TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team easily defeated Play Mode Sports 80-54 in its first exhibition game of the season at McKale Center tonight.
“We had a great start to the game,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “I really think we executed well. We played good defense. I saw a lot of good stuff and some stuff we can work on. There were those moments when things were good, then moments when you were shaking your head.”
The Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field on the game, compared to the 34 percent of Play Mode. Arizona also won the rebounding battle 50 to 41 and forced 25 Play Mode turnovers.
Junior All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk led the Wildcats with 17 points on 62 percent shooting, seven rebounds, five steals, two assists and two blocks. Freshman guard Jessica Arnold added 10 points, while senior Dee-Dee Wheeler finished with nine points and eight assists. Sophomore Shannon Hobson added eight points, all of which she scored in the second half.
The Wildcats held Play Mode scoreless for the first 8:22 of the game. Meanwhile, Arizona scored the first 24 points of the game, forcing seven Play Mode turnovers and out-rebounding them 11-1 during that time. The Wildcats continued to build on the lead, and went into the locker room up 42-16.
Arizona shot 50 percent from the field on the half, but connected on just 11 percent from downtown and 63 percent at the line. Play Mode shot 23 percent from the field and 44 percent from the charity stripe, and was 0-for-4 from downtown. The Wildcats out-rebounded Play Mode 23 to 17 and forced 17 turnovers while committing seven.
Polk and Wheeler paced the Wildcats with seven points each on the half, followed by junior Natalie Jones and Arnold with six points apiece. Polk also pulled down four rebounds, while Wheeler dished out six assists.
Arizona quickly built its lead to 30 early in the second half, but Play Mode rattled off nine straight points to make it a 48-27 game. Play Mode cut the Wildcat lead to as little as 16 (55-39), but Arizona was able to extend it back to 27 on several occasions and went on to win 80-54.
The Wildcats out-shot Play Mode 49 percent to 34 percent and out-rebounded them 27 to 24. Polk led Arizona with 10 points, followed by Hobson with eight.
Arizona plays its final exhibition game at 7 p.m. next Monday, Nov. 8, against Baden Sports.