TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team opened the 2004-05 season tonight with the annual Red & Blue Game. The Blue team, composed mainly of Arizona’s starters, defeated the Red Team, made up of reserves and men’s practice players, 76-75 at McKale Center.
The Blue team shot 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from downtown and an amazing 90 percent from the free throw line. Meanwhile, the Red team combined for 39 percent from the field and just 24 percent from three-point range. The Blue team out-rebounded the Red team 43 to 34, but committed 28 turnovers compared to the 17 of the Red team.
Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led the Blue team with 26 points on 67 percent shooting. She also dished out four assists and nabbed four steals. Junior Shawntinice Polk added 16 points, 15 rebounds and a game-high six assists, while senior Danielle Adefeso and sophomore Shannon Hobson had nine points apiece. Hobson also pulled down eight boards.
Junior Joy Hollingsworth, who has to sit out this season after transferring from San Francisco, paced the Red team with 24 points and five rebounds.
“Pokey has gotten better and so has Dee-Dee,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “For the younger players, it was their first Red-Blue Game so they were jittery to begin.”
“We need to make sure we execute the offense and our defense needs to be solid,” she continued. “The starting lineup will develop over the next two weeks. We will be improved the next time we play.”
In the first half, the Blue team built its lead to as many as nine on several occasions and went into the locker room up by five, 32-27. The Blue team out-rebounded the Red team 23 to 18 and shot 42 percent from the field, compared to the 31 percent of the Red team. The Blue team was led by Polk with 10 points and eight rebounds, while Hollingsworth paced the Red team with 10 points.
The Blue team built its lead to 10 early in the second half, but a pair of Polk fouls in just over a minute allowed the Red team back into the game, and it took its first lead at the 13:51 mark. Both teams then battled back and forth for the better part of the half, until after a 64-64 tie, the Blue team went on a 12-4 run. But the Red team wouldn’t quit, using a 7-0 run to make it a one-point game, 76-75, with just over a minute remaining. A last-second attempt by the Red team came up short.
Wheeler came up big in the half, scoring 20 of her team’s 44 points, while connecting on 4-of-4 from beyond the arc. Hollingsworth finished with 14 points on the half for the Red team.
Arizona hosts Play Mode Sports for a 7 p.m. exhibition game next Tuesday, Nov. 2, in McKale.