TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team used a big second half to defeat Lehigh 78-58 in the second game of the Mission Management & Trust 2005 Fiesta Bowl Classic at McKale Center this afternoon. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 3-2 on the season.
“Our defensive intensity really picked up, and we did a better job in the second half,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We were more aware of where their shooters were, rebounded the ball and set our feet. Lehigh is a good basketball team, and we were fortunate to wear them down.”
Arizona shot 48 percent from the field, 42 percent from beyond the arc and 73 percent from the free throw line on the game. Lehigh connected on 38, 53 and 53 percent of its shots, respectively, on the game. The Mountain Hawks out-rebounded the Wildcats 38 to 35 on the game, but Arizona forced 22 Lehigh turnovers and blocked six shots.
Senior Natalie Jones led Arizona with 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and four steals. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant added 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals, while junior Joy Hollingsworth finished with 12 points and five boards.
Arizona made its first four shots, jumping out to a 10-1 lead. Lehigh answered with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 10. The game then remained close before Arizona used an 8-0 run with just over two minutes left in the half to take a 33-24 lead. The Mountain Hawks then answered with five in a row to cut the Wildcat lead to four. Arizona went into the locker room up by three, 36-33.
Arizona shot 50 percent from the field, 46 percent from downtown and 100 percent from the free throw line on the half, compared to the 48, 83 and 33 percent, respectively, of Lehigh. Both teams pulled down 15 boards on the half. Whisonant and Jones scored 11 points each to lead the Wildcats.
The second half started out closely before Arizona used a 12-0 run to take a 59-44 lead and never looked back, leading by as many as 21 (76-55). The Wildcats shot 46 percent from the field, 38 percent from downtown and 70 percent from the charity stripe on the half. Lehigh, meanwhile, connected on 28, 33 and 67 percent, respectively. The Mountain Hawks out-rebounded Arizona 23 to 20 on the half.
Arizona faces Chicago State in the championship game of the tournament at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 4. The consolation game, which begins at 1 p.m., pits Lehigh against Tulane.