TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak in exciting fashion, defeating Oregon 81-72 in overtime at McKale Center this afternoon. With the win, the Wildcats’ first in 2006, the team improves to 6-11 overall and 2-5 in the Pac-10.
Arizona shot 38 percent from the field, 44 percent from three-point range and 87 percent from the free throw line on the game, compared to the 44, 33 and 67 percent, respectively, of Oregon. The Wildcats also out-rebounded the Ducks 44 to 35 and forced 16 Oregon turnovers, while committing 12.
“This is a great win, a great win for our confidence,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “In the second half and in overtime, the team rebounded very well and made shots. We just want to take this game and build on it.”
Junior Joy Hollingsworth led all players with a season-high 22 points. Sophomore Ch?© Oh added a career-high 20 points, while senior Natalie Jones finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Freshman Whitney Fields also scored a career-high 12 points to go with a game-high nine rebounds.
Arizona jumped out to a 12-4 lead to start the game, but the Ducks used a 5-0 run to make it a three-point game (12-9), then hit a pair of threes to tie it at 19. Oregon later used a 7-0 run to take a 28-24 lead and went into the locker room at the intermission up 30-26.
Arizona shot just 26 percent from the field and 14 percent from three-point range on the half, but connected on 11-of-12 (92 percent) free throws. Oregon shot 48 percent from the field and 36 percent from beyond the arc, but failed to shoot a free throw on the half. The Wildcats edged the Ducks on the boards, 18 to 17, and committed just three turnovers on the half.
Oh led Arizona with 10 points, followed by sophomore Ashley Whisonant with eight.
Oregon scored the first two points of the second half, but the Wildcats later went on an 11-0 run to take a 39-34 lead. During the run, Arizona held the Ducks scoreless for 5:46. The Wildcats built their lead to as many as eight (48-40), but Oregon scored six straight points to make it a two-point game (48-46). Arizona responded with a 9-2 run to take its biggest lead of the game (57-48).
But the Ducks wouldn’t give up. A 5-0 run made it a four-point game (57-53) and Oregon later tied it at 62 with 55 seconds left in the game. Both teams then traded baskets to tie it at 64, but with 17 second remaining, Arizona couldn’t get a shot off and the game went into overtime.
In the overtime period, Oregon stole the ball and scored first, giving the Ducks their first lead since the 16:58 mark of the second half. The Wildcats tied it at the 3:11 mark on a Hollingsworth three and took the lead, 69-67, on a pair of Oh free throws. The Ducks regained the lead on a trey as the shot clock expired, but Hollingsworth countered with a three of her own to give Arizona a two-point lead with 1:56 left.
The Wildcats got a defensive stop on Oregon’s next possession and Oh made one of two free throws to put Arizona up by three. The Ducks turned the ball over on their next possession and the Wildcats capitalized, making it a 75-70 game. The Ducks quickly scored, but Jones then hit two free throws to maintain the five-point lead. Arizona made its free throws down the stretch to seal the nine-point victory.
Arizona travels to the Bay Area, where it will face first-place Stanford at 7 p.m. (PST) next Thursday, Jan. 15.