ANCHORAGE, Alaska ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team tied a school record with 30 assists as it easily defeated Furman 96-63 in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout at Sullivan Arena tonight. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 2-0 on the season.
“I’m really proud of this team,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “To have 30 assists is pretty remarkable. I was pleased with our effort tonight, but also know that there are still plenty of things we can work on.”
Arizona shot 51 percent from the field, 35 percent from three-point range and 77 percent from the free throw line on the game, while Furman connected on 33, 23 and 69, respectively, on the night. The Wildcats also out-rebounded the Lady Paladins 45 to 34.
Junior Joy Hollingsworth led all players with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting (62 percent). She also added nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant tallied her first career double-double, finishing with career highs of 21 points and 11 assists. She also added five rebounds and two steals.
Senior Natalie Jones, playing in front of a home crowd, finished with 16 points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals. Freshman Whitney Fields rounded out the group of Wildcats in double-digit scoring with 11 points. She also grabbed nine boards.
Arizona jumped out to a 14-2 lead to start the game, making five of its first six shots. The Wildcats later led by as many as 23 and went into the locker room at halftime with a 20-point lead, 49-29.
Arizona shot 54 percent from the field and 75 percent from the free throw line on the half, but made just 1-of-8 (13 percent) from beyond the arc. Furman, meanwhile, connected on just 37 percent from the field, 17 percent from downtown and 55 percent from the charity stripe on the half. The Wildcats also out-rebounded the Lady Paladins 26 to 16.
Whisonant led all players with a career-high 19 points in the first half alone. She also dished out seven assists. Oh added eight points, while Hollingsworth pulled down eight rebounds on the half.
Arizona used a 12-0 run early in the second half to go up by 38 points and never looked back, cruising to the 33-point victory. The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from downtown and 83 percent from the free throw line on the half, compared to the 30, 29 and 76, respectively, of the Lady Paladins.
Arizona faces Central Connecticut State in the championship game of the tournament at 5 p.m. (AKST) tomorrow, Nov. 23.