Arizona stopped by Oregon

By Craig Sanders
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 29, 1996

Adam F. Jarrold
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Sophomore center Marte Alexander fights for a rebound in Friday's 55-47 loss to Oregon.


Just when it looked like the Arizona women's basketball team was flying high after a victory over 15th-ranked Oregon State on Thursday, they were quickly sent back to earth by the fast-rising Oregon Ducks.

Oregon (11-6 overall and 3-4 in the Pacific 10 Conference) completed a sweep of the Arizona schools on Saturday with a 55-47 victory over the Wildcats (13-3, 4-3) in front of 1,967 people at McKale Center. The Ducks defeated Arizona State 72-52 on Wednesday and have won their last three games.

Oregon used a tremendous defensive effort and good work on the offensive boards to outhustle, outscrap and outfight the Wildcats on their home court. It was an effort that was strangely reminiscent of Arizona's own performances in upsetting teams this season.

"We didn't come out with the attitude to take the game over from the beginning," Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "Every day you have to come and you have to step it up, it can't be on one or two people, it has to be on everybody. This is the difference from being the hunter and being the hunted. People are after us now."

Both teams began sluggishly, but Arizona held a slim lead through most of the first half before Oregon outscored the Wildcats 11-5 in the final 6 minutes, 15 seconds of the half to take a 29-24 lead into halftime.

The Wildcats came out hot in the second half and showed a little of the intensity that had been missing for most of the game. Arizona closed the gap to one, saw the deficit rise to seven, then used back-to-back 3-pointers by Arizona senior forward Andrea Constand and senior point guard Brenda Pantoja to climb back on top by four points with just over eight minutes remaining.

That's when the Ducks put the clamps on defensively. Oregon forced numerous turnovers and controlled the offensive rebounds to force Arizona out of its rhythm. The Wildcats only scored two points the rest of the way.

"Our offense has struggled a lot so we have concentrated on our defense," Duck center Renae Fegent said. "We try to make it the toughest defense a team is going to face and I think we proved that tonight. Arizona is a very good offensive team and our defensive transition was great."

The Ducks were paced by Fegent, who went outside to score 12 points in the first half and finished with 15 for the game. It was a stark contrast to Arizona's defensive job on the Pac-10's leading scorer Tanja Kostic on Thursday. Kostic only scored 11 - 14.8 below her average.

Junior forward Arianne Boyer picked up the pace for Oregon in the second half as she scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds. She finished the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Arizona was lead by Pantoja's 13 points on 5-15 shooting. Sophomore forward Adia Barnes scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds. The Wildcats only shot 34 percent from the field, turned the ball over 24 times and were only 26 percent from the 3-point line.

"They were outhustling us, getting on the boards, getting to the loose balls, all the little things," Barnes said.