Freshman Breanna Workman tied her career-high scoring mark with 14 points, but Arizona women’s basketball (5-21, 1-14) fell to Utah (11-15, 4-11), 52-47 on Friday night at McKale Center.
Workman connected on 7-of-12 shots to record her seventh game this season scoring in double-digits.
Freshman LaBrittney Jones also scored in double-digits with 10 points for her second-straight double-digit scoring game. She also led UA in rebounds with eight.
As a team, Arizona had a season-low six turnovers, but was outrebounded 37-30.
The Wildcats went into the locker room with a 25-20 lead, but the Utes shot 61 percent in the second half and held Arizona to 12 second-half points.
“I thought we were defending really well, I mean, any time you can hold a team at twenty points, that’s when you try to hold them at forty for the game,” Arizona Head Coach Niya Butts said. “We were getting good looks of the basket early on, we just weren’t finishing those looks late in the first half. I thought we were, for the most part, executing our game play offensively and defensively. The difference was, we just came back in the second half and didn’t play hard. We didn’t have any energy; we gave up a couple layups back-to-back. The momentum shifted and that was it.”
Michelle Plouffe led Utah with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Wildcats will return to McKale Center to close out the home season to Colorado on Sunday, Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. Seniors Crutchfield, Griffitts and Barnes will be recognized for their careers at Arizona prior to tipoff.
“We are just going to continue to play hard for our seniors,” Jones said. “Hopefully, all seven of us can play hard together and get the win for the seniors and send them off with a victory.”
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Head Coach Niya Butts
“First of all, obviously really disappointed with the way we played tonight, mostly in the second half. Thought the first half wasn’t bad, we held them at twenty points; came into halftime with the lead, but didn’t come back with any energy in the second half. The start of the second half set the tone and we never could recover from that.”
On pros of the first half:
“I thought we were defending really well, I mean, any time you can hold a team at twenty points, that’s when you try to hold them at forty for the game. We were getting good looks of the basket early on, we just weren’t finishing those looks late in the first half. I thought we were, for the most part, executing our game play offensively and defensively. The difference was, we just came back in the second half and didn’t play hard. We didn’t have any energy; we gave up a couple layups back-to-back. The momentum shifted and that was it.”
On Workman defending Plouffe:
“Well first of all, Breanna has done a great job late in the season in terms of defense. Especially in the first half, but the second half she was a little bit more deliberate about getting closer to the basket and trying to make some plays there. And we gave up some transition baskets. Any time a person can get out and transition and score an easy one it they get a little more confidence and start to attack a little bit more.”
On coming back to a deficit of five:
“You know, we just played in sparks too much. And I thought for a second there, it looked like we were conceding to let them get that lead and it still wasn’t that much of a lead, because we started the second half with a five point advantage. So again, sometimes we start to look at our mistakes as being a lot bigger than what they are. And again, we just didn’t have much energy. We weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be offensively and same thing defensively down the stretch.”
On offensive execution decline:
“That tends to happen when you don’t run much offense. We weren’t setting and using our screens very well and we started our offensive way too high on the floor. Just didn’t have any rhythm, we weren’t sharp, our cuts weren’t crisp. We just didn’t play with that aggression that we played with in the first half.”
On Senior Night:
“I hope you see something different than what you saw tonight, at least different from the second half. I thought the first half although it was low scoring, I thought in the first half was pretty good for us in terms of the way we wanted to defend them and execute offensively. Hopefully you won’t see that second half replayed and we come out and give our seniors an opportunity. And the seniors give themselves; I mean we didn’t perform that well tonight. Especially in the second half Erica [Barnes] wasn’t very aggressive, usually she is more aggressive. I thought we settled for some jump shots tonight. There are three seniors that need to for their team, for themselves, and I know they want to play well, step up and play well. And we need the other four to play well for them.”
Freshman forward Breanna Workman
“I thought we played well in the first half. I thought we were executing offensively. I think the way we came out in the second half, we set ourselves up for the rest of the game.”
On Plouffe in the second half:
“I think she was just more aggressive in the second half. She is their star player and since she didn’t do well in the first half, you knew she was going to come out in the second half and play more aggressively.”
On the last three games going into the Pac 12 tournament:
“They are really important. I think it will give us a lot of momentum going into the tournament and a lot of confidence. We just have to go out play hard and play together.”
Freshman forward LaBrittney Jones
On what Utah did well to start the second half:
“We just weren’t getting the stops that we needed to get. I give credit to them; they knocked down the shots that they needed to knock down. I think we shot ourselves in the foot, because we didn’t get the defensive stops that we needed to get.”
On what went wrong on defense:
“We just weren’t getting back in transition to get set for our defense.”
On the biggest difference between the start of the game and the start of the second half:
“It was just energy, the way we came out and our demeanor. I think we gave them the momentum.”
On senior night:
“We are just going to continue to play hard and play hard for our seniors. Hopefully all seven of us can play hard together and get the win for the seniors and send them off with a victory.”