TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona Wildcats (13-13, 4-11 Pac-12) hung on to defeat rival Arizona State (16-10, 7-8 Pac-12) on Friday night in McKale Center by a score of 62-58. This win breaks a four-game losing streak to the Sun Devils.
“Our motto is ‘Whatever it Takes’ and tonight I thought we did whatever it took to really fight and make plays down the stretch,” head coach Adia Barnes said. “We were smarter and made better decisions. One of the differences in this game was our start. I feel like we were intense right from the get-go. Usually you don’t see that from us, but I liked our intensity from the get-go.”
LaBrittney Jones was her usual self as she hit double-figures for the 21st time this season by scoring 15 points tonight. She also added in a game-high eight rebounds and blocked two shots. Jones was very efficient from the free throw line as she went 8-11 from the charity stripe.
“This feels amazing,” Jones said. “I’ve only beaten ASU once since I’ve been here, and getting this win in the last couple of games of senior year just feels great. To do it at home is even better. We’ve been battling all year and I think we battled tonight and we were able to get one. I feel great about this win and it’s good to have this momentum going into the Pac-12 tournament and the last couple games on the Pac-12, because anything can happen when March comes around.”
Breanna Workman got back to her scoring ways as she poured in 15 points of her own. She also finished with seven rebounds. Workman shot 67% on the night and has scored at least 14 points in three of her last five games.
As a team, the Wildcats held the Sun Devils to 38% shooting. Arizona was able to overcome a 41-31 rebound deficit and a 15-5 second-chance point deficit. The Wildcats outscored the Sun Devils 14-8 at the free throw line, which proved to be crucial.
The Wildcats finished the first quarter on a 10-3 run, capped off by a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Malena Washington to make the score 16-14 Arizona heading into the second quarter. Arizona extended their lead by three points in the second quarter as they outscored the Sun Devils 15-12 in the second period. Dejza James had seven points and five rebounds at the half, which were both game-highs.
Arizona State made a run in the third quarter to tie things up as they outscored the Wildcats 18-13 in the third, making the score 44-44 heading into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was full of drama as Arizona State took a 54-53 lead with just under six minutes to go. Arizona got that lead back with just over three minutes to go after Jones hit a pair of free throws. It was back and forth from then on as the teams were trading buckets. With About 20 seconds left and the Wildcats up one, senior Lauren Evans drove to the right side of the basket and hit a jumper to give Arizona a 61-58 lead. Arizona State missed their three-point attempt with about five seconds go and Malena Washington grabbed the rebound and hit a free throw to put it on ice.
The two teams will now travel up north to Tempe as they are set to face each other for the second-straight game on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena where Arizona will be looking for their first sweep of Arizona State since 2000. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.
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