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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Women’s hoops uses traps to beat Ducks

    UA guard Ashley Whisonant drives to the hole in last nights 65-60 win over Oregon in McKale Center. The Wildcats have now won two Pacific 10 Conference games.
    UA guard Ashley Whisonant drives to the hole in last night’s 65-60 win over Oregon in McKale Center. The Wildcats have now won two Pacific 10 Conference games.

    Hunting season was in full swing last night in McKale Center, and the Arizona women’s basketball team used plenty of Duck traps.

    And for the first time in conference play at home, the Wildcats did just enough to survive a 65-60 nail biter over Oregon (10-11, 4-6) through impressive post play and strong defensive play.

    Guard Ashley Whisonant drove to the hoop with 24 seconds remaining to seal Oregon’s late resurgence – a mere two of her 20-point second half performance. Whisonant finished with a team-high 22 points in what UA head coach Joan Bonvicini called the team’s most complete game of the season.

    “”We all knew we could play better and I think tonight, it was a collective great effort, playing smart and hard from beginning to end,”” Bonvicini said. “”I can honestly say this was our best 40-minute game this year.””

    Arizona applied defensive pressure both through a full court man-to-man press and an array of traps on Oregon’s guards in the frontcourt. Although their aggressiveness doesn’t directly affect the turnover margin (16-15 Ducks), the Wildcats frequently forced uncomfortable situations that prohibited Oregon from settling into its offense.

    Guard Taylor Lilley led the Ducks with a team-high 22 points, going 5-for-7 from beyond the arc – often killing Arizona’s momentum late in the game.

    “”We realized that we were a good team,”” said forward Ify Ibekwe. “”We just saw that we had to do the little things to get over that hump.””

    Bonvicini organized sit down meetings with each player throughout the week to discuss those “”little things”” and personal development.

    “”But more than anything they really took to heart not only what I said but what it really means to be here,”” Bonvicini said.

    With only two points after the first half, Whisonant used those words as extra motivation. Like senior leaders do best, she transformed the second half through her solid defense and extra effort to draw the fouls off layups.

    Whisonant scored 10 of the Wildcats’ last 12 points by taking an aggressive approach when driving into the paint.

    “”As a team we decided that something needed to be changed,”” she said. “”I told them that I wanted to be the best floor general out there.””

    Wildcats ready for OSU rematch

    A rematch of one of arguably one most memorable games in Arizona history takes place tomorrow at 2 p.m. at McKale Center against Oregon State.

    In the two team’s first meeting, Arizona traveled to Corvallis, Ore., with only six players. As the game went into double overtime, Arizona finished with only two players left on the court in a losing effort.

    A similar performance is not expected as the Wildcats will have a solid bench this time around.

    Arizona will have a chance to win back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 15.

    “”(Oregon State) is a great shooting team,”” Bonvicini said. “”They have great guards and big posts.

    “”We’ll definitely need to be ready for them.””

    – Bobby Stover contributed to this report

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