TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team claimed the championship of the Mission Management & Trust 2005 Fiesta Bowl Classic with a 61-51 win over Chicago State in the McKale Center this afternoon. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 4-2 on the season.
Sophomore Ashley Whisonant was named tournament MVP after averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals over the two games. Senior Natalie Jones and junior Joy Hollingsworth were also named to the team. Jones averaged 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.0 steals per game, while Hollingsworth put up averages of 11.5 points and 5.0 rebounds.
Arizona shot 39 percent from the field, 20 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the charity stripe on the game, compared to the 38, 33 and 62 percent, respectively, of the Cougars. Chicago State out-rebounded the Wildcats 38 to 34, but Arizona forced 20 Cougar turnovers while committing just nine of its own.
Whisonant led all players with 14 points, followed by Jones with 13 and Hollingsworth with 11. Jones also pulled down 10 boards for her first double-double of the season, while Whisonant dished out a team-high four assists.
Arizona trailed 12-8 early in the game before going on a 9-2 run to take a 17-14 lead. The Wildcats later led by as many as seven and went into the locker room at halftime up by five, 30-25.
Arizona shot 41 percent from the field, 33 percent from beyond the arc and 100 percent from the free throw line on the half, while Chicago State connected on 42, 40 and 33 percent, respectively. The Cougars dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Wildcats 21 to 12, but Arizona forced 14 Chicago State turnovers while committing just five.
Whisonant led Arizona with eight points, followed by Hollingsworth with seven. Jones pulled down a team-high six rebounds on the half.
Arizona started the second half slowly, playing 3:39 before getting on the board on a pair of Whisonant free throws. Luckily for the Wildcats, CSU’s only points during that time came on a pair of free throws as well. Chicago State took its first lead since early in the game at the 13:59 mark. Both teams then traded several baskets before Arizona went on an 8-1 run to go up 43-37. Chicago State answered with a 12-2 run to take the lead back, 49-45.
Arizona then went on a 16-0 run, holding the Cougars scoreless for 6:22 and putting the game away for good. The Wildcats shot 36 percent from the field and 79 percent from the free throw line on the half. Arizona also out-rebounded Chicago State 22 to 17.
Arizona travels to College Park, Md., for a 1 p.m. (EST) game at No. 9 Maryland next Sunday, Dec. 11.
Mission Management & Trust 2005 Fiesta Bowl Classic All-Tournament Team
Nikki Luckhurst Tulane
Jenny Callan Lehigh
Faith Buchanan Chicago State
Natalie Jones Arizona
Joy Hollingsworth Arizona
Tournament Most Valuable Player
Ashley Whisonant Arizona