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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s hoops loses despite late run

    UA guard Joy Hollingsworth looks for a shot inside while being defended by a pair of Bruins during Arizonas 76-73 loss to UCLA Saturday in McKale Center. Hollingsworth had 23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, five 3-pointers and three steals in 37 minutes, all of which tied team highs or better.
    UA guard Joy Hollingsworth looks for a shot inside while being defended by a pair of Bruins during Arizona’s 76-73 loss to UCLA Saturday in McKale Center. Hollingsworth had 23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, five 3-pointers and three steals in 37 minutes, all of which tied team highs or better.

    It was an anticlimax emblematic of how far the Arizona women’s basketball team’s season has gone.

    The Wildcats trailed UCLA by 13 with 4:50 to play Saturday in McKale Center, but managed to claw their way back to a one-point deficit with 1:20 left.

    But, just like the team’s loss Thursday to USC, the late run meant nothing for the outcome of the game, as the Wildcats fell 76-73.

    “”This was a tough one to lose,”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini, who is still two wins shy of 600 and has gained only one victory since Dec. 12. “”We’ve worked hard, but we play in spurts. When we’re focused we’re very good, and when we lose focus like we did (Saturday) … it puts us down in a hole.””

    Senior guard Joy Hollingsworth hit a 3-pointer with 2:14 remaining to pull the Wildcats (7-14, 1-8 Pacific 10 Conference) within four of the Bruins (10-11, 4-5). With 1:20 remaining, junior guard Jessica Arnold made her only three of the day to bring the score to 69-68.

    UCLA forward Amanda Livingston followed with a layup, and forward Lindsey Pluimer made two free throws after a Hollingsworth foul. Guard Noelle Quinn added another free throw to widen the gap to 74-68 with 21 seconds left.

    Whisonant made two foul shots with less than 10 seconds on the clock to bring the score to 74-70. The Wildcats had to foul quickly after the inbounds pass, and Pluimer made two more free throws.

    Hollingsworth nailed a meaningless 3-pointer as time expired.

    Bonvicini attributed Arizona’s inability to win to a lack of mental toughness late in the game.

    “”When you lose, unfortunately you find ways to lose,”” Bonvicini said. “”When you’re a winning team, you find ways to win, and we need to reverse that trend.””

    Arizona shot 36 percent from the field, not far below its season average of 39.9, but the team took a whopping 75 shots, including a season high 26 3-pointers.

    “”We should be shooting like a third of those,”” Bonvicini said. “”We took way too many. (Guard) Joy (Hollingsworth) should shoot a bunch. Everyone else should pick and choose. We shouldn’t be shooting more than eight or 10 a game, max.

    “”The hard thing is you’re down, so you’re trying to play catch-up, but we haven’t proven we’re a good 3-point shooting team.””

    Arizona was successful on eight of its 26 3-point attempts (30.8 percent). After a miserable 2-of-14 first half, Arizona was 6-of-12 in the second half, matching the UCLA’s mark for the game.

    “”If you’re going to shoot 36 percent, you’ve got to play great in other aspects of the game,”” Bonvicini said. “”We’ve got to improve our shot selection.””

    Hollingsworth led the way for the Wildcats with 23 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and three steals, with 15 of her points coming from behind the arc.

    “”It falls on us players,”” Hollingsworth said. “”We’ve got to go out there and perform and play harder. For most of the time I think we play hard, we’ve just got to play smarter and make better decisions with the ball.””

    Only three other players made any 3-point attempts. Guards Ashley Whisonant and Arnold and forward Rhaya Neabors each made one attempt, but Arnold was a mere 1-of-8.

    “”Jess has got to do a much better job picking and choosing shots,”” Bonvicini said.

    Arizona had trouble containing Quinn, who was two rebounds away from a triple-double with 23 points and 10 assists.

    “”I really could care less about my stats,”” Quinn said. “”I just really wanted to come here and get this win for our team.””

    Pluimer also added 23 points for the Bruins, going 7-of-12 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.

    UCLA out-rebounded Arizona 40-37, but the Wildcats dominated on the offensive boards, accumulating 17 to the Bruins’ seven.

    “”It was a strange game,”” said UCLA head coach Kathy Olivier. “”I think Arizona didn’t shoot as well as they would have liked in the first half, but they kept plugging away and worked very hard at getting the offensive boards.””

    The win for UCLA came after getting stomped on by the No. 10 Sun Devils 92-52 Thursday.

    And 1

    Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano served as a guest coach on the Wildcats’ bench. It was the fourth time she has done so for the team, and after the loss, her record as coach is 2-2.

    Napolitano is 3-0 as the guest coach with ASU.

    “”I think the coaches here at (Arizona) do a phenomenal job working with the students and the players,”” Napolitano said. “”It’s about the game, but it’s also about education.

    “”To come out on a Saturday and be with the fans and watch the game and hang out in Tucson is a real pleasure.””

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