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Arizona women's basketball: Wildcats struggle early, turn ball over late in first loss of the season

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Caelum Gay and Caelum Gay | The Daily Wildcat Arizona guard LaBrittney Jones drives the ball down the court against Northern Texas on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The Arizona Wildcats women's basketball team fought back from deficits early and late in the game only to see themselves fall apart late due to turnovers and hand the visiting North Texas Eagles a 62-58 victory on Tuesday, taking their first loss of the season in front of a record-setting crowd of 8,442 at McKale.

The Wildcats were unable to find enough of a rhythm to consistently score. The lone bright spot coming from senior LaBrittney Jones who led the Wildcat offense with 23 points and also securing nine rebounds, nearly giving herself another double-double on the season.

"It can't only be LB [Jones]," said head coach Adia Barnes. "If you look at the balance of our scoring LB is the only one in double-digits, so you're not going to win a game like that."

Arizona struggled defending the 3-pt. line as well, especially in the 3rd quarter when the Eagles hit on four of their seven attempts from behind the arc. Adding insult to injury was the turnovers early and late in the game. When Arizona was down by two after making a 8-0 run to climb back into the ball game, they followed it up by turning the ball over four of the next five possessions.

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"I thought at times they out-hustled us and that is not anything I accept," said Barnes. "I accept mistakes, but I won't accept anyone out-hustling you for a loose ball on your home court."

Despite the short comings on both ends, LaBrittney Jones continues to be the go-to player for the Wildcats. She now averages just over 20 points per game and just under 10 rebounds as her solid senior campaign continues. Jones was even opened up her long range game, connecting on 2-of-4 from downtown.

"Coach kept saying to go inside because I had an advantage," said Jones. "It was getting to a point where we were down by so many points that I just said I have to do whatever I can for the team."

"I always say feed the beast," said Barnes. "I think when she had one-on-one she was great."

The Arizona guards did not play well and Barnes alluded to the fact that without the shooting of guards Lucia Alonso and Malena Washington being effective, it provides difficulties for the Wildcats to find enough offense to win games.

"Offensively on the perimeter we have to be better," said Barnes. "If you look at our guards Lucia and Malena, we need them to be threats and they just didn't tonight."

The Wildcats set a record for women's basketball attendance as they hosted 'School Day', where local schools took a field trip to watch the Wildcats play at McKale.

The loss moves the Wildcats to 2-1 on the year as they move on to play at Southern Utah this Saturday at 2 p.m.


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