May 25, 2001
ALESSANDRIA, Italy - With a 19-point, 19-rebound effort from freshman forward Veranda James, the University of Arizona women's basketball team won the third game of its Italy tour, 75-58, over the Delta Basket Alessandria club on Thursday.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 37-18 lead in the first 14 minutes of the game, then Alessandria ended the second quarter on a 14-4 spurt that cut the Cats' lead to just nine points (41-32) at halftime.
Alessandria continued to run at the Cats, opening the third quarter with an 8-4 spurt that chopped Arizona's lead down to five (45-40). The Wildcats had only a 56-49 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
The two teams traded buckets through the early moments of the fourth quarter, then the UA out-scored Alessandria, 16-5, over the last six minutes to seal the win.
In addition to James' solid performance, junior forward Elizabeth Pickney put up 18 points and had a team-high four steals. Junior guard Julie Brase had 14 points, including 12 in the second half, to go with five rebounds.
Junior center LaKeisha Taylor came off the bench to grab 13 rebounds and score nine points. Freshman guard Aimee Grzyb added seven points, six assists and three rebounds.
Freshman guard Candice Allen tallied six points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals. Fellow freshman Jen Chesney contributed five rebounds and two points.
"This is the first time on the trip that we've face a big post, but we did a good job adjusting. We really were tested in the second and third quarters. They were pressuring our guards a great deal," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "The key in the second half was Julie Brase hitting a couple of threes. It was good to see the guards finally break it open. The nice thing is that we are relying on different players each game, and that is making us a better team."
"In the first half, we had a lot of turnovers, and the other team converted on those. Our guards started shooting more in the second half, and once again, rebounding and defense were the key elements in this game," said James. "In practice this spring, I really concentrated on my timing for rebounds. I've gotten better at boxing out and being in position. My main focus had been on rebounding."
The Wildcats spent most of Thursday in Milan, viewing the Last Supper painting and visiting Il Duomo and the Milan ducal palace. They will have a light day on Friday that will include an excursion over the border into Switzerland.
On Saturday, May 26, the group travels on to Lucca, where the Cats will play the La Spezia club team at 8:30 p.m.