SAN JOSE, Calif. ?- The ninth-seeded Arizona women’s basketball team upset No. 8-seed Oregon 63-57 in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament at HP Pavilion tonight. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 8-21 on the season and advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face top-seeded Stanford at 5 p.m. (PST).
Arizona shot 40 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 74 percent from the free throw line on the game. Oregon connected on 39 percent from the field, 31 percent from downtown and 64 percent from the charity stripe on the game. The Ducks dominated the boards, 43 to 28, but the Wildcats won the turnover battle 14 to 20.
"I'm just so proud of our players," Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. "We have had a difficult season, so we felt coming in that this was our chance to start over a little bit. We felt that our pressure could really affect the outcome of the game. I felt that we had to utilize our quickness and the fact that we had a deeper bench than we did earlier in the season."
Ashley Whisonant added 17 points, three steals, two assists and a blocked shot. Senior Natalie Jones was held to just seven points on 1-of-5 from the field. Freshman Amina Njonkou led Arizona with five boards.
Arizona jumped out to a 6-2 lead, as Whisonant scored all six of Arizona’s points. The Wildcats later led 9-4, but Oregon scored five straight points to tie it at nine. After a tie at 11, Arizona scored eight straight to take its largest lead of the game, 19-11. Oregon later cut it to three (22-19), but Arizona used a 12-5 run to go up by 10, 34-24. The Ducks closed out the half on a 4-1 run and the Wildcats went into the locker room at halftime up by seven, 35-28.
Arizona shot 50 percent from the field, 67 percent from three-point range and 72 percent from the free throw line on the half. Oregon, meanwhile, connected on 37 percent from the field, 25 percent from downtown and 57 percent from the charity stripe.
The Ducks out-rebounded the Wildcats 18 to 16 and won the turnover battle seven to eight. Hollingsworth paced Arizona with 11 points, followed by Whisonant with 10.
Arizona opened the second half on a 6-2 run, all points scored by Hollingsworth, to take an 11-point lead (41-30). Oregon responded with a 14-7 run to make it a four-point game, 48-44. The Ducks later cut it to two (54-52), but a Hollingsworth trey extended it back to five and put the game out of reach for good, as Arizona went on to the seven-point win.
Arizona faces top-seeded Stanford at 5 p.m. (PST) tomorrow, March 4.