TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team easily defeated Division II Fort Lewis College 86-55 in its final exhibition game of the season at McKale Center tonight.
The Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and 55 percent from the free throw line on the game, compared to the 53, 50 and 67 percent, respectively, of the Skyhwaks. Arizona also out-rebounded Fort Lewis 35-27 and forced 31 Skyhawk turnovers, while committing just 12 of its own.
“I thought our first half defensive intensity could have been better,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “Our defensive style is to wear teams down. We create turnovers from the press and the pressure wears them out.”
“Tonight we had 16 steals against 12 turnovers, which is always good,” she continued. “I thought we were unselfish and got good steals. We took 27 more shots than Fort Lewis.”
Senior Natalie Jones led all players with 26 points on 9-of-12 (75 percent) shooting. “When Natalie is in a groove, that just makes our team a whole lot better,” Bonvicini said.
Junior Joy Hollingsworth added 18 points, four steals and three assists, while freshman Kelsey Burns finished with 12 points. Sophomore Ch?© Oh pulled down a team-high nine rebounds to go along with eight points, while sophomore Ashley Whisonant dished out eight assists and scored eight points on the game.
Arizona took an early 7-2 lead, but Fort Lewis used a 9-0 run to go up 11-7. The Skyhawks later led by as many as six (14-8), but the Wildcats then went on a 22-5 run to take a 30-19 lead. Arizona continued to add to the lead and went into the locker room up by 15, 42-27.
Arizona shot 47 percent from the field, 38 percent from three-point range and 50 percent from the free throw line on the half, compared to the 53, 43 and 80, respectively, of Fort Lewis. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Skyhawks 19-12 and forced 11 Fort Lewis turnovers. Jones led all players with 14 points on the half, including four treys.
Arizona blew the game open in the second half, building its lead to as many as 33 and winning by 31, 86-55. The Wildcats shot 52 percent from the field, 36 percent from downtown and 56 percent from the charity stripe. Fort Lewis, meanwhile, made 52, 60 and 50, respectively on the half. Arizona out-rebounded the Skyhawks 16-15.
Arizona opens the regular season with an 8:30 p.m. game next Friday, Nov. 18, against Loyola Marymount. The game is part of a doubleheader with the No. 6 volleyball team, which hosts USC at 6 p.m.