Tuscon, AZ — On Friday night, the Arizona Wildcats broke their six-game losing streak and made an impact with a social cause.
Behind JaLea Bennett's 23 points, the Wildcats (5-13, 1-6 Pac-12) beat the Colorado Buffaloes (11-7, 2-5 Pac-12) 72-63 to secure their first conference win of the season.
Besides clinching their first conference victory, the Wildcats have found other ways to utilize this building year, like partnering with organizations like the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to host the first-ever collegiate Unity Game.
The Arizona women’s basketball team is the third team to host such a game; the others are the WNBA’s New York Liberty and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
RISE was founded by Stephen M. Ross, owner of the Miami Dolphins, to use the power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress. The organization partners with sports leagues, organizations, athletes, and educators to promote understanding, respect, and equality.
The Wildcats were able to avenge their earlier season loss against the Buffaloes with big performances from seniors Kat Wright (16 points, five three-pointers) and Bennett.
Within the first half, we saw Bennett set the bar high with 15 total points as she made all seven attempts from the field. Wright was the Wildcat’s leading scorer, hitting 50% from the three-point line.
While Colorado struggled from the field in the first half, shooting less than 30 percent, the Buffaloes used their deeper bench to their advantage, outscoring the Wildcats 7-0.
Arizona finished the first half with a 35-28 lead.
The Wildcats held the lead the entire third quarter, even with Colorado outrebounding Arizona.
The Wildcats ended up with their toughest test in the fourth quarter, eerily reminiscent of the Cal game where they came out firing on all cylinders. Colorado hit a barrage of threes and cut Arizona’s lead down to two points.
However, the Wildcats responded with several key defensive stops from junior Destiny Graham, and again from senior Wright who knocked down three triples.
Colorado made several runs in an attempt to regain control, but they weren't able to match Sam Thomas’ three-pointers and Graham's free throw shooting, which put the game out of reach for the Buffaloes.
Arizona will face Utah next on Sunday at the McKale Center while Colorado will stay on the road at Arizona State on the same day.
Arizona wins their first conference game against Colorado 72-63Posted by Swish Appeal Staff on Friday, January 19, 2018