TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team made 11-of-16 three-pointers (69 percent) en route to an 87-74 victory over second-place Southern California at McKale Center this evening. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 17-8 overall and 9-5 in Pac-10 play, half a game behind the Women of Troy.
Arizona shot 51 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line on the game, while USC connected on just 34 percent from the field and 60 percent from the line. The Wildcats also edged the Trojans 45 to 43 on the glass.
“I thought it was great the way everyone was included offensively,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “It was not just one or two players. We were able to hit threes from multiple players. That is very difficult to defend. Defensively, we did a good job controlling the boards. This is a big win for us. It is very big for our confidence.”
Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led a group of five Wildcats in double-digit scoring with a game-high 25 points. She also pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She also dished out six assists.
Junior Shawntinice Polk added 17 points, eight rebounds and two blocks, while junior Natalie Jones finished with 15 points on 100 percent shooting, and six assists. Senior Danielle Adefeso notched her first double-double of the season, finishing with 12 points and 10 boards. Freshman Ashley Whisonant rounded out the group with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-2 from downtown.
USC scored the first four points of the game before the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-4 lead. Arizona used hot shooting to extend its led to nine, 19-10. The Wildcats led by as many as 11, but the Trojans used a 7-0 run to make it a four-point game (34-30). Arizona responded with 12 straight points to close out the half and make it a 46-30 game.
Arizona shot a blazing 59 percent from the field and 67 percent from three-point range on the half, compared the to 37 and 43 percent, respectively, of the Trojans. The Wildcats drained a season-high eight treys on the half (two each by Wheeler, Jones, Whisonant and Jessica Arnold). Arizona out-rebounded USC 21 to 15. Wheeler led all players with 12 points and seven rebounds
A pair of Wildcat three-pointers early in the second half gave Arizona its biggest lead of the game at 19 points (54-35). The Women of Troy used a 7-0 run midway through the second half to cut the Wildcat lead to 10, 65-55. Arizona then pushed its lead back to 17 on back-to-back Wheeler jumpers and went on to win by 13.
Arizona travels to Corvallis, Ore., for a 7 p.m. game at Oregon State next Thursday, Feb. 17.