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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona WBB loses to No. 20 Gonzaga in the Jerry Colangelo Hall of Fame Classic

Nathanial Stenchever
Arizona women’s basketball team huddles during a divisional game agianst Washington state University on Jan. 29 in McKale Center

The Arizona women’s basketball team faced No. 20 Gonzaga University in the Footprint Center located in Downtown Phoenix on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 2:30 p.m. for the 2023 Jerry Colangelo Hall of Fame Classic. The game concluded in an Arizona loss (81-69), bringing the Wildcats to 8-4 on the season.

First Half

The starting lineup featured Jada Williams, Helena Pueyo, Kailyn Gilbert, Esmery Martinez and Breya Cunningham. Arizona won the jump ball, but a bad pass by the Wildcats caused an early turnover, giving Gonzaga early points.

The Wildcats once again showed how well they play defensively, causing eight early turnovers for Gonzaga. Early foul trouble for Cunningham was a struggle that carried on from last week’s game, leading to her sitting on the bench. Arizona held the lead this period with a great contribution from Gilbert until Yvonne Ejim made a layup from a turnover, giving Gonzaga the lead.

In the second period, the Bulldogs started to pick up speed, going on a seven-point run. Arizona was not moving the ball well, letting sloppy mistakes occur. Gonzaga was playing very smart, but Pueyo had great offensive execution, drilling in a very important 3-pointer. Arizona started to shake up Gonzaga’s offense, causing more turnovers and drawing fouls, but Gonzaga didn’t back down. The first half ended with Gonzaga in the lead 38-32.

Second Half

In the beginning of the third period, Gonzaga was on fire, bringing the lead up to ten points. Arizona just couldn’t make their shots, but they continued to have an exceptional defense. Gonzaga already had 26 points in the paint, while Arizona only had 18. Sali Kourouma had back-to-back baskets, which was something Arizona desperately needed. The Wildcats continued to fight back, but they couldn’t match the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs started this fourth period up 21 points and with complete control, making it difficult for the Wildcats to come back. Arizona got a boost of confidence coming from Kourouma’s aggressive offense and defense. The Wildcats showed great effort and drive throughout the end of the game. However, Arizona could never close on the gap on the Bulldogs, ending the game 81-69.

Postgame and Looking Ahead

Even though the Wildcats did not end with a win, they proved how much tenacity and determination they have. Kourouma also got her new season high of 17 points.

Arizona’s next game will be against Seattle University in the McKale Center on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 2 p.m.

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