Cats Drop Third Straight, 65-53

Dec. 23, 2009

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Host UC Riverside scored the first nine points of the game and led wire to wire for a 65-53 win over Arizona, Wednesday afternoon at the UCR Student Recreation Center.

The Wildcats missed their first five shot attempts and did not score until Soana Lucet hit a pair of free throws at the 15:38 point of the first half. At the same time, the Highlanders made 4-of-7 field goals to start and built an early 11-2 lead.

Arizona finally found some offensive rhythm and worked their way back into the game, stringing together a 14-7 stretch thanks to a pair of treys from Davellyn Whyte and four points from Ify Ibekwe to stay within a 18-16 scoreline.

For the second-straight game, however, foul trouble slowed down the Wildcats as Ibekwe and Whyte both picked up their second personals early on and were forced to the bench. Riverside responded with the next nine points over the next 2:46 and jumped out in front, 27-16.

Though the Cats would string together a handful of six- or seven-point spurts, they never got closer than six points the rest of the way. Five-straight points late in the second half got the team within nine points with 7:29 to play, but Riverside pushed the lead back up to 16 with a Rheya Neabors three-pointer at the 3:33 mark to effectively end the game.

Arizona continued its recent offensive struggles, shooting a season-low 27.6 percent (16-of-58) from the field, including a 8-for-31 clip (.258) in the first half. Though the Cats were 16-of-19 at the free throw line (.842), they allowed the Highlanders to shoot 45 percent (25-of-56) for the game, including a .536 mark (15-of-28) in the first half.

Whyte led all scorers with 20 points, including 4-of-8 three-point attempts, to go along with 6 rebounds while Ibekwe had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Lucet chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

UC Riverside (3-7) used a balanced offensive attack where six players scored between 8 and 11 points. TreShont Nottingham led the way with 11 points while Brittany Waddell and Marissa Rivera had 10 points apiece.

Arizona (5-4) returns home on Tuesday, December 28 to host Alabama A&M in a non-conference tilt scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

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