Wildcats upset by Pittsburgh, Holy Cross
JON HELGASON/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Holy Cross sophomore forward Mary Rose Campbell battles with UA sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb for a loose ball during Friday's game in McKale Center. The Wildcats lost both games of the Arizona Basketball Classic for the first time in the tournament's history.
Former UA coach Traci Waites' homecoming spelled disaster for the Wildcats yesterday when her Pittsburgh team defeated Arizona, 81-80, to cap a weekend in which UA lost a pair of home games.
After taking home seven tournament championships, the Wildcats were eliminated in the first round Friday for the first time in UA history, falling to Holy Cross, 83-74.
Wisconsin won the four-team tournament by knocking off Holy Cross 80-71 last night.
Yesterday afternoon, UA faced former associate head coach Waites and former Wildcat guard Lisa Griffith Scott - the Panthers' head coach and assistant coach, respectively - and were upset once again.
Prior to the game, Pittsburgh's Bettina Love said she wanted to beat the Wildcats for Waites.
She did exactly that, upsetting UA on a controversial basket in the final minute.
"We came in to win a game and didn't want to go back empty-handed," Waites said. "It's very sentimental here, and tears were shed. When my team wants it more than I do, we're going to win games."
Despite leaving the game at halftime tied 38-38, Pittsburgh held the momentum.
Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney - UA's main scoring threat - was held scoreless in the first half for the first time all season.
"In the first half, I was really cold," Pickney said after shooting 0-for-6 from the field and 0-for-1 from three-point range. "Luckily, it just lasted the first half and not the whole game. In the second half, we came out differently but played in spurts."
Pickney scored two immediate baskets for Arizona in the second half to finish the day with 15 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Wildcats suffered another blow early in the second half when junior guard Julie Brase fell on her back and had to be taken off the court to the hospital.
Brase is in good condition, UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said.
After Brase's injury - which came one day after Arizona's Candice Allen suffered a concussion in Friday's loss - inspired the Wildcats to get back in the game.
"When Julie got hurt, we got inspired," Bonvicini said. "But, it took us that long to play, and then, in the last two minutes, we fell apart."
Behind freshman guards Dee-Dee Wheeler and Robin Roberson, UA tied the game 60-60 after a pair of free throws and a layup by Pickney.
The Panthers answered UA's run and went on a 7-0 spurt to put them ahead, 67-60.
A questionable one-and-one situation may have cost Arizona the game.
After battling back from the deficit, the Wildcats pulled ahead of Pittsburgh by four points.
With slightly over 1:00 remaining in the game and Pittsburgh at the free-throw line and in the bonus, Love rebounded from teammate Jessica Ryndycz's missed shot to bring the Panthers within one point of Arizona, 80-79.
Bonvicini questioned the basket by Love after none of the players on both sides moved from the free-throw lane after being told by the referees that Ryndycz was shooting two shots.
"The referee told us 'two shots' and everyone was confused (because Pittsburgh was in the bonus)," Wheeler said. "Our players should have known it was one-and-one, but the referees officiate the game, and we listen to them."
Love answered at the other end of the court once again, to give the Panthers an 81-80 lead.
Pickney - who scored the game-winning shot at the buzzer to upset NCAA defending champion Notre Dame - missed a layup with three seconds remaining in the game.
"It's very disappointing going 3-0 and beating two quality teams (Notre Dame and Ohio State)," Bonvicini said. "At home, you get your character tested and need to show up and play. We need to toughen up and step up and play hard. We did that but just in the last 13 minutes."
Wheeler and Roberson both finished with 20 points.
On a three-game losing streak after being defeated by New Mexico 67-75, the Wildcats hit the road to face Rice on Saturday.