By Craig Sanders
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona women's basketball team showed last night that whatever the men can do, the women can do better.
The Wildcats ran over the Mexico National Team 90-43 in an exhibition game at McKale Center last night Ÿ a margin of three more points than the men won by on Sunday night.
Arizona used a balanced scoring attack in which four players scored in double figures. Senior point guard Brenda Pantoja scored 24 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting and had six assists to lead the way. Adia Barnes, last season's Pacific 10 Conference freshman of the year, had 19 points, while sophomores Michelle Giordano scored 14 points and Andrea Constand added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
"I was pleased. We played hard," Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "I think the biggest thing is we dominated the boards early and we were able to open up the inside with perimeter shooting."
Mexico was paced by shooting guard Erika Gomez's 12 points and nine rebounds. Center Elsa Hayashi chipped in 13 for the Mexico team, which was playing its third game in as many nights. The team lost to Southern Cal on Sunday and defeated Loyola Marymount on Monday night.
"We knew we had to come out and jump on them in the beginning," UA guard DeAngela Minter said. "We were aggressive early and they got aggressive back, but I think we were basically a quicker and more physical team."
The Wildcats ran out to an early 6-0 lead and never looked back. Arizona used its quickness and physical inside play to force 32 Mexico turnovers and won the rebounding battle 52-37. Mexico never got closer than 28 points in the second half.
"Our defense played well," Bonvicini said. "I think we pressured them early and caused some turnovers and that accounted for the margin of victory."
Bonvicini used the big lead as an opportunity to mix and match her lineup. Some players were used in as many as four different positions as Bonvicini hoped to optimize her team's abilities.
"We want to give everyone opportunities in different positions, but we still need to shoot the ball better," Bonvicini said. "We played pretty good defense and we rebounded well."
Minter, a starter, left the game in the second half with pains in her calf. She iced her leg and did not return to the game. It is uncertain how serious the condition is.
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