Feb. 10, 2005
Tucson, AZ - A last-second three-pointer from halfcourt by Nikki Blue hit the rim twice and caromed out to deny the Bruins a chance at overtime in a 76-73 loss to Arizona in front of 2,010 at McKale Center. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 16-8 overall and 8-5 in Pac-10 play. UCLA falls to 15-8 overall and 9-5 in conference games.
UCLA outshot Arizona 45%-41% and outrebounded the Wildcats, 41-36, but turned the ball over 25 times. The Bruins tied the game at 73-all with 11 seconds to play on a Lisa Willis three-pointer but then was called for a foul on the defensive end with five ticks remaining. Dee-Dee Wheeler made the first of two free throws to give the Wildcats a 74-73 lead. She missed the next free throw, but Natalie Jones grabbed the rebound and was fouled. After she made both baskets, Blue However, Willis committed another foul after the miss to send Jones to the free throw line. After Jones made both baskets, Blue's attempt at half-court nearly sent the game into overtime but just missed.
"UCLA is a great basketball team, but we showed a lot of character tonight," Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "I am just glad this game is over, and I'm really glad that we won. Everyone put in a great team effort."
Blue led the Bruins with 20 points and nine assists. Willis joined the 1,000-point club with her fifth of 16 points. Amanda Livingston also scored 16 points on 7-11 shooting from the field. Willis and Lindsey Pluimer led the Bruins with eight rebounds apiece. Livingston had seven.
Jones led Arizona with a career-high 25 points on 8-of-12 (67 percent) from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler and freshman Ashley Whisonant tallied 14 points and two steals apiece. Senior Danielle Adefeso pulled down a team-high nine rebounds. She also scored eight points and blocked two shots.
UCLA jumped out to a 16-2 lead as the Wildcats failed to score a field goal for the first 6:01 of the game. Arizona answered with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to seven and later made it a five-point game on a pair of Wheeler free throws. The Wildcats tied the game at the 2:28 mark on a Wheeler three-pointer and took their first lead of the game (28-26) just over a minute later on a Whisonant trey. Arizona went into the locker room at halftime up by four points, 32-28.
Arizona shot just 35 percent from the field on the half, compared to the 41 percent of the Bruins. UCLA also out-rebounded the Wildcats 19 to 16. There were 26 turnovers on the half - 16 by the Bruins and 11 by Arizona. Whisonant paced Arizona with nine points, followed by Wheeler with seven. Adefeso pulled down a team-high four boards on the half.
UCLA scored the first four points of the second half in less than a minute to tie the game at 32. Both teams then traded several baskets before the Bruins used a 7-0 run to go up by four, 50-46. Arizona then went on its own 7-0 run to take a three-point lead. A Jessica Arnold three-pointer just over two minutes later gave the Wildcats a seven-point lead (59-52), but the Bruins wouldn't die, scoring eight straight points to go up 60-59.
Arizona then scored six in a row to take a 65-60 lead, but UCLA cut it to one on free throws. The Bruins took the lead back at the 2:59 mark, but the Wildcats quickly regained the lead on a pair of Shannon Hobson free throws. A Wheeler jumper with 1:38 left put Arizona up by three.