Jan. 7, 2010
PULLMAN, Wash. - All-American Ify Ibekwe scored 17 of her game-high 21 points in the second half to help Arizona earn its first Pac-10 win of the season, 67-60, Thursday evening at Beasley Coliseum.
Ibekwe was an efficient 8-for-11 from the field and made four of her last five free throw attempts after missing her first five of the game. She also added 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a pair of blocked shots as she went wire-to-wire.
The Wildcats got the balanced scoring they had been hoping would be available all season. Freshman guard Davellyn Whyte tallied 14 points while sophomore guard Brooke Jackson added 13 points and Soana Lucet tossed in 10 points while snagging 7 rebounds and tallying 3 blocked shots.
Spurning its slow starts over the last few games, Arizona came out with energy and focus to turn the tables. Davellyn Whyte hit a pair of early treys while Soana Lucet got several open looks under the basket to see the Cats jump out to a 20-8 advantage.
An already short Arizona bench grew slimmer as Reiko Thomas was unavailable for the contest after injuring her left ankle in the latter stages of last Sunday's game against USC.
Washington State gathered itself and slowly began to chip away at the Arizona lead as the Wildcats fatigued. Rosie Tarnowski and April Cook each hit three-pointers to help counter a 1-for-11 start with a 7-for-10 clip that saw the first half end with Arizona leading, 34-28.
Arizona started the second half in similar fashion to the opening of the game. Brooke Jackson drove the lane for a short jumper before Ify Ibekwe knocked down a pair of shots as the cushion grew to 40-28 inside the first three minutes.
The mirror-imaging continued in the second half as the Cougars chipped away at the lead while the shots stopped falling for the Wildcats. Ten turnovers and a 8-for-13 shooting clip over the next eight minutes allowed Washington State to close within a point, 49-48, with 7:58 remaining.
The teams traded baskets for the next two minutes before Arizona clamped down on both ends to pull away. Ibekwe hit a pair of free throws, then added a lay-up before Brooke Jackson converted a 3-point play after a steal by Whyte. The 7-0 run in just under two minutes pushed the Cats into a 63-54 advantage that held up for the win.
April Cook scored 15 points to lead the way for Washington State (5-9, 0-3 Pac-10), which shot just 31.3 percent (21-of-67) for the game and was 12-of-23 (.522) at the free throw line. KiKi Moore added 10 points while Carly Noyed recorded 8 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Arizona (7-6, 1-2) has a quick turnaround to complete its two-game road swing as the Wildcats head to Seattle to take on Washington on Saturday, January 9 at 12:00 p.m.