FRESNO, Calif. ?- Playing in what was supposed to be a homecoming for fallen star Shawntinice Polk, the Arizona women’s basketball team fell to 4-4 on the season with an 81-70 loss to Fresno State at the Save Mart Center this afternoon.
Arizona shot 42 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 59 percent from the free throw line on the game. Fresno State, meanwhile, connected on 52 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the arc and 70 percent from the charity stripe. The Bulldogs also out-rebounded the Wildcats 39 to 34. Both teams committed 22 turnovers on the game.
“We’ve been much better taking care of the ball than we showed today. Fresno State forced us into some turnovers and that really hurt us,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We also missed some free throws that were critical. We can play smarter basketball on both ends.”
Sophomore Ashley Whisonant led Arizona with 14 points and five assists. Junior Joy Hollingsworth also had 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. Senior Natalie Jones added 13 points. Sophomore Ch?© Oh led the team with nine rebounds to go with eight points.
Arizona opened the game on fire, making three of its first four shots, including a pair of three-pointers, to take a 10-0 lead. Later trailing by seven (14-7), the Bulldogs went on a 10-0 run of their own to take a 17-14 lead, holding Arizona scoreless for just under four minutes The Wildcats answered with a 5-0 run to take the lead back, 19-17. From that point, the game remained close, and Arizona went into the locker room at halftime down by three, 36-33.
Arizona shot 44 percent from the field, 60 percent from beyond the arc and 75 percent from the charity stripe on the half, while Fresno State shot 54 percent from the field, 33 percent from downtown and 75 percent from the charity stripe. The Bulldogs edged the Wildcats on both rebounds (15 to 14) and turnovers (13 to 15), forcing Arizona into a first half season high. Jones led Arizona with 10 points, followed by Whisonant and Hollingsworth with seven apiece.
Fresno State quickly extended its lead to 10 (47-37) in the second half, but Arizona used a 7-0 run to make it a three-point game. A pair of Oh free throws made it a one-point game (49-48), but the Bulldogs then went on a 9-0 run to move their lead back to 10 and later led by as many as 12. Arizona was able to cut it to six three times, but that was as close as it would get, as Fresno State went on to win by 11.
Arizona faces UC Santa Barbara at 7 p.m. (PST) on Monday, Dec. 19, in the Thunderdome.