Arizona Nips Ducks, 70-66
Jan. 23, 2004
EUGENE, Ore. - The University of Oregon women'sbasketball team could not hold off Arizona as the Wildcats won 70-66 before3,633 fans Thursday at McArthur Court.
Arizona won its third straight and improved to 15-4 and 7-1 in the conference.The upset-minded Ducks, meanwhile, dropped to 10-8 and 2-6.
'We did some things really well, but on a couple possessions we didn't get itto the shooter,' Oregon coach Bev Smith said. 'What we have to do is take thenext step. We are a young team. We really need that killer instinct.'
Oregon fought tooth-and-nail, but couldn't overcome Dee-Dee Wheeler's hothand. Wheeler, Arizona's junior guard, scored a game-high 22 points on 9-of-13shooting and grabbed seven rebounds.
The Ducks were down 44-31 after a Danielle Adefeso basket with 18:15 left inthe game. Oregon proceeded to score 14 consecutive points en route to an 18-2run as it led for the first time, 49-46, at the 12:07 mark after CorrieMizusawa's 3-pointer from the corner.
Oregon led by as many as six at 65-59 with 4:38 remaining before Arizonamounted its clinching comeback. The Wildcats regained the lead for good asShawntinice Polk grabbed a Natalie Jones missed lay-in and made a putbackbucket with 44.7 seconds left to go up 66-65. The Ducks got to the foul linebut the ball just wouldn't fit. In the final 4:38, Oregon was 2-of-6 on freethrows, including five straight misses.
Jones' two free throws with six seconds left - giving Arizona a four-pointlead - sealed the Ducks' fate.
'We crated some opportunities for ourselves,' Smith said. 'We just needed toput the ball in the basket.'
Although Oregon shot just 7-of-17 from the free-throw line, the Ducks' offensewas flowing as they shot 46 percent from the field, including 7-of-21 from3-point range. Chelsea Wagner, who has been hobbled with a torn lateralmeniscus in her left knee, scored a season-high 17 points and tied acareer-high with five 3-pointers in 11 attempts.
'Chelsea was a real warrior,' Smith said. 'She came to play and gave us theextra focus we needed.'