May 31, 2001
Italy Tour 2001
PALESTRINA, Italy (May 31) -- With a 95-55 victory over the Acquario Surgelati Palestrina club team on Thursday, the University of Arizona women's basketball team was able to end its Italy tour on a positive note. The Cats posted a 5-1 record over the 16-day tour.
As with most of the previous contests, the early moments were close between the two teams. Seven minutes into the game, Palestrina held a narrow one-point (11-10) advantage, then the two teams traded buckets until the Cats managed back-to-back baskets to end the first quarter with a four-point (22-18) lead.
Those final baskets of the first period set up an astounding second quarter in which Arizona out-scored Palestrina, 30-4, for the entire period. The Wildcats owned a 30-point (52-22) lead at halftime.
The Cats opened the third quarter with a 13-4 spurt that pushed the lead to 39 points (65-26) just five minutes into the period. Palestrina had an 11-9 advantage through the remainder of the quarter, but Arizona led, 74-37, at the end of the period. A 19-6 run at the start of the fourth quarter stretched the Cats' lead to 50 points (93-43), although Palestrina ended the game with its own 12-2 spurt.
Freshman forward Veranda James again led the way for the Cats with her game highs of 21 points and 18 rebounds. Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney collected 18 points and 12 rebounds, while junior center LaKeisha Taylor came off the bench for 17 points and six rebounds.
Apparently not bothered by a bruised rib suffered during Wednesday's game, freshman guard Candice Allen ran off 15 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Fellow freshmen Jen Chesney and Aimee Grzyb added nine and eight points, respectively, with Grzyb also tallying six rebounds and seven assists. Junior guard Julie Brase rounded out the scoring with seven points.
"This was a great way to end this tour's games. We have grown so much as a team. We've learned a lot about the players, and they have learned a lot about each other," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "We've seen some new leaders emerge, so I feel like we've gotten a jump-start on next season. This trip has been a great experience for everyone."
"The posts were just dominating inside tonight, we were getting great shot selection. We really had people stepping up both inside and out, and that made everyone else around them play better," said Taylor. "The experience of this trip has been great. We appreciate it now, but I think we'll all look back on this trip and appreciate it even more in the future. Playing the game we love and doing it in another country makes the experience even more worthwhile, something we'll never forget."
The Wildcats will spend Friday morning touring the Colosseum and some of the sights of ancient Rome, then they will have free time in the afternoon. Everyone heads back to Tucson early Saturday morning.