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Arizona WBB unable to complete late comeback, fall to Colorado 45-43 in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals

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Asher Bookspan | The Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women's basketball team played the University of Colorado Boulder in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. Arizona would lose the game 45-43. 

LAS VEGAS - The Arizona women's basketball team lost to the University of Colorado Boulder in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday, March 3, by a score of 45-43.

The first quarter was a defensive battle and a struggle offensively for both teams. Lauren Ware led the team with 4 points, but Arizona did almost all of its damage from the free throw line where they went 6-6. Arizona shot 2-9 from the field and 0-6 from deep. 

Even with the offense struggling, Arizona's defense looked incredibly strong, holding Colorado to 0-5 shooting from the field to end the quarter. Arizona had three blocks and two steals to hold Colorado to 9 points in the first quarter and led by a score of 10-9. 

Arizona started the second half looking much better on offense, going on a 9-0 run and forcing a Colorado timeout. Colorado switched from a man-to-man defense to a zone defense, and it had a clear impact on Arizona as the Wildcats let up 6 unanswered points from Colorado. 

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Arizona struggled to break the zone and continued to shoot threes, going 1-8 from deep in the quarter. Ware continued to be Arizona’s most consistent scorer with 9 points at the half with three rebounds and two blocks.

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"Now with [Cate Reese] out, obviously we have a big deficit in those two areas of scoring and rebounding. So the coaches have kind of put that on me to be more aggressive and take more good shots and be more aggressive on the offensive end, and the defensive end as well with rebounding an on both ends," Ware said.  

Bendu Yeaney had the next highest with 4 points followed by Sam Thomas with 3. Arizona shot 6-22 (27.3%) in the half and 1-14 (7.1%) from the 3-point line. 

"Honestly, I feel like it was just one of those days for us. We all, the majority of us, especially [Thomas] and I, played here last year. I don't think we shot that poorly in our past, but some days just go like that," Taylor Chavez said. 

Arizona’s offensive struggles continued with lapses in defense as they allowed Mya Hollingshed to score 6 points which is more than Arizona scored in the entire third quarter. Arizona shot 2-12 from the field and 0-5 from 3-point. 

The only players to score for the Wildcats in the quarter were Ware and Aaronette Vonleh, who both scored 2 points. Colorado hit a layup at the end of the quarter to extend their lead to 33-26 over Arizona entering the fourth quarter. 

Ware got things going for Arizona in the fourth quarter from the free throw line which was followed by a Pellington 3-pointer. Colorado responded with a three of their own but struggled against Arizona’s stifling defense. 

Arizona took advantage of that and went on a 6-0 scoring run from 6:57 to 6:50 which then was extended to a 10-0 run with a basket from Yeaney to take the lead and Shaina Pellington with 4 minutes left. Colorado responded with a 7-0 run of their own to retake the lead.

Arizona’s offense lost steam and didn't score a field goal for almost 6 minutes but was able to bring the game within 2 points and got an important steal from Ware to give them one last chance. The team ultimately fell short and lost to Colorado 45-43. 

Colorado's 45 point victory was the least amount of points scored in a win in the Pac-12 tournament history. 

"I think they did a tremendous job of putting us in tough situations and exploiting some of our weaknesses and staying in that zone for a long time and we just weren't able to hit shots," head coach Adia Barnes said. 

Arizona shot 12-48 (25%)from the field and 2-24 (8.3%) from deep. Ware scored 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocks as Arizona’s leading scorer. Pellington was the team’s second-highest scorer with 9 points. 

Arizona will now return to Tucson to prepare for the first round of the NCAA tournament. 


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