TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team dropped its final home game of the season, falling 64-60 in front of 4,350 fans at McKale Center this evening. With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 19-10 overall and 11-7 in Pac-10 play.
“This was definitely not the way we wanted to finish up at home,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said “This was a very disappointing loss. It was back and forth for the most part, then we really broke it open. But they came back and hit some shots on us. Rebounding was a big issue. Our guards didn’t get to the boards. We were also allowing some second shots on the other end for them. When you don’t rebound the way you want, it makes the transition game harder.”
Arizona shot just 34 percent from the field, 14 percent from three-point range and 68 percent from the free throw line on the game, while Washington connected on 38, 42 and 71 percent, respectively, on the game. The Huskies also edged the Wildcats on the boards, 41 to 40. Both teams committed 24 turnovers on the game.
Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler, playing her last game at McKale, led Arizona with 19 points, seven steals, five assists and five rebounds. Junior Shawntinice Polk added her ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and 11 boards. She also added four steals and two blocked shots. Senior Danielle Adefeso added nine points and seven rebounds.
Washington jumped out to an early 7-2 lead, but the Wildcats made it a two-point game on a Katrina Lindner three-pointer at the 15:01 mark. Both teams then traded baskets several times before Arizona took its first lead of the game on an Adefeso free throw with 3:38 left in the half. The Wildcats went into the locker room up by two, 28-26.
Arizona shot 30 percent from the field, 25 percent from beyond the arc and 56 percent from the charity stripe on the half, compared to the 33, 43 and 88 percent, respectively, of the Huskies. Washington out-rebounded the Wildcats 23 to 19, but committed 16 turnovers to Arizona’s 11. Polk and Wheeler scored six points apiece on the half, while Adefeso pulled down a team-high five rebounds.
In the second half, the Huskies made seven three-pointers en route to the win. After a tie at 40, the Wildcats went on a 15-0 run to take the biggest lead of the game, 55-40. Washington responded with its own run, holding Arizona scoreless for 7:26 while scoring 19 straight points to take a 59-55 lead. Natalie Jones made one of two free throws and Wheeler hit a lay-up with 1:20 remaining to make it a one-point game, but that was as close at the Wildcats would get. Washington made 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the 64-60 victory.
The Wildcats shot 39 percent from the field and 80 percent from the free throw line on the half, but were 0-for-9 from three-point range. Washington, meanwhile, connected on 42 percent from the field, 41 percent from downtown and 56 percent from the charity stripe on the half. Arizona had 13 turnovers on the half.
Today’s loss dropped Arizona to the No. 5 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament. The Wildcats will face fourth-seeded Southern California at 7:15 p.m. next Saturday, March 5, at the HP Pavilion.