TUCSON, Ariz. ?- After overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit to force overtime, the Arizona women’s basketball team was outscored 15-8 in the extra period, dropping an 84-77 heartbreaker to No. 20/22 Maryland in front of 3,316 fans at McKale Center this evening. With the loss, Arizona falls to 15-6 on the season.
“We had it,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “I am disappointed. Down the stretch we played hard and didn’t give up. These were two great basketball teams. Maryland is very aggressive and so are we. We want our players to hold their heads high. We will be better from this. In games like this, you learn more from a loss.”
“There were a lot of positives,” she continued. “I thought we played better offense in the second half. We had better execution. Our shot selection was very poor in the first half. They are a tough rebounding team. The rebounds were really what did it. We needed to get more rebounds.”
Arizona shot 42 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and 60 percent from the free throw line on the game. Meanwhile, Maryland combined for 48 percent from the field, 60 percent from beyond the arc and 84 percent from the arc. The Terrapins also out-rebounded the Wildcats 50 to 34.
Junior Shawntinice Polk led a group of five Wildcats in double-digit scoring, finishing with 19 points, a team-high eight rebounds and four blocked shots. Freshman Jessica Arnold tallied 18 points, followed by senior Danielle Adefeso, junior Natalie Jones and freshman Ashley Whisonant with 11 apiece. Jones and senior Dee-Dee Wheeler dished out four assists apiece.
Maryland used an early 6-0 run to take an 8-3 lead. After the Wildcats cut it to one, the Terps later scored five straight to go up by eight, 17-9. Both teams traded baskets before Arizona went on a 10-2 run to tie the game at 21. A Wheeler three at the 4:48 mark gave Arizona its first lead in more than 14 minutes, but Maryland closed out the half on a 15-4 run to go into the locker room up 40-30.
Arizona shot 31 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 67 percent from the charity stripe on the half, while the Terrapins shot a blazing 56 percent from the field, 50 percent from downtown and 90 percent from the line. Maryland also won the rebounding battle 23 to 18. Polk led the Wildcats with eight points and five rebounds.
Arizona scored the first nine points of the second half to make it a one-point game, but Maryland answered with a 7-0 run to extend its lead back to eight. The Wildcats kept battling, narrowing it to two points three times before taking the lead on a Jones trey with 3.2 seconds remaining. Wheeler then deflected the ball on two consecutive Maryland inbounds passes, leaving 0.8 seconds on the clock. The Terps’ Jade Perry made a jumper as time expired to force overtime.
Arizona scored the first three points of the overtime period, but was then outscored 15-5 down the stretch. The Wildcats shot 43 percent in overtime, compared to the 80 percent of Maryland.
The Wildcats travel to the Bay Area for a 7 p.m. game at Stanford next Thursday, Feb. 3.