CORVALLIS, Ore. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team moved into a three-way tie for second place in the Pac-10 standings with a 78-59 win over Oregon State at Gill Coliseum tonight. With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 18-8 overall and 10-5 in conference play.
Arizona shot 53 percent from the field, 43 percent from downtown and 63 percent from the free throw line on the game, compared to the 36, 11 and 75 percent, respectively, of the Beavers. The Wildcats also out-rebounded Oregon State 38 to 31 and forced 18 Beaver turnovers.
“Oregon State really made a good run at the end of the first half and continued that in the second,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We traded baskets for a while before they made a good run at it. It wasn’t until the last five minutes that we pulled away.”
“As we get healthier, we play better,” she added. “We’re picking up some momentum, some confidence. We’re playing better each time.”
Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led a group of four Wildcats in double-figure scoring with 22 points. She also added four rebounds and four assists. Junior Natalie Jones added a well-rounded 12 points, six steals, four rebounds and three assists on the night.
Junior Shawntinice Polk recorded her seventh double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and 11 rebounds. She also added four blocks. Freshman Ashley Whisonant rounded out the group with 15 points, six rebounds and six assists.
After Arizona scored the first four points of the game, the Beavers used a 7-0 run to take a 7-4 lead. The Wildcats answered with an 18-3 run to take a 22-10 lead. Arizona built its lead to 18 (32-14), but Oregon State used an 11-0 run to close out the half to cut the Wildcat lead to seven, 32-25.
Arizona shot 44 percent from the field, 33 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free throw line on the half. Meanwhile, Oregon State connected on 35 percent from the field and 69 percent from the line. The Beavers were 0-for-2 from three-point range. Arizona nearly doubled Oregon State in rebounds, 21 to 12, but committed 12 turnovers on the half, compared to the 11 of the Beavers. Jones led the Wildcats with nine points, while Polk pulled down a game-high seven rebounds.
The Beavers scored the first basket of the second half to make it a five-point game before Arizona used a 6-0 run to extend its lead back to double digits. But Oregon State wouldn’t give up, cutting the Wildcat lead to four with just over five minutes remaining. Wheeler was the answer, draining back-to-back treys and a pair of lay-ups to put Arizona up by 14 and put the game away for good.
Arizona faces Oregon, a team tied for second place with the Wildcats, at 2 p.m. (PDT) this Saturday, Feb. 19. The game will be televised live to a national audience on FSN.