Corvallis, Ore. ?- Arizona’s second half rally fell short, as the Wildcats could not overcome a slow first half, dropping a 69-62 decision at Oregon State on Saturday night in Gill Coliseum. Arizona falls to 7-12 and 1-6 in the Pac-10, and the Beavers improve to 7-8 and 2-4 in the Pac-10.
Arizona shot 40.6 percent (26-64) from the field in the game, as Oregon State shot 49.0 percent (24-49). Oregon State out-rebounded Arizona 36-32, but the Wildcats had a season-high 21 assists and a season-low 12 turnovers. Arizona made four free throws on a season-low five attempts.
Individually for Arizona, senior Joy Hollingsworth led the way with 17 points, six rebounds, and five assists. Junior Jessica Arnold added 16 points, and freshman Rhaya Neabors posted career-highs of 11 points and seven rebounds. Junior Ashley Whisonant added six points and a career-high 11 assists.
For Oregon State, Casey Nash posted a double-double with 27 points and 13 rebounds, and Mercedes Fox-Griffin tallied a double-double with 13 points and 15 assists.
“Defensively we need to do a much better job, but the telling statistic in tonight’s game is that we shot five free throws in the entire game,” head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We need to improve on defense. Right now it is not fun to lose, and everyone is sick of it. Our margin of error is not very high right now. Our players are disappointed, but as much as we are disappointed we need to take it out on our opponents.”
Both teams got out to slow starts, as a layup by Hollingsworth tied the game at 4-4 at the 14:02 mark. The Wildcats started the game out shooting 2-of-13 from the field with five turnovers. The Beavers then used an 11-2 scoring run in the next 2:59 to take a 15-6 lead at the 11:03 mark.
OSU extended its lead to 23-14 on a trey by Nash with 4:28 left to play in the first. Nash hit a jumper in the paint with eight seconds on the clock to put OSU up 31-21, but Arnold hit a three as time expired to cut the deficit to 31-24 at the half. Arizona shot 33.3 percent (10-30) from the field in the first, with a 1-of-8 mark from behind the arc. OSU shot 37.0 (10-27) from the field before halftime, as Nash posted 13 points and nine rebounds.
Arizona started the second half off hot, using a quick 6-0 run on 3-of-4 shooting from the field to cut the Beaver lead to 31-30 at the 17:33 mark. OSU responded with a 6-0 run of its own in the next 1:24 to go up 37-30. Arizona cut the Beaver lead to 39-35 on a jumper by Hollingsworth at the 14:54 mark, but OSU score six-straight points to take a 45-35 lead with 13:34 left to play.
The Wildcats trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half, but used three-straight baskets cut the lead to 59-54 with 5:10 left. Nash then converted on a three-point play to give OSU a 62-54 advantage. A three by Neabors at the 1:10 mark cut the Beaver lead to 64-59 with 1:10 left to play. After two free throws by OSU’s Judie Lomax, Arnold hit a three to cut the 66-62 with 1:01 left. Arizona would not get any closer, as the Beavers sealed the win with free throws down the stretch. Arizona shot 47.1 percent (16-34) from the field in the second half, but could not match OSU’s mark of 63.6 percent (14-22)
Arizona will next host USC on Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.