SAN JUAN, P.R. (Dec. 21) -- Forced to come from as many as 10 points behind, the University of Arizona women's basketball team (9-2) defeated Nebraska (6-5), 79-68, on Thursday to finish as the runner-up at the San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico. Ninth-ranked Auburn was the tournament champion.
The two teams traded buckets early on, until Nebraska used a seven-point run to gain the 13-7 advantage. Arizona scrapped back to within one (25-24) at the 5:43 mark, then traded baskets with Nebraska until the Huskers ended the period with an 11-5 spurt over the final four minutes. NU took the 37-32 edge into the break.
Nebraska opened the second half with a 14-9 run, pushing its lead out to
its largest of the game at 10 points (51-41) with just over 13 minutes remaining
in the contest. That's when Arizona turned its pressure up a notch and
went on a 13-2 run to take the one-point (54-53) lead at the 8:41 mark.
The Huskers then registered five unanswered points to push back out to
a 58-54 lead.
Arizona answered that mini-spurt by out-scoring the Huskers 25-10 over the remainder of the game. That Wildcat run was capped in the final three minutes by back-to-back three-pointers from freshman guards Aimee Grzyb and Candice Allen and by a combined 7-for-8 shooting from the free throw line by Allen and senior guard Reshea Bristol.
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney finished with five rebounds and 19 points, including a 9-of-12 performance from the charity stripe. Fueled by 10-of-14 shooting from the line, Bristol finished with 19 points and six rebounds. Allen added 13 points, while junior center LaKeisha Taylor contributed 10 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
LaKeisha Taylor, who had her first career double-double while leading the Cats against UPR- Mayaguez on Wednesday, was named to the All-Tournament Team, along with Reshea Bristol.
"I told the team after the game that I've never been so proud to get a second-place trophy," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "This was our fourth game in five days, we've traveled five thousand miles, and we're just exhausted. This game is a great indicator of just how good this team (Arizona) is going to be."
In the midst of a stretch that will see them play five out of six games on the road, the Cats will receive a brief respite from travelling when they return home to play Kansas on Friday, Dec. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the McKale Center. The contest will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.