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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s basketball: Wildcats use strong third quarter to beat San Diego 76-59


LaBrittney Jones scored 20 points and JaLea Bennett added 17 as the Arizona women’s basketball team used a dominant third-quarter performance on its way to a 76-59 victory over San Diego on Wednesday night in McKale Center. 

It is the Wildcats’ fourth win in a row as they improve to 6-1 on the season. 

“I thought we really handled the gameplan well, still too many turnovers, but overall this was a really good win for us,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said.

Arizona turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and trailed San Diego 33-27 when the two teams headed to the locker room at the break.

The Wildcats emerged as different team, though, and they sank eight of their first nine shots to vault to a 44-38 lead midway through the third quarter.

And they did not stop there.

The Wildcats outscored the Toreros 33-11 in the third quarter, taking a 60-44 lead heading into the final quarter of play.

Bennett had 10 points in the period, including a steal and an and-one right before the buzzer sounded, while Jones added eight. The Wildcats were a scorching 12-16 from the field in the third.

“JaLea was great off the bench,” Barnes said of Bennett. ”She played the 3 and the 4, she gave us a spark.”

Bennett missed all three of her shot attempts in the first half, but finished the game 6-12 from the field.

“At halftime I went into the locker room and had to sit and think and get out of myself,” Bennett said. “I was really frustrated with how I was playing, so I thought to myself ‘what can I do to help my team in the second half?'”

It was a tale of two halves for the Wildcats as a whole.

In the first quarter, Arizona had nine turnovers and trailed San Diego 10-8 despite holding the Toreros to a 26.7 field goal percentage.

The Wildcats’ offense started to click in the second quarter, and they began on a 10-2 run, capped with a 3 by Lucia Alonso to put Arizona up 18-12 with 7:12 left in the half, but San Diego quickly took the lead back.

The Toreros went on a 14-4 run to take a 26-22 lead after a 3 by Patricia Brossmann with 3:24 left in the half. San Diego eventually held a six-point lead at halftime, but the Wildcats erased it — and then some — with their second-half dominance.

“I thought that [San Diego] had a lot of intensity. We were both making shots, but I just felt like we picked up our intensity and that’s what pushed us forward,” said UA forward Breanna Workman, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds.

The Wildcats outscored the Toreros 49-26 in the second half. Arizona shot 50 percent from the field for the game and its defense held San Diego to 28.4 field goal percentage.

“I didn’t think consistently all night they could continue to hit shots, so we stayed with it,” Barnes said of her team’s plan to force San Diego to hit perimeter shots. ”They were 1-15 in the second half on 3s, so I wanted to stick to the gameplan and I knew they were going to hit a couple, but I just knew that that wasn’t what they do.”

The Toreros finished 5-25 from 3 in the contest, and the Wildcats had a 36-18 edge in points in the paint, thanks in part to Jones and Workman.

“Our post [players] were working great together,” Barnes said. “I think you’re starting to see better chemistry on offense.”

Arizona returns to action Tuesday when it hosts Grambling State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter

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