Tucson, Ariz. ?- Arizona guard Ashley Whisonant missed a layup with six seconds left and a chance to tie the game, and Oregon hit two free throws down the stretch to escape with a 59-55 win over the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon in McKale Center. The loss drops Arizona to 9-18 overall and 3-12 in the Pac-10, as Oregon improves to 14-10 and 6-8 in the Pac-10.
Arizona finished the game shooting 35.6 percent (21-59) from the field, and squandered a four point lead with 11:53 left in the second half. Oregon shot 41.9 percent (18-43) from the field, using a 13-4 run over 6:36 in the second half to take control of the game. Oregon shot 94.7 percent (18-19) from the free throw line, as the Wildcats made 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) at the charity stripe.
“Defensively I think we did a pretty good job,” head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “They just out-willed us. We out-rebounded them, but it came down to free throws, and we win if we make those. It’s not fun losing. We have got to get tougher.”
Individually for Arizona, Whisonant scored a game-high 14 points coming off the bench, and senior Linda Pace added a season-high nine points to go with four rebounds and three steals.
Junior Kaela Chapdelaine led Oregon with 10 points.
18 of the 19 players from both teams that played in the game scored a basket.
Arizona trailed early on in the game, as Oregon raced out to a 14-4 lead at the 15:10 mark in the first on two free throws by Cicely Oaks. The Wildcats used a 14-2 scoring run over the next 7:39 to take an 18-16 lead on a jumper by Shannon Hobson at the 7:31 mark. The Wildcats held a 25-22 lead with 42 seconds left in the first, but a three-point play by Eleanor Haring with 17 seconds left tied the game at 25-25 going into halftime.
Arizona shot 38.7 percent (12-31) from the field in the first half, compared to a 35.0 percent mark (7-20) by Oregon.
The Wildcats controlled the second half for the first eight minutes, and led 41-37 at the 11:53 mark. Oregon then put together a 13-4 run over the next 6:36 to take a 50-45 lead with 5:17 left in the game. Oregon led by as many as seven down the stretch, but Arizona cut the deficit to two points at 57-55 on a lay in by Pace with 44 seconds left.
Arizona will next travel to UCLA on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion.