Cats Claim First Conference Win, 65-51

Jan. 29, 2009

SEATTLE, Wash. - Senior forward Amina Njonkou tallied game-highs of 16 points and 16 rebounds to lead Arizona to its first conference win, a 65-51 triumph over host Washington, Thursday evening at Bank of America Arena.

Njonkou tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds in the first half to boost an Arizona offense that had scored just 38 points in each of the past two games. She finished the game with a career-high on the glass, besting her previous total of 15 tallied against Loyola Marymount on November 15, 2008.

A free throw by Mackenzie Argens with 27 seconds before halftime the only thing that separated the two teams through the first 20 minutes of play. The Wildcats snapped out of their first half doldrums as they had almost as many field goals (10) as they did first half points on Saturday (12).

However, the Cats were stung by 12 turnovers in the opening stanza that provided a dozen points for the Huskies. Though Arizona held a 23-17 rebounding edge, the Huskies did a better job converting their second chance opportunities, tallying a 11-4 advantage.

Following an even first four minutes of the second stanza, the Wildcats seized the momentum with solid defense and a number of offensive contributions. Faihza Hill hit a pair of three-pointers that provided almost half of a 13-2 spurt over eight minutes of play to push the Cats into a 52-42 lead.

Washington point guard Christina Rozier decided she had seen enough and drilled a pair of three-pointers of her own and Kristi Kingma hit a third for a 9-2 Washington stretch that trimmed the Arizona lead to 54-51.

A pair of free throws by Ashley Frazier boosted the lead by two before both teams missed the front end of 1-and-1 free throw situations. The Cats made 9-of-12 freee throws down the stretch to finish the game with 11-straight points.

The Huskies went stone cold over the final five minutes of the game, missing 10-consecutive shots, all from beyond the arc, after Kingma had connected from long range. Washington finished 7-of-31 from three-point range (.226) and was just 3-of-21 (.143) in the second half.

Ibekwe added 14 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals for the Wildcats while Hill was a perfect 3-of-3 from distance to finish with 11 points to go along with four assists.

Sami Whitcomb scored 14 points and had 5 rebounds for Washington (5-13, 1-7) while Rozier finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.

Arizona (8-11, 1-7) wraps up its three-game road trip on Saturday, January 31 with a visit to Washington State at 2 p.m.