Ohio State schools UA by 33 in semis
The No. 24 Arizona women's basketball team (2-1) weathered its first loss of the season against No. 10 Ohio State (3-0) last night in Columbus, Ohio, as the Buckeyes took down the Wildcats 78-45 in the second round of the Women's National Invitational Tournament.
The Buckeyes shot 52 percent from the floor and kept the Wildcats to a season-low 34 percent success rate of their own. The Buckeyes shot 55 percent from 3-point range, while Arizona was unsuccessful on all seven of its attempts from beyond the arc.
The home team also out-rebounded Arizona 34 to 29 and had 19 turnovers compared to the Wildcats' 23.
"I don't know if there are any bright spots," said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. "We didn't play well. (We didn't) execute offensively. We didn't rebound. We needed more players to step up and we didn't do that. Our freshmen played like freshmen tonight. We needed our returnees to step up. It was disappointing."
The Wildcats were led by junior center Shawntinice Polk, who contributed 16 points, eight rebounds, two steals and one block. Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler added 13 points.
"Polkey played OK, Dee-Dee played OK," Bonvicini added. "They try to do too much, that was part of the issue. We need to have other players step up. We will be better because of this, but it was a very disappointing loss. We were playing a team that executed extraordinarily well. We played like we were overmatched, but I think it was more that we didn't execute. We need other players to step up."
Arizona jumped out to an early 4-2 lead, but it was short-lived as Ohio State went on a 9-0 scoring drive to go up by seven points. Wheeler scored nine straight points to regain the Arizona lead at 13-11. After that, it was all Ohio State as the Buckeyes out-scored Arizona 25-10 and headed into halftime with a 13-point lead.
Both teams had 11 turnovers in the first half, but the Buckeyes brought down 19 boards compared to the Wildcats' 11. Ohio State hit 46 percent of its shots from the floor, 33 percent from 3-point range and 91 percent from the free-throw line. Arizona was held to 45 percent from the field and went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. Wheeler notched 11 points and Polk had eight points and six rebounds.
The Buckeyes scored the first seven points once play resumed and would go on to lead by as many as 39 points. Ohio State recorded 42 points in the second half while keeping Arizona to only 22 points. The Wildcats shot 33 percent from the field compared to the Buckeyes' 58 percent.
The Wildcats hope to regain their focus before hitting the road to take on Brigham Young Nov. 27 at 2 p.m. in Provo, Utah.
"The thing that's going to happen is we're going to play a number of games on the road, you don't get the same calls," Bonvicini said. "It will be good to have a week to prepare before going on the road again."