Dec. 6, 2003
Tucson, Ariz. (Dec. 6) - Fueled by double-doubles from post players Shawntinice Polk and Danielle Adefeso, the University of Arizona women's basketball team defeated American University, 75-63, in the first round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic at home on Saturday. The victory was also Arizona's 15th straight in McKale Center, tying the school record for longest home win streak.
Making only five of their first 14 field goal attempts, the Wildcats were up by just a 13-10 advantage at 13:44 in the first half, although a 9-3 run put them ahead by nine (22-13) just four minutes later. The Cats still held a nine-point (25-16) advantage with seven minutes left, when American used an 8-2 spurt to cut the spread to just three (27-24) at 3:01. In the waning moments of the period, Arizona capitalized on three Eagle turnovers and two missed shots to hold a 31-24 lead at the half.
The Wildcats came out on fire in the second half, opening the period with six unanswered points to go ahead by 15 (39-24) in the first two minutes. Out-scoring American 27-14 over the next nine minutes, Arizona gained a 28-point (66-38) lead, its largest of the game, with 9:37 remaining. The Eagles answered with a 17-3 run of their own to slice Arizona's advantage to 14 points (69-55) with just over four minutes left. During that stretch, Arizona shot just 1-for-6 from the floor and committed four turnovers.
Arizona recovered to push the lead back out to 18 points (75-57) with 56 seconds left, but after head coach Joan Bonvicini emptied her bench, American was able to score six unanswered points for the final spread of 12.
"At moments, we played really well tonight. I wasn't happy with our play in the first half. We were careless with the ball at times. In the second half, we let down at the end and let American back in the game," said Bonvicini, who is in her 13th season at the helm of the Wildcat program. "I give credit to American. They are a scrappy team and played very hard."
Polk finished with a game-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She also blocked six shots in the game. Adefeso, a junior, came off the bench for career highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds, the first double-double of her career. Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler added 17 points, while sophomore guard Natalie Jones had 10 points and five rebounds.
American was paced by junior guard Angel Jordan, who made four of her five 3-point attempts on her way to 14 points off the bench. Chanel Hunt and Kaitlin Schuyler also contributed 13 points apiece, while Hunt and Joanna Barnes pulled down game highs of 11 rebounds apiece.
Earlier in the day, Massachusetts beat Utah State, 61-50, to advance to the championship game. The Wildcats and the Minutewomen will face off for the tournament title on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3:30 p.m. in McKale Center. American and Utah State will play in the consolation contest prior to that at 1 p.m.