PROVO, Utah ?- The No. 24/25 Arizona women’s basketball team held off a second-half charge by Brigham Young and poor free throw shooting down the stretch to capture a 76-73 win at the Marriott Center this afternoon. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 3-1 on the season.
“I thought our effort was good,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We did a good job executing offensively. In the second half we let them back in ?- we got into foul trouble and missed some free throws down the stretch. The game was closer than it should have been, but I’m just glad we got the win.”
Arizona shot 55 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and just 57 percent from the charity stripe on the game. Meanwhile, BYU connected on 40 percent of its shots from the field, 32 percent from downtown and 84 percent from the free throw line. The Cougars out-rebounded Arizona 36 to 31, but turned the ball over 19 times.
Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler led a group of four Arizona players in double-figure scoring with 19 points. She also added eight assists and four steals.
Junior center Shawntinice Polk finished with 14 points, a team-high six rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists. Sophomore forward Shannon Hobson added 12 points, while junior guard Natalie Jones had 11. Jones and freshman Ashley Whisonant also had three steals each.
BYU connected on four of its first five three-point attempts to take a 20-11 lead. Arizona responded with a 15-2 run to take a 28-24 lead. The Cougars cut the Wildcat lead to one (30-29), but Arizona then scored seven straight to go up 37-29. Freshman Jessica Arnold hit back-to-back three-pointers late in the half to send the Wildcats into the locker room up by 12 points, 45-33.
Arizona shot 56 percent from the field and 43 percent from beyond the arc, while BYU connected on 41 percent of its shots from the field and 50 percent from downtown. However, the Wildcats out-rebounded the Cougars 17 to 16, forced seven BYU turnovers and nabbed nine steals on the half.
Wheeler paced the Wildcats with 13 points, five assists and four steals, while Hobson tallied 10 points on 5-of-6 (83 percent) from the field.
In the second half, the Cougars slowly chipped away at the Arizona lead and used a late 6-0 run to make it a four-point game (70-66). BYU narrowed it to three on two occasions, and had a chance to tie it on the last possession, but was unable to get the shot off and the Cats won 76-73.
Arizona shot 54 percent from the field, but made just 50 percent of its free throws on the half. The Wildcats were also out-rebounded 20 to 14. Polk led Arizona with eight points and three blocks on the half, while Wheeler and Jones scored six points apiece.
Arizona hosts UTEP at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, at McKale Center.