Dec. 12, 2003
Tucson, Ariz. (Dec. 12) - Making each of its 19 free throw attempts in the second half, the University of Arizona (6-2) women's basketball team extended its record-setting home win streak to 17 games with an 83-69 victory over Brigham Young (5-3) in McKale Center on Friday night.
Despite jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead to open the contest, Arizona never led by more than that five-point spread through the first 12 minutes of the game. Holding just a three-point (24-21) advantage at 8:27, the Wildcats used an 11-4 run to push their lead to 10 points (35-25) with 2:23 left in the period. The Cats couldn't hold BYU off, though, and the Cougars finished the half on an 8-4 spurt that gave Arizona just a 39-33 spread at the half.
Through the first six minutes of the second half, the Cats managed to extend their lead to 11 points (54-43), only to see BYU score four unanswered points to cut it to seven (54-47) at 11:29. Fueled by six points from All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk, the Wildcats responded with an 11-2 run over the next two minutes to gain a 16-point (65-49) advantage.
Less than a minute later, Polk picked up her fourth foul of the game, and with her on the bench, the Cougars were able to cut Arizona's lead to just 10 points (65-55). With four minutes left, Wildcat coach Joan Bonvicini put Polk back in the game, and Arizona responded with two quick buckets for a 14-point (71-57) lead.
After scrapping back to within 10 points (73-63) with 1:22 left in the game, BYU began intentionally fouling the Cats to stop the clock. Arizona was a perfect 8-for-8 down the stretch, including an outstanding 6-for-6 performance from sophomore guard Natalie Jones, who finished with a career-high 20 points on the night.
"We did a really nice job on the boards tonight. That was a real focus for us this week because, even though we won last week, we did not do a very good job of rebounding. We knew we had to improve on that tonight," said Bonvicini, whose team finished with a 43-33 advantage on the boards. "We really tried to make BYU work for their three-pointers, and we did a good job of controlling the tempo. And, when you go 19-of-19 from the free throw line (in the second half), you are going to win games like this."
In addition to Jones' 20 points, Polk put up a game-high 24 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Sophomore forward CoCoa Sanford came off the bench for 11 points and seven rebounds, while junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler racked up 11 points.
The Wildcats wrap up a four-game homestand on Sunday, Dec. 14, against Texas State at 1 p.m.