TUCSON, Ariz. ?- A three-point attempt by sophomore Jessica Arnold as time wound down was blocked and the Arizona women’s basketball team fell 66-63 to No. 20 Utah at McKale Center tonight. With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 2-2 on the season.
Arizona shot 41 percent from the field, 14 percent from downtown and 70 percent from the free throw line on the night. Utah shot 49 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and 71 percent from the charity stripe. The Utes also out-rebounded the Wildcats 38 to 32. Arizona forced 22 Utah turnovers while committing just 13.
“Tonight was frustrating to lose,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “This is the first time that we have played a full game and played well, so it’s hard to lose a game like that. Utah capitalized on all of our mistakes.”
Arizona trailed by as many as six early in the first half, but used an 8-0 run to take an 18-16 lead with 4:49 left in the half. The game was then tied three times before a Hollingsworth trey gave the Wildcats a 25-22 lead with 1:48 on the clock. Arizona maintained that lead and went into the locker at halftime up 27-24.
Arizona shot 38 percent from the field, 14 percent from three-point range and 67 percent from the free throw line on the half. Utah, meanwhile, made 36, 17 and 88 percent of its shots, respectively. The Utes out-rebounded the Wildcats 19 to 17, but were forced into 10 turnovers to Arizona’s five. Hollingsworth led Arizona with seven points on the half.
Arizona scored the first four points of the second half to take a seven-point lead, but Utah later used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 41 with 13:00 left to play. Utah then took an eight-point lead (51-43) on a pair of wide open three-pointers and a lay-up. The Utes later led by nine when Arizona went on a 6-0 run to make it a 56-53 game with just over five minutes remaining.
Utah scored on back-to-back possessions to extend its lead to seven (64-57) with 46 seconds remaining. But the Wildcats wouldn’t give up. A Whisonant jumper and a subsequent Hollingsworth trey made it a 64-62 game with 23 seconds remaining. Utah then made two free throws, while Arizona only converted one, making it a 66-63 game. Arizona had the ball with four seconds remaining, but Arnold’s three was blocked as time expired.
The Wildcats host the 15th annual Mission Management & Trust Fiesta Bowl Classic next Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3-4. The Wildcats face Lehigh at 3:30 p.m. Saturday. The other first-round game, which begins at 1 p.m., is Chicago State vs. Tulane.