No.14 Arizona’s late-game comeback came up short, as the Wildcats lost 73-59 to the University of Oregon on Thursday, Feb. 23. The Ducks fought off Arizona’s late-game comeback to snap their seven-game losing streak.
Oregon jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first two minutes. However, Arizona would respond with a deep three from Helena Pueyo and a layup by Esmery Martinez on the following two possessions to take a 5-4 lead. Both teams traded baskets over the next few minutes of the quarter. At the halfway point of the first quarter, the lead had changed six different times but it was Arizona who held 10-9.
Both teams continued trading baskets over the next five minutes, but Arizona was able to hold onto a 19-18 lead as the first quarter came to a close. Eight different Wildcats scored in the first quarter but it was Paris Clark, Madison Conner and Pueyo who led the team in scoring with 3 points.
The start of the second quarter was sloppy for both teams. Neither team could get into a rhythm, missing shots and turning the ball over multiple times. Halfway through the second quarter, Oregon held a 25-23 lead. Through the first five minutes, the Wildcats had two turnovers. The Ducks closed the first half with a 15-7 run to take a 40-30 lead into halftime. The second quarter was a disaster for the Wildcats, as they were outscored 22-11 and saw 1 point lead turn into a 10-point deficit in less than 10 minutes.
The leading scorers for the Wildcats at halftime were Cate Reese, Shaina Pellington and Jade Loville. Reese led the team with nine points and she was followed by Pellington and Loville who each had 4 points.
Arizona scored first to open the third quarter after Reese went 1-2 from the line 30 seconds into the quarter. However, Oregon would drain a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to extend their lead to 12 points. Through the first four minutes of the quarter, Arizona was struggling to get stops on the defensive.
The Wildcats had allowed Oregon to grab three offensive boards and get second-chance points, which helped the Ducks extend their lead to 16 points as they led 49-33 with six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Wildcats used a 5-0 run, highlighted by a Madison Conner 3-pointer to cut their deficit down to 11 points. Oregon responded by hitting a 3-pointer a few possessions later with three minutes left in the quarter. However, Arizona was not done yet, as they used an 8-0 run over the next 2 minutes to cut their deficit down to 6 points.
Arizona looked like they would head into the fourth quarter down only 6 points, but Oregon guard Chance Gray hit a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Ducks a 57-49 lead. After a rough start to the third quarter, Arizona was still able to outscore Oregon 19-17.
Arizona opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run to cut their deficit down to only 1 point. Reese and Pellington shined during the run as the Wildcats were back in the game. However, Oregon responded by going on their very own 4-0 run to extend their lead back to 5 points. With a little more than 6 minutes left in the game, Conner made a layup to get the Wildcats within 3 points.
However, back-to-back threes by Oregon put the Ducks up 67-58 with less than five minutes left in the game. The back-to-back threes sparked a 12-1 run by Oregon over the final six minutes of the game.
Overall, Arizona went 21-69 (30.4%) from the field, 12-18 (66.7%) from the free throw line and 5-23 (21.7%) from behind the arc.
Reese led the Wildcats with 19 points, followed by Conner with 10 points and Clark with 9 points. Pellington had a quiet night with 8 points and six rebounds.
No. 14 Arizona is now 21-7 (11-6). They play Oregon State University on the road on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 1 p.m.
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