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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    W-hoops works out kinks in win

    The bad dream has finally come to an end for the Arizona women’s basketball team. After coming up short in eight straight games, the Wildcats finally tasted victory last night in
    Pullman, Wash.

    While Washington State remains without a win in the conference, Arizona outworked the Cougars and snatched away its first conference victory with a narrow 73-63 win.

    “”We needed this win,”” head coach Joan Bonvicini said in a radio interview on 1410 AM. “”That’s probably the understatement of the century but this win goes a long way.””

    Through the first half, the Wildcats appeared to be on track for yet another disappointing night.

    WSU’s Katie Appleton proved untouchable, finishing the half with 19 points.

    Despite overall poor shooting, the presence down low of forward Amina Njonkou kept Arizona within reach hitting her first eight shots from the field. The Wildcats still went into the break down nine.

    “”It was all about effort,”” Bonvicini said. “”We talked at halftime about that. I lit into them a little bit.

    “”We didn’t need to make a lot of adjustments. It was just about hard work.””

    The talk proved effective as Arizona refused to go away in the second half.

    The Wildcats cut their nine-point deficit to one on a pair of free-throws by forward Sarah Hays with just under 10 minutes remaining.

    Then the Wildcats

    We were more aggressive, and that comes from playing hard and reading things. (Washington State) was tired. I knew when we got the lead they would probably fold.

    – Joan Bonvicini,
    head coach

    took over. A surge of offense by a plethora of Wildcats torched the Cougars and gave Arizona a game-high ten-point lead; a lead Arizona would not relinquish.

    “”We were more aggressive, and that comes from playing hard and reading things,”” Bonvicini said. “”(Washington State) was tired. I knew when we got the lead they would probably fold.””

    Leading the charge for the Wildcats was forward Rheya Neabors who drained four shots from behind the arc to get Arizona’s rally going.

    In addition to the Wildcats’ strong offensive performance in the second half, Arizona’s defense helped protect the team’s first win in nine tries.

    The Wildcats held the Cougars scoreless from 3-point range in the second half while holding Appleton to a mere four points of her own.

    The Wildcats also made things difficult for Washington State throughout the game forcing 21 turnovers on the night.

    Also contributing on the defensive end was Neabors. She pestered the Cougars all night finishing with four blocks and three steals to go along with her 13 points.

    “”Neabors was really good throughout the game,”” Bonvicini said. “”She came up big, hitting the 3s and playing really solid defense.””

    Now that Arizona has a conference win under its belt, the team will travel to Seattle where it will take on Washington (7-12, 2-5) tomorrow afternoon.

    “”I believe you should always celebrate after you win,”” Bonvicini said. “”It’s really important for our kids to think about it until they go to bed. Then we’re going to start thinking about the Huskies.””

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