March 6, 2004
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Aimee Grzyb turned a rough session at practice into a smooth day of shooting.
Grzyb scored a career-high 24 points and Shawntinice Polk added 22 to help Arizona defeat Oregon State 81-58 on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament.
Natalie Jones added 10 points and 10 rebounds as the second-seeded Wildcats (23-7) won their fifth straight. Dee-Dee Wheeler added 10 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
Grzyb, a San Jose native, was 9-of-14 from the floor, including 6-of-9 from 3-point range.
"Yesterday I couldn't make a 3-pointer if my life depended on it," said the senior guard. "But I cam out today and they started going down."
Grzyb said the ball hit everywhere but inside the net during a shootaround the previous day. She gained confidence, though, as her shot started falling.
"I was lucky a lot of those shots went in," she said. "But I was open and I'm going to take those shots."
Oregon State coach Judy Spoelstra said Grzyb made all the difference.
"We knew she was a good 3-point shooter," said Spoelstra. " We were slow getting out to her. We couldn't neutralize her."
Hollye Chapman matched her season-high with 23 points for the seventh-seeded Beavers (15-14), who lost their fifth in six games. Shannon Howell had 13 points.
Arizona, which defeated Oregon State for the fifth time in their last six meetings, meets Washington, which beat Southern California 67-50 earlier in the day, in the semifinals on Sunday.
Chapman's basket at 15:57 tied the game at 42-all, but then the Beavers went scoreless over the next 6:30.
Arizona took advantage of Oregon State's drought by scoring 16 straight points to open a 58-42 advantage with 9:30 remaining.
"That stretch where we didn't score was crucial," said Spoelstra. "That seemed to be the dagger."
The Wildcats, who captured a share of their first ever regular-season Pac-10 title, maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way as Polk scored 16 of her points in the second half.
"She got some offensive rebounds and that seemed to get her going on both ends of the court," said Oregon State's Brina Chaney, who finished with 10 points.
Arizona outrebounded the Beavers 45-30.
The Beavers took a 25-16 lead with 8:40 left in the first half when Chaney hit a layup.
Arizona responded with a 10-0 run, highlighted by a Grzyb 3-pointer with 4:22 left.
After seven lead changes in the half, Oregon State took a 35-34 lead into intermission.