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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats bear down; Bears down Cats

    Arizona senior guard Natalie Jones drives past California defender Devanei Hampton. Jones dropped 12 points on the Bears as the Wildcats dropped their seventh straight game, losing to Cal last night 73-56 in McKale Center.
    Arizona senior guard Natalie Jones drives past California defender Devanei Hampton. Jones dropped 12 points on the Bears as the Wildcats dropped their seventh straight game, losing to Cal last night 73-56 in McKale Center.

    Women’s basketball ? arizona 56, california 73

    Knocked to the court after being fouled while missing a layup with just under eight minutes to play, senior guard Natalie Jones thumped the court with both hands, putting the emphasis on what was a frustrating night for the Arizona women’s basketball team.

    “”It was just hard to watch,”” sophomore guard Jessica Arnold said. “”It’s just one of those games you want to forget.””

    That frustration was thanks in large part to a California Golden Bears team looking for revenge. The Golden Bears wound up getting exactly what they wanted, with a 73-56 victory over the Wildcats last night in McKale Center. The loss, Arizona’s seventh straight, dropped the Wildcats to 7-19 on the season, 3-13 in the Pacific 10 Conference.

    “”I expect a lot more,”” Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”I expect a lot more mental toughness and grit.

    “”It was hard to watch,”” she continued, echoing Arnold. “”It was hard for everybody – especially the (injured) kids on the bench who want to play.””

    Avenging an 80-76 loss in Berkeley, Calif., earlier this season, the Bears (16-9, 8-7) capitalized on 19 turnovers off the hands of the Wildcats, who weren’t able to make it up in the shooting department as they hit just 31 percent (21-of-66) from the field and 28 percent (5-of18) from behind the arc.

    “”My shots just wouldn’t fall,”” said Jones, who was 4-of-17 from the floor on the night. “”It was like I needed a miracle – I’ve never had a game like this where nothing would fall.

    “”It’s one of those games you don’t want to be in.””

    A poor first half may have spelled the doom for the Wildcats, as Arizona shot just 8-of-29 from the field (28 percent) and turned the ball over 13 times, which equated a measly 19 points on the scoreboard when the halftime buzzer sounded. Though the Bears turned those miscues into only 12 points, they held a 16-point lead at the break thanks in part to 13-2 and 9-0 runs during the half.

    “”I would say this is probably one of our worst games,”” Jones said.

    Though the lead fluctuated in the second half – growing to as much as 27 points and shrinking to as little as 14 – the story was largely the same. Arizona shot just 35 percent in the half and turned the ball over an additional six times.

    Freshman forward Amina Njonkou saw her first action since an 82-51 loss at No. 11 Stanford Jan. 19, and though she tied her career high in points with four by the 8:26 mark of the first half, she didn’t score again for the rest of the game.

    The team received a scare when the recently-returned-from-injury Njonkou went down underneath the Wildcats’ basket and held her ankle for a few moments. After checking out, she returned moments later to play a total of 17 minutes in the game.

    “”Right now, not a whole lot affects me,”” Bonvicini said of her team, which has seen player after player fall victim to injury. “”We call those ‘Boo Boos.'””

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