Harris helps women by hitting winning shot

By Th‚oden K. Janes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Road trips are a part of life for any Division I women's basketball player. The Wildcats have been on several this year, to places including Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco. They still have a trip to Oregon and one to Tempe on their schedule.

But last night, UA junior guard Atina Harris was in no mood to travel. In fact, she dreaded the thought.

Fortunately for her team, not even UCLA could force her to do so, and Arizona slipped past the Bruins 63-61 in front of 933 fans at McKale Center to end its five-game losing streak.

With just 4.1 seconds left on the clock and the score tied at 61, Harris drove with the ball to the right baseline, stumbled, and for an instant, it looked like she would be taking a trip after all.

But an instant later, she banked in a 10-footer, sealing the Wildcat victory.

"As I tried to go up, I planted my left foot and it just sprained a little bit," Harris said. "My foot got caught and so the best thing for me to do so I wasn't going to get called for a travel is just shoot the ball. It went in ... I won't call it luck."

Down 32-29 at halftime, it looked like luck was exactly what the UA would need to come away with a victory, because history was definitely not on the team's side. Thirteen times this season, Arizona had been losing at halftime, and 13 times, the Wildcats had been dealt a loss.

But the UA (10-14 overall, 5-7 in the Pacific 10 Conference) came out for the second half determined to prove that "down at halftime" didn't translate to "down and out."

Through the first 5:26 of half No. 2, the UA outscored the Bruins 18-4. After UCLA (8-13, 3-9) charged back to put itself within one point with 5:20 remaining, both teams picked up the intensity, and the Bruins could only outscore Arizona 9-8 before Harris hit her game-winner.

"That (statistic) was probably in the back of our minds, but we mid

were determined that we wanted to make a change. We wanted to be able to win at halftime," said UA forward Adia Barnes, who recorded her seventh double-double of the season while leading all scorers with 22 points and 15 rebounds. "We pulled out at the end and that's why we won."

Several players besides Barnes came up big for the Wildcats, important because of the absence of senior co-captain and point guard JiJi Sweet, who injured her left knee during practice Wednesday afternoon.

Sweet was examined by doctors after practice and further results will be available later. She will not play against Southern Cal tomorrow night.

Her replacement, Harris, not only won the game for Arizona, but also had eight other points, four rebounds and 12 assists.

Junior Brenda Pantoja pitched in 12 points, while freshman guard DeAngela Minter scored eight.

"This team has had some tough luck," UA coach Joan Bonvicini said. "I said before the game that our backs are against the wall and this was going to be a test of what kind of character this team has.

"Here you lose your leader (Sweet), and she may not be our leading scorer on paper, but she just does so many things. We knew this was going to be a very scrappy, ugly game, particularly when you hadn't won in awhile and missing JiJi. But I was very, very pleased."

Tomorrow night, the Wildcats will try to extend their new winning streak to two games with a victory over 24th-ranked Southern Cal, which is coached by former Trojan star and ESPN/ABC TV commentator Cheryl Miller.

USC (13-6, 6-5) is led by forward Tina Thompson (19.5 points, 9.4 rebounds per game) and Karleen Shields, who is averaging 15.4 points per game.

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