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Women's Hoops: UA returns to third place after loss to Oregon

KATE HORTON/The Daily Barometer
Arizona's Natalie Jones fights for the ball with an Oregon player Saturday in Eugene, Ore. Arizona fell 69-51 to the Ducks, dashing their hopes of breaking a three-way tie for second place in the Pac-10.
By Lindsey Frazier
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 21, 2005
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With only three games remaining in the regular season, Arizona women's basketball was in need of a win against Oregon Saturday in hopes of breaking a three-way tie for second place in the Pacific 10 Conference.

But the Wildcats (18-9, 10-5 Pac-10) fell short to the Ducks in MacArthur Court, 69-51, and dropped back to third place in conference standings.

"We were definitely trying to establish a transition game, and we did early," Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "We were disappointed that we weren't able to control the tempo better. It felt like we were really playing a disjointed game on our part."

The Wildcats began the game on a 10-3 run, as the Ducks only netted one of their first eight shots. Oregon used its own 5-0 scoring drive to knot the game at 12.

Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler made a four-point play to put Arizona up 16-12. She finished with 20 points.

The Ducks took its first lead of the game on a pair of free throws, 20-18, with over six minutes remaining in the half.

Oregon would keep the Arizona offense in check for the remainder of the half, as the Ducks outscored Arizona 11-2. The Wildcats went into the locker room down 33-23.

"In the first half, we didn't utilize our posts well at all," Bonvicini said. "It was disappointing. (At halftime) I said that we needed to get out posts more involved and rebound better."

Oregon began the second half by draining three consecutive 3-pointers to go up 42-25.

"Now we're down 16 or 17 (points) and that makes it really tough," Bonvicini said of the Ducks' offensive drive.

The Wildcats cut the Oregon lead to seven, 48-41, but did not get any closer. The Ducks stifled Arizona later in the half on a 9-0 run to make it a 62-45 game.

Senior forward Danielle Adefeso scored 10 points, while junior center Shawntinice Polk had a team-high 10 rebounds.

Junior guard Natalie Jones tallied five assists and three steals, and freshman guard Jessica Arnold finished with four assists.

"Oregon played well," Bonvicini said. "They had to win this game. They were really, really focused. We just need to play better. We didn't click today. We allowed too many 3's."

Oregon shot 42 percent from beyond the arc to Arizona's 17 percent. The Ducks brought down 44 rebounds compared to Arizona's 37.

"We need to play more of an inside-outside game," Bonvicini said. "They play very confident at home. They have a great home court advantage. We've played well here in the past; we didn't play well here today."

Arizona heads back home to take on Washington State and Washington in the final two games of the regular season.

"We have to regroup here in a hurry," Bonvicini said. "The two games coming up are really important for us. A lot can happen this weekend. We're playing two teams that are playing better right now. Oregon has to go and play Stanford. We have to take care of business. We need to play better together as a group."

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