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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcats just overmatched

    UA forward Amina Njonkou pushes through a defender in last nights 89-64 loss to No. 7 Stanford in McKale Center.
    UA forward Amina Njonkou pushes through a defender in last night’s 89-64 loss to No. 7 Stanford in McKale Center.

    No. 7 Stanford 89, Arizona 64

    The visiting No. 7 team in the country looked the part last night in McKale Center. From start to finish, Stanford proved to be simply too much for the Arizona (6-11, 0-6 Pacific 10), as the Cardinal (15-3, 5-2) dropped the Wildcats to their seventh straight loss, 89-64.

    “”(Stanford) pretty much picked us apart. That was the tale of the game unfortunately,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”They have a lot of different weapons and they have different players when you try to help out on someone else.””

    Arizona came out aggressive from the get-go, implementing a full-court press for the start of both halves in a futile attempt to slow down Stanford’s dynamic offense.

    While the strategy appeared to affect Stanford’s leading scorer, guard Candice Wiggins, in the first half, the press could not halt the Cardinal’s threat down low.

    The Cardinal hammered the Wildcats in the post for most the night on plays designed to get low threat Kayla Pederson the ball. Pederson hit five of six shots and shot 66 percent from the free throw line in the first half to finish with 14 first-half points.

    “”I always try to come out aggressive,”” Pederson said. “”I wanted to really get on (Arizona) from the beginning.””

    Pederson responded in similar fashion in the second half adding eight points to her total finishing the night with 22.

    Stanford utilized the post, putting up 48 points in the paint.

    Although Pederson and other Cardinal players found holes in the Wildcat defense early on, Arizona’s main focus, Wiggins, was held in check.

    Throughout much of the first half where the Cardinal’s leading scorer managed to convert on only three of ten attempts from the field and only one of four from behind the arc for seven points.

    “”(With the press) we wanted to slow them down because they don’t like pressure,”” Bonvicini said.

    Wiggins did not remain silent for long, shooting 62.5 percent from the field while adding a pair of 3s in her 19 total points.

    “”I didn’t really have a plan (for guarding Wiggins),”” said guard Tasha Dickey. “”I just didn’t want her to score as much as she does and I knew if she beat me I had my team behind me to help out.””

    In addition to Wiggins, the rest of the Cardinal shot 65.5 percent from field goal range in the second half finishing with the highest field goal percentage on the season allowed by the Wildcats.

    On offense, Arizona shot a dismal 37.3 percent from the field.

    One positive the Wildcats took away from the night came from guards Ashley Whisonant and Dickey. The two combined to go 4-for-6 from 3-point range while both finished with double digits.

    “”Tasha played a good game tonight,”” Bonvincini said. “”And Ashley’s been great. “”

    Cal brings another tough task

    Arizona’s quest for its first conference win runs into yet another ranked Pacific 10 Conference opponent.

    The Wildcats (6-11, 0-6 Pac-10) ride a seven-game losing streak into tomorrow’s 2 p.m. game against No. 8 California (16-2, 7-0 Pac-10) in McKale Center on FSNA.

    A trio of juniors – Ashley Walker, Alexis Gray-Lawson and Devanei Hampton – lead a California team with the Pac-10’s top ranked scoring defense (53.6 points per game) and third best scoring average (68.2 points per game).

    For the first time in school history, the Golden Bears began conference play 7-0 after last night’s 64-51 win at ASU.

    Led by forwards Walker and Hampton, the Bears strength comes down low, said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini.

    Walker tops the conference in double-doubles (9), rebounding (10 per game), second in blocked shots (1.71) and third in scoring (17.2). Last season, Hampton earned All-American Pac-10 Player of the Year honors with 18.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

    “”They’re not going to play a lot of people, but they’re beasts inside,”” Bonvicini said. “”They’re strong and they can shoot if they’re just smart.””

    Gray-Lawson leads the guards with 12.5 points per game (10th in the Pac-10) and a 42.5 percentage from beyond the arc.

    – Bryan Roy

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