Nov. 4, 2008
TUCSON, Ariz. - Freshman Reiko Thomas hit 16-of-18 free throws and finished with 20 points as Arizona blew by visiting Panhandle State, 85-33, Tuesday evening in an exhibition game in McKale Center.
The Wildcats dominated on the boards against the smaller Lady Aggies, pulling down 22 offensive rebounds and 45 total while allowing the visitors just 19 boards overall. Amina Njonkou led the charge with 11 to go along with 11 points while Ify Ibekwe added nine rebounds.
The two teams traded baskets through the early moments before the Wildcats exerted their will and took control of the contest for the final 35 minutes. Trailing 8-6 after a three-pointer by Nicole Candelaria, the Cats scored the next 12 points for a 18-8 advantage at the 11:26 mark.
The shots stopped falling for Panhandle State and continued hitting the mark on the other end of the floor. The Wildcats found a strong balance of inside play from Njonkou while Thomas had 12 points before the break and Ashley Frazier had 8 points and 4 assists.
Frazier looked confident and in charge of the game at the point, continually setting up her teammates for easy looks at the basket. She finished the game with seven helpers and four steals against just three turnovers.
The Cats also blew the game open with solid free throw shooting, making 27-of-32 attempts for the game (.844). The defense also deserves recognition as Panhandle State was forced into 24 turnovers while Arizona gave the ball away just 10 times.
Five Arizona players finished in double figures with Njonkou and Thomas being joined by Frazier (13 points), Sarah Hays (12 points) and Jhakia McDonald (12 points). Arizona was an efficient 4-of-10 from beyond the arc with Frazier tallying three of the four.
With the exhibition portion of the schedule now complete, Arizona prepares for its opening three games to be played at the Bank of America Classic hosted by the University of Hawaii, November 14-16 in Hilo. The Wildcats open with the University of Toledo at the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. (HST)