64. Arizona guard Ashley Whisonant missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw, giving the Bruins the ball.

    O’Neal stole the ball at half-court and was fouled with 0.8 seconds left. She sunk both of her shots at the charity stripe to seal the 601st career win for Bonvicini.

    “”There was 0.8 seconds left, there was no pressure,”” O’Neal said calmly after the game.

    Arizona (10-18, 4-12) has now won two more games this season than it did all of last season.

    With a 64-61 lead, Arizona guard Joy Hollingsworth turned the ball over on a five-second inbound violation with 28 seconds remaining.

    Bruins guard Noelle Quinn – who had a team-high 17 points to go with five rebounds and five assists – hit a jumper with 17 seconds left, cutting the deficit to 63-64.

    O’Neal has now started the last five games in place of Whisonant.

    “”When you come off the bench, and you think you’re just giving someone a break, you’re looking over your shoulder and you’re more concerned about not making mistakes,”” Bonvicini said. “”Now she’s loosening up and playing a lot more confident.””

    Still, Whisonant scored 15 points, and dished out five assists off the bench.

    Hollingsworth scored a game-high 18 on 8-of-15 shooting from the field after scoring just six in the last game against Oregon.

    “”I try not to look in the past, just in the future,”” Hollingsworth said. “”Being a senior, I got to start stepping up more. These are my last moments with these guys so I’m just trying to make the best of it.””

    After shooting 36 percent from the field in a 73-36 loss to the Bruins Jan 20,

    Arizona shot a season-high 50 percent on 26-of-52 shooting last night. UCLA was held to 43.6 percent.

    “”This was about determination,”” Bonvicini said. “”I put an acronym up on the board (in the locker room). D.I.M.I.T.T.: Determination Is More Important Than Talent.

    “”We were determined. We fought from beginning to end.””

    Another chance for a sweep

    For the third straight weekend, the Wildcats look for a sweep.

    They take on USC (15-10, 9-6), which lost to No. 8 ASU last night 68-57, tomorrow at 2 p.m. Tucson time. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.

    It will be the Wildcats’ first game in the new Galen Center.

    “”We are excited to play in their new arena,”” Hollingsworth said. “”It’s going to be fun.””

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