Jan. 5, 2012
TUCSON - Behind junior guard Davellyn Whyte's double-double, the University of Arizona Wildcat women's basketball team picked up a win over the UCLA Bruins for the first time since the 2006-07 season and for the first time in Tucson since the 2004-05 season. With Thursday's 74-66 win, UA moved to 12-2 overall and 1-1 in Pac-12 play as UCLA fell to 6-8 overall and 1-2 in league action.
"We played a lot better down the stretch than we played in a while," head coach Niya Butts said. "Our team faced adversity tonight, and we got the win. In our previous game, we responded to the adversity as if we were down by 20. This game, we battled. Our guard play was great tonight. It was just a really good team win and I'm happy about that. I was disappointed with our rebounding. Kudos to our team for finishing tonight."
"This is a great win for us," Butts said. "We hadn't done this in eight years, so it is great to get a win against them. It gives us confidence. This isn't necessarily a message to the country but a message to our locker room. We were down by six twice, and we closed the game out. That's huge for our confidence, and it will be momentum for our game this Saturday."
Arizona last defeated UCLA, 66-63, on Feb. 15, 2007 is Los Angeles. The Wildcats last defeated the Bruins in Tucson on Feb. 10, 2005 (76-73). The Cats held the Bruins to just six points in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Whyte led all scorers with 23 points on 6-of-14 from the field, 2-of-7 from behind the arc and 9-of-12 from the charity stripe. She collected her second double-double of the season with 10 rebounds. She also had two assists and two steals in 40 minutes of play.
UA also got double-digit scoring efforts from sophomore forward Erica Barnes (16), senior guard Reiko Thomas (15) and senior guard Shanita Arnold (10). Arnold and Barnes just missed double-doubles with nine assists and nine rebounds, respectively.
The Wildcats shot 45.3 percent from the field (24-53), 37.5 percent from three-point range (6-16) and 76.9 percent from the free throw line (20-26). Arizona was outrebounded, 43-40, by the Bruins but cut back on the turnovers to 15. Both squads had 17 points off turnovers with UA forcing 14 out of the Bruins. UCLA mounted two six-point comebacks in the second half, mostly from 20 second chance points.
Arizona's starting five included Arnold, Barnes, freshman center Aley Rohde, Thomas and Whyte. Junior forward Cheshi Poston had the most minutes off the bench with 11. Junior guard Lindsey Fearing had the most points off the bench with five.
Sophomore guard Thea Lemberger paced the Bruins with 17 points and five assists. Junior Markel Walker and senior Rebekah Gardner each had 12 points. UCLA shot 34.2 percent from the field (26-76), 28.6 percent from three-point range (6-21) and 80 percent from the free throw line (8-10).
The Wildcats will play next on Sat., Jan. 7 when they host the USC Trojans at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.