Second Half Sparks Wildcats Past USD, 66-58
Dec. 11, 2008
TUCSON, Ariz. - Five Arizona players scored in double figures as the Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak with a 66-58 win over visiting San Diego, Thursday evening in the McKale Center.
The Cats, who had shot just .325 during its skid and was 10-of-28 (.357) in the first half, fired a .517 shooting clip (15-of-29) after the intermission to outscore the Toreros by eight after going to the break tied at 24-24.
The game turned for the Wildcats with 7:34 remaining as a stretch of five-straight points was answered by four in a row by the Toreros to leave the Cats clinging to a 45-44 advantage. Ify Ibekwe converted a pair of free throws that started a 19-5 Arizona stretch that built a game-high 15-point cushion.
Ibekwe scored 14 of her team-best 17 points in the second half while Amina Njonkou had all 10 of her points in the second stanza. The duo combined for eight-consecutive Wildcat points and 11 of the 19 points in the Arizona run that broke open a very even and well-played game.
Both teams dropped into zone defenses, but each attacked it with different plans. The Toreros relied on the outside shooting of Amber Sprague, Morgan Henderson and Sam Child. The trio combined to hit 7-of-16 from distance. However, three of those came in the final two minutes of the game when the outcome had been decided.
Arizona, meanwhile, worked its size advantage and got a huge contribution from senior forward Beatrice Bofia early on. With Ibekwe on the bench with two fouls, Bofia came in and tallied 10 points in the first half to boost an offense that had struggled mightily over the past three games.
For the second-straight game, the Wildcats did a much better job of taking care of the ball, committing just 15 turnovers while forcing 19 by the Toreros. The Cats also were more opportunistic off those San Diego miscues, tallying 24 points off takeaways, while limiting the Toreros to just six points.
Ibekwe finished 7-of-14 from the field and pulled down 7 rebounds while Njonkou had her second double-double of the season with a team-best 10 rebounds. Courtney Clements and Reiko Thomas each had 12 points to round out the Wildcats in double figures.
Sprague led all players with 20 points and 12 rebounds for San Diego (6-4). Kiva Herman added 11 points while Dominique Conners added 10 points and five assists.
Arizona (4-4) is back home this Sunday, December 14 for an afternoon matinee against Long Beach State at 2:00 p.m.