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Women's basketball stumbles to 10th conference loss of the season

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Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Jalea Bennett (33) trips into the paint past Washington State defense.

For a quarter, the Arizona women’s basketball team seemed to be up to the task of getting their second win of the Pac-12 Conference season — until the Washington State Cougars began methodically picking apart the Wildcats, highlighted by a 18-2 run to secure their third Pac-12 win of the season, 78-60, Friday in McKale.

The loss drops Arizona to 1-10 in conference play, 5-17 overall. The Wildcats came into the two game series with the Washington schools with hopes of getting another win under their belt against two teams with similar records and struggles. Despite the similarities, it was ball movement and shooting that helped the Cougars dominate the Wildcats.

“We came out how we wanted to, but the thing is we got to contain,” senior JaLea Bennett said. “…When we get fatigued we start to stand around…one person can guard two of us so we’re not getting the open shots that we need.”

Washington State had 21 assists on 30 made field goals which led to five players in double figures. Arizona, on the other hand, could not find a good rhythm offensively outside of senior JaLea Bennett, who had 24 points on 8 of 15 shooting. The Wildcats shot 35.7 percent from the field and just 4 of 16 from 3-point range.

“They just had an easy time scoring at times, we didn't locate shooters and that was stuff that were keys and that we talked about," UA head coach Adia Barnes said. "...The hard thing is going into the bench, it's like you give up something, and you get something, then you take something away. JaLea [Bennett] was awesome at scoring tonight, but at times she took some breaks here and there. Then when Marlee [Kyles] comes in we are really small so it's hard to stay in some of our zones...We have to be able to get stops."

With just under four minutes left in the second quarter and the score tied at 30, Washington State began to pick apart Arizona around the perimeter and in transition. On several occasions the Wildcats failed to have a safety net in back as the Cougars ran out for easy lay ups. The lack of defensive awareness combined with the timely shooting of Washington State's Alexys Swedlund and Chanelle Molina led to a run that ultimately put the game out of reach.

Arizona’s backcourt of Lucia Alonso and Marlee Kyles struggled to initiate any offense for Arizona. Alonso was 0 for 8 on the night from the field and Kyles was 2 for 4. The duo combined for four points, four assists and five turnovers on the evening.

“It’s a process, we’re not going to just wake up and play good basketball,” Bennett said. “…We just gotta continues to preach that and trust the process.”

Arizona will have another crack at the win column against Washington on Sunday. The Huskies have also won just one game in conference play this season, pitting two teams trying to stay out of the cellar of the Pac-12.


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