TUCSON, Ariz. – It took two overtimes to determine a winner, but once it was all said and done, Arizona (4-7) came out on top over Southern Utah (1-10) by a score of 76-74 thanks to Kat Wright’s game-winner. The Wildcats played in their first double-overtime since Feb. 19, 2013 when they played two overtimes against Arizona State.
Wright scored a season-high 18 points with four made three-pointers, which also ties a season high. Of her 18 points, the final three were the biggest of the game as she knocked down the game-winning shot with eight seconds remaining in the second overtime.
JaLea Bennett did what she has been doing all season as she scored a team-high 20 points while grabbing seven rebounds, dishing out four assists and swiping three steals. She now has four 20-point games this season and came into the season with just one.
Destiny Graham had a quiet first half with just two points and three rebounds, but she would turn it on in a big way in the final 30 minutes as she would finish the game with 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Her second-half and overtime effort resulted in her first-career double-double.
Arizona’s freshmen duo of Sam Thomas and Marlee Kyles also contributed in a big way as Kyles scored 10 points off the bench and Thomas was all over the place with seven points, a career-high 15 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals in 49 minutes. Thomas is the first Wildcat since LaBrittney Jones to have 15 rebounds in a game (Dec. 15, 2013).
Southern Utah got off to a good start in the first quarter, especially on the defensive end as they held Arizona to six points while scoring 15 themselves. The Wildcats got hot in the second quarter with a 14-0 run and would eventually cut the lead to one as Southern Utah possessed a 26-25 lead at the half.
Arizona kept scratching and clawing in the third quarter and managed to take a 48-45 lead into the fourth quarter, thanks to another buzzer beater, this time by Kyles. The fourth quarter was a bit of a defensive struggle as the two teams combined to score just 21 points. At the end of the period, Arizona and Southern Utah each had 57 points, sending the game to overtime.
One overtime wasn’t enough as the two teams were deadlocked at 67 apiece after five minutes. In the second overtime, Arizona was down one with 40 seconds left and forced a shot clock violation to gain possession of the ball. With eight seconds left, Wright drilled the game-winning three-pointer off a pass from Bennett. Southern Utah got a shot off at the end of the period, but Kyles grabbed the missed shot, securing the victory.
With that, the Wildcats have wrapped up the non-conference season and will have just over a week before they start the conference slate on the road against Utah on Friday, Dec. 29. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. MST.