NCAAW: Cats stun 12th ranked Stanford

NCAAW: Cats stun 12th ranked Stanford
Senior Candice Warthen hit the game-winning jumper with 1.9 seconds to play (Photos courtesy: Arizona Athletics).
Senior Candice Warthen hit the game-winning jumper with 1.9 seconds to play (Photos courtesy: Arizona Athletics).

TUCSON, AZ - Senior guard Candice Warthen drained a game-winning jumper from the left elbow with three seconds left to play in regulation to lift Arizona to a huge, 60-57, upset victory over No. 12 Stanford, Sunday inside McKale Center.

For Arizona (9-14, 2-10 Pac-12), the win marks the second straight season the Wildcats have taken down a top-15 opponent, as they upset then No. 11 Arizona State 68-49 almost a year ago to the day on Feb. 9, 2014. The victory also snaps what a 24-game losing streak to Stanford going back to Feb. 5, 2004.

"Obviously any time you can get a win against a ranked opponent it feels good, but more than anything this was awesome for our kids," said head coach Niya Butts. "This was a very important game for us today."

Warthen nearly notched her third double-double of the season, as she went for a game-high 19 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in the win.

Sophomore forward Breanna Workman also had herself a career day, as she went for a career-best 17 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, while pulling down five rebounds and dishing out two assists.

Freshman guard JaLea Bennett provided a huge lift, as she poured in eight points on 4-of-5 shooting from the free throw line, while collecting a team-best two steals. She's now recorded a steal in six straight games.

It was a second half performance for the ages, as the Wildcats rallied from a 14-point second half deficit and 30-18 halftime margin to outscore the Cardinal 42-27 in the second half en route to the victory.

UA shot a season-best 51.7 percent from the field (15-of-29) in the second half, while holding Stanford to just 9-of-26 from the floor for 34.6 percent.

As great as the second half performance was, it wasn't all-that shocking, as the Wildcats played Stanford toe-to-toe throughout. UA jumped out to quick 9-3 lead with 14:46 left to play in the first half, after Workman put in a contested layup.

Stanford eventually rallied to take a lead as large as 30-16 with 2:38 remaining in the opening 20 minutes, but the Wildcats trimmed it to manageable 12-point deficit at the intermission.

Arizona came out of the halftime locker room firing on all cylinders, as it launched a 10-0 run, knocking down 5-of-7 shots from the floor during that span, to cut Stanford's lead down to just 32-28 with 15:39 remaining in regulation. But as impressive as the offensive stretch was, the defense stole the show, as the Wildcats held the Cardinal to without a field goal over a span of nearly 10 minutes in the second half.

Later, Stanford's Taylor Greenfield connected on a three-point to put Arizona in a deep hole, down 54-46 with just 2:14 remaining.

Arizona's chances to win became even dimmer after Stanford's Bonnie Samuelson drained yet another three for the Cardinal, to make it a 57-50 Cardinal lead with 1:18 remaining, but the fun was just getting started for the Wildcats, as Charise Holloway responded with a clutch three-pointer from the top of the arc to make it just a 57-53 ballgame with 1:01 left.

Then it was the Candice Warthen show the rest of the way, as she went on to score the final seven points for the Wildcats, including the eventual-game winner.

Arizona aims to take its positive momentum on the road this week, as it'll head up to Eugene to clash with the Oregon Ducks, Friday at 7 pm MST. The game can be heard locally on KTUC 1400 AM.

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