BERKELEY, Calif. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team shot a season-low 29 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 58 to 40 en route to a 70-61 defeat to California at Haas Pavilion this afternoon. With the loss, the Wildcats fall to 15-8 overall and 7-5 in Pac-10 play.
"This is a difficult loss," Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. "Cal was physically and mentally tougher than us -- it shows in the differential in rebounds. We had opportunities, but we weren't able to control rebounds, we missed open shots and were forced to send them to the free throw line."
Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led the Wildcats with 21 points, nine steals and eight rebounds, followed by freshman Jessica Arnold, who finished with 15 points. Junior Shawntinice Polk, who fouled out of the game at the 1:56 mark, finished with just eight points. Senior Danielle Adefeso pulled down a team-high nine boards in the loss.
The first half was played very closely, with neither team leading by more than three points at any point. The Wildcats went into the locker room down by two, 30-28. Arizona shot 29 percent from the field, 33 percent from three-point range and 78 percent from the free throw line on the half. The Bears, meanwhile, connected on 31, 33 and 90 percent, respectively. California pulled down nearly twice the boards as the Wildcats, winning the rebounding battle 31 to 17. Wheeler led Arizona with seven points.
After Arizona scored the first basket of the second half to tie the game, Cal went on a 5-0 run to take a 35-30 lead, its biggest of the game. The Bears later led by as many as six before the Wildcats used a 10-2 run to take a 48-44 lead. Cal answered with a 9-1 run to go up by four points, 53-49. Arizona cut it to two on a pair of Wheeler free throws, but the Bears scored four straight to go back up by six, 57-51. An Arnold three-pointer with 53 seconds remaining put the Wildcats within four, but that was as close as Arizona would get, as the Bears went on to win by nine. Arizona shot 28 percent on the half and was out-rebounded 27 to 23 on the half.
Arizona hosts UCLA for a 7 p.m. game next Thursday, Feb. 10, at McKale.