Arizona 72

(20-11, 11-7 Pac-12)

Oklahoma 69

(17-13, 8-8 Big 12)

    12:00 PM ET, March 20, 2005

    Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee

    1 2 T
    ARIZ 29 4372
    OKLA 34 3569

    Top Performers

    Arizona: J. Arnold 15 Pts, 1 Reb

    Oklahoma: L. Rush 28 Pts, 6 Reb

    'Cats win first first-round game in five years

    KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Arizona proved it belonged in the NCAA tournament, winning a first-round game for the first time in five years with clutch shooting and tough defense.

    Dee-Dee Wheeler scored 16 points, Jessica Arnold added 15 and the ninth-seeded Wildcats advanced to the second round of the Chattanooga Regional with a 72-69 win Sunday over eighth-seeded Oklahoma.

    Arizona (20-11), unsure of getting an invitation to the NCAAs after losing to Southern California in the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 tournament, looked in control with about 6 minutes left, but Oklahoma (17-13) would not back down.

    The Sooners trailed 61-54 when Leah Rush hit a 3 to start a 10-3 run to tie it at 64 with 3:44 remaining.

    Arizona's Natalie Jones had a 3-pointer, and Rush answered with another to tie it again.

    Shawntinice Polk, who was held to nine points, scored inside with 38.4 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 69-67 lead. They never trailed again.

    The Sooners cut the lead to 71-69 when Dionnah Jackson made two foul shots with 6.5 seconds left, but it proved to be too late.

    Jones made the first of two free throws at the other end with 5.6 seconds left, and Oklahoma's Chelsi Welch missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

    Danielle Adefeso scored 10 points for Arizona, which shot 37 percent (24-of-64). The Wildcats made up for their poor shooting with defense. They had seven steals and Oklahoma finished with 14 turnovers.

    Arizona will face either LSU or Stetson in the second round.

    The Wildcats were making their third straight NCAA appearance, but they had not won a first round game since 2000 in Knoxville when they beat Kent 73-61.

    Oklahoma's tournament woes continued. The Sooners lost to Stanford last year in the second round and lost in 2003 in the first round to George Washington.

    The loss spoiled a great game by the Sooners' tallest starter, 6-foot-1 Leah Rush, who finished with a career-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field.

    Jackson added 17 points and a career-high 17 rebounds

    Arizona led most of the first half and was up by as many as six, but the Sooners grabbed the lead before halftime with a 10-0 spurt.

    The Wildcats regained the lead with an 11-0 run midway through the second half and led by as many as eight before Oklahoma made a run at the end.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 72 69
    FG Made-Attempted 24-61 (.393) 23-53 (.434)
    3P Made-Attempted 9-18 (.500) 8-21 (.381)
    FT Made-Attempted 15-21 (.714) 15-17 (.882)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 8 7

    Game Leaders

    PointsJ. Arnold 15L. Rush 28
    ReboundsS. Polk 8D. Jackson 15


    » Mar 20, 2005 ARIZ 72, @OKLA 69Recap | Box Score