BERKELEY, Calif. ?- For the first time all year, the Arizona women’s basketball team had five players in double-digit scoring and handed California its first loss at Haas Pavilion today, defeating the Bears 80-76. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 7-12 overall and 3-6 in Pac-10 play.
Arizona shot 44 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 76 percent from the free throw line on the game. California shot 49 percent from the field, but just 14 percent from beyond the arc and 35 percent from the charity stripe on the game. The Bears dominated the boards 48 to 34.
“This is a great win for us, for our confidence,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We’ve obviously had a lot of adversity this season. It would have been easy to lay down and make excuses, but we didn’t. I’m really proud of this team.”
Junior Joy Hollingsworth led all players with a season-high 23 points. She also added a team-high eight rebounds to go with six assists and four steals. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant added 15 points, while sophomore Jessica Arnold finished with a season-high 14 points. Senior Natalie Jones and freshman Kelsey Burns totaled 10 points apiece. Burns’ total was a career high. Whisonant dished out a team-high seven assists.
After California scored the first basket of the game, Arizona went on a 7-0 run to take a 7-2 lead. A Hollingsworth three-pointer later gave the Wildcats a six-point lead. At the 12:18 mark, Bonvicini was given a technical foul and shortly later the Bears closed the gap, making it a one-point game, 16-15. With 9:03 left, Cal took its first lead (21-19) since the opening moments of the game. The Bears later extended their lead to nine points (32-23) and went into the locker room at halftime up 38-29.
Arizona shot 32 percent from the field, 33 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line on the half. California connected on 51 percent from the field but just 20 percent from the charity stripe and failed to make a three-pointer (0-for-7). The Bears out-rebounded the Wildcats 27 to 18. Both teams committed eight turnovers on the half. Whisonant and Hollingsworth each had nine points on the half.
Cal took its biggest lead of the game (40-29) at the start of the second half, but a pair of Arnold treys made it a five-point game. A 6-0 Wildcat run later cut the Bear lead to three, and shortly later, a Jones long ball gave Arizona its first lead (46-45) since the 10:02 mark of the first half.
The Wildcats then came alive from downtown hitting three treys in a span of 1:08 to take an eight-point lead, 57-49. Arizona later led by as many as 10, but the Bears chipped away at it, making it a four-point game (63-59) with 7:54 left. The Wildcats responded with a 9-0 run to take their biggest lead of the game, 72-59.
California then went on a run of its own, scoring eight straight to make it a five-point game, 74-69. The Bears later cut it to two (75-73) with 28 seconds left, but an Anna Chappell bucket with 18 left put Arizona back up by four, 77-73. The Bears scored just their second three-pointer of the game with 12 seconds left in the game to make it a one-point game.
Whisonant was then fouled with seven seconds remaining and made both. An intentional foul by Arnold with 4.2 seconds remaining sent Cal’s Alexis Gray-Lawson to the line. She missed both, sealing the Wildcat win.
Arizona plays at Washington at 7 p.m. (PST) next Thursday, Jan. 26.