TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team entered today’s game against No. 8 Stanford with the longest home winning streak in the nation at 34 games. The Wildcats saw that streak come to an end, losing 78-66 to the Cardinal in front of 3,035 fans at McKale Center. It was Arizona’s first loss since Nov. 22, 2002, when the team lost its 2002-03 season opener in overtime to Louisiana State, 78-71
“The winning streak was a great run ?- a lot better than we’re getting credit for,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “It hurts. We need to start another streak at home and we need to be appreciated for it.”
Arizona shot 37 percent from the field, 29 percent from three-point range and 53 percent from the line on the game. Meanwhile, Stanford connected on 49 percent of its shots from the field, 44 percent from downtown and an amazing 89 percent from the line. Both teams pulled down 33 boards.
Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler led Arizona with 25 points and six rebounds. Junior center Shawntinice Polk added 12 points and seven boards. Seniors Katrina Lindner and Danielle Adefeso added eight points apiece, while junior Natalie Jones dished out a game-high six assists.
“We really hit a lull in the middle of the second half,” Bonvicini said. “We started well in the second half, we had a good lead, and we wanted to sustain it. Polkey was getting tired in the second half. We needed some other players to step up. Dee-Dee (Wheeler) was trying to do too much. She tried to put the team on her back.”
“Stanford is a really good team,” she continued. “They’re smart and they make their free throws. They have a good inside game, and they have a good outside game. Unfortunately, they got to the free throw line a lot.”
Stanford jumped out to a 6-0 lead, as Arizona didn’t get on the board until the 16:04 mark when Polk hit two free throws. The Wildcats didn’t score a basket until a Polk jumper at 12:50, which made it a 10-4 game. The Cardinal led by as many as 11 (19-8), when Arizona slowly began to chip away at it, tying the game at 26 with 4:32 left in the half. The Wildcats went into the locker room down by three, 35-32.
Stanford shot a blazing 56 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and 75 percent from the free throw line on the half, while Arizona made just 36 percent from the field, 31 percent from downtown and 67 percent from the charity stripe. However, the Wildcats out-rebounded the Cardinal 21 to 11. Wheeler led all players with 14 points and five rebounds, while Polk added 10.
Arizona took its first lead, 36-35, at the 19:20 mark of the second half on a Wheeler steal and a Katrina Lindner lay-in. Both teams traded baskets before the Wildcats scored five straight points to take a 54-48 lead. Later, Arizona was up 56-50 went it went on a 6:47 scoring draught, during which time Stanford scored 15 points to take a 65-56 lead. With the Cardinal leading by as many as 11, Arizona cut it to eight (73-65), but that was as close as the Wildcats would get. Stanford went on to win 78-66.
The Wildcats shot 37 percent from the field and just 29 percent from three-point range and 53 percent from the free throw line on the half. Stanford, on the other hand, made 49 percent of its shots, including 44 percent from downtown. The Cardinal also drained 22-of-24 (89 percent) free throws in the second half and out-rebounded the Wildcats 22 to 12.
Arizona travels to Los Angeles for a 7 p.m. game at USC next Friday, Jan. 14.