College Park, Md. ?- No. 1-ranked Maryland (4-0) took advantage of a dismal Arizona first half, and hung on in the second half for a 75-61 win over the Wildcats (1-2) on Saturday in the BTI Classic before 6,235 fans in the Comcast Center.
Arizona shot 46.4 percent (26-56) from the field in the game, but started off shooting 15.4 percent (2-13). The Wildcats registered 12 steals, and scored 31 points off of 22 Maryland turnovers.
“Our slow start in the first half proved to be the big difference in the game,” head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We didn’t execute our game plan early, we got ourselves in a big hole, but we were finally able to climb our way out in the second half.”
The Terps shot 45.8 percent (27-59) from the floor, and out-rebounded Arizona 42-27, using 17 offensive rebounds for 20 second-chance points. Maryland was also 15-for-20 at the free throw line, as Arizona shot 6-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Individually for the Wildcats, senior Joy Hollingsworth scored 22 points and tallied six second-half steals. Sophomore Malia O’Neal added a career-high 11 points while shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, and junior Suzy Bofia posted eight points and six rebounds.
Junior Ashleigh Newman scored 17 points to lead the Terps, as Maryland had four players score in double-figures.
Arizona and Maryland started the game trading baskets, but the Terps went on a 14-0 scoring run in 4:24 to take a 16-2 lead. Maryland went up 23-3 at the 13:02 mark, as Arizona missed nine-consecutive shots from the field. The Terps led by as many as 26 in the first half, but the Wildcats used a 9-2 run in 1:55 to cut the deficit to 42-23 with 4:15 left to play in the first. Maryland led Arizona 48-28 at halftime, as the Wildcats shot 41.4 percent (12-29) from the field in the half, compared to a 50 percent (17-34) mark for the Terps.
The second half was a different story, as the Wildcats out-scored Maryland 33-27 behind a 51.9 percent (14-27) mark from the field. Arizona outscored Maryland 20-4 in the final 8:11 of the game. The Terps led by as many as 30 in the second half, but Arizona used a 9-0 scoring run in 3:24 to cut the deficit to 71-50 with 4:47 left in the game. The Wildcats also held the Terps scoreless in the final 3:46 of the game, outscoring Maryland 9-0 in that span.
Arizona will next face TCU on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m. (EST) in the BTI Classic.