TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Five players reached double figures in the scoring column as the Arizona women’s basketball team cruised to an 86-65 win over Oregon State at McKale Center this afternoon. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 14-5 overall and 6-3 in Pac-10 play.
Arizona shot 52 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the free throw line on the game, compared to the 32, 31 and 78, respectively, of the Beavers. The Wildcats also edged Oregon State 36 to 34 on the glass and blocked four shots.
“This was very important to end the first half of the conference season strong,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We are 6-3, which normally wouldn’t be great. But with our struggles with injuries, it’s a good thing.”
“We control our own destiny,” she continued. “We are tied with Arizona State now. With the Stanford-USC game tonight, someone is going to be down two games. We have five conference games at home, and we have to get those. We need to take one game at a time.”
Freshman Jessica Arnold scored a career-high 21 points on 71 percent shooting, including 75 percent from beyond the arc. “Jessica Arnold was huge,” Bonvicini noted. “She had a career high today and she came up big for us. I give her a lot of credit. She has a lot of confidence for a player that isn’t that tall. She plays very physical. She has a great feel for the game and continues to get better.”
Junior Shawntinice Polk added 15 points, while senior Dee-Dee Wheeler finished with 14. Junior Natalie Jones and senior Danielle Adefeso rounded out the group of double-digit scorers with 15 and 10, respectively.
After a close start to the game, the Wildcats used a 10-1 run to take a nine-point lead and later scored 11 straight to go up 27-8. Arizona led by as many as 25 (41-16) and went into the locker room at halftime with a 47-23 lead.
Arizona shot 62 percent from the field, 63 percent from three-point range and 100 percent from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Oregon State connected on 30 percent from the field and 71 percent from the charity stripe. The Beavers were 0-for-4 from downtown. The Wildcats out-rebounded Oregon State 17 to 12 and forced 12 Beaver turnovers.
Arnold led all players with 15 points on 3-for-3 from the field, all from three-point range, and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Polk added 10 points and four rebounds.
Oregon State opened the second half on a 9-2 run to narrow the Arizona lead to 17, but that was as close as the Beavers would get as Arizona went on to the 21-point win. The Wildcats shot 43 percent from the field on the half, but were out-rebounded 22 to 19.
Arizona hosts instate rival Arizona State for a 7 p.m. game next Wednesday, Jan. 26. It’s College Night, so all UA students with a valid CatCard get in free.
“Someone said we couldn’t get 10,000 people here against Arizona State,” Bonvicini said. “I think it would be great to get that many fans here and support Arizona women’s basketball. We can show that we have two great basketball teams here in Tucson. I know that’s a challenge and I am up for a challenge.”