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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona women’s basketball gets over .500 mark with 72-69 win over Wake Forest

On Saturday, Arizona men’s basketball picked up a marquee nonconference win in overtime. Sunday, the women followed suit.

Behind a 21-point performance from point guard Candice Warthen, the Wildcats defeated Wake Forest 72-69 for a signature road victory. The win moves Arizona to 4-3 on the season.

Warthen scored nine points in the overtime session, including seven made free-throw attempts. None were bigger than the last two, which expanded the lead to three points with 11 seconds to go.

Wake Forest (6-3) missed a potential game-tying 3 at the buzzer.

For much of the first half, it didn’t look like Arizona was going to stand much of a chance versus the Demon Deacons. A plethora of turnovers and poor defense allowed for Wake Forest to take a commanding 24-11 lead with 5:52 remaining in the first half.

The UA then embarked on an 12-2 run to cut the deficit to 26-23 heading into the locker room.

Arizona continued its momentum in the second half by overtaking the lead and eventually expanding the margin to 53-37 with 8:20 to go.

The Wildcats’ run stemmed from aggressiveness inside, whether it was banking in layups or taking advantage of the free-throw line. Arizona tallied 36 points in the paint by game’s end and converted on 22 of 31 free throws.

However, basketball is a game of runs, and the Demon Deacons commenced on one of their own to end the second half. As Arizona went cold from the field, Wake Forest slowly cut into the deficit.

With the UA leading 58-52 in the final minute of regulation, it looked as if the comeback would fall just short for the home team.

Yet in a span of 23 seconds, Wake Forest went from down six to leading 60-58. Arizona committed a costly turnover and failed to knock down crucial free throws, allowing the Demon Deacons to gain control.

A layup by Warthen tied the game at 60 with 16 seconds to go, and Wake Forest was unable get a game-winning shot off on the ensuing possession.
In the five-minute overtime session, Arizona never flinched as the two teams traded buckets. Then, in the final 90 seconds with the game on the line, it was Warthen and the Wildcats who made their free throws.

Warthen led the way with a double-double, while Dejza James and Malena Washington contributed double-digit points.

Charise Holloway also played one of her best games of the season by scoring nine points and collecting eight rebounds.

As a team, Arizona only made 36 percent of its field goal attempts and was out-rebounded 49-45. However, the Wildcats played perhaps their cleanest game this year, giving up only 13 turnovers. Wake Forest committed 20.

For a program that has lost its fair share of close finishes the past few seasons, Sunday was a welcome plot twist.

The Wildcats now hope to continue their winning ways when they take on Southern University back in McKale Center on Thursday.

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Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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