Jones pours in career-high 30 as Wildcats hold off Oregon in OT

TUCSON, Ariz. — Freshman guard Charise Holloway knocked down what proved to be the game-winning 3-pointer from the left corner with eight seconds left to play in overtime, and sophomore LaBrittney Jones came off the bench to score a career-high 30 points as the Arizona women’s basketball team hung on to defeat Oregon 81-78 in overtime Sunday afternoon at McKale Center.

For Jones, the game marked arguably the best performance of her collegiate career, as the 30 points nearly doubled her previous career high of 16 points, as she connected on 10-of-16 shots from the field. She recorded a career-high equaling three blocks for a second consecutive night, while pulling down nine rebounds in the win.

Senior guard Candice Warthen notched her third double-double of the season and the fourth of her career, as she poured in 15 points on 7-of-15 shooting and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds, while recording a couple of steals on the afternoon.  The performance marks her 14th double-figure scoring game of the season, while she’s led Arizona in rebounding on seven different occasions this season.

Warthen moved up on Arizona’s all-time scoring list for the second consecutive outing, as she’s now No. 18 on the list (997) and just three points shy of tying Melissa Handley for 17th and reaching the 1,000-point plateau for her career.

Sophomore guard Malena Washington recorded 10 points and five rebounds for her fifth double-figure scoring game of the season, while Holloway contributed eight rebounds and five rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench, including the all-important game winning trey in the closing seconds.

Arizona (8-11, 1-7 Pac-12) received a season-high 44 points from its bench, as opposed to Oregon’s (8-11, 1-7) 29 points from its reserves. The Arizona bench has accounted for 45 percent of its total points over its last seven games.

The Wildcats were dominant down low all day, as they pulled down a season-high 53 rebounds to Oregon’s 48, while they also won the second-chance point battle 27-20.

Arizona scored 16 points off of 13 forced turnovers, while the Ducks had just 11 and only forced 11 Arizona miscues. The Wildcats also held a 14-9 advantage in fast break points, improving to 6-2 on the season when they win that category.

In a game that featured 16 lead changes and 14 ties, this one had the makings of a thriller right from the very beginning.

Oregon took the first big swing, as it claimed a 15-10 lead with 10:05 remaining in the first half after Lexi Bando knocked down a trey, but Arizona immediately responded with a mini 5-0 run to knot things back up at 15-15.

The Ducks then pushed their lead back out to 30-22 with 2:14 left to play in the half, as they threatened to pull away heading into halftime, but once again the Cats refused to to back down, closing the period on a mini 7-2 surge to make it a 32-29 Oregon lead at the intermission.

Alli Gloyd set a positive tone for the second half, scoring five of Arizona’s first six points out of the locker room, eventually leading to the Wildcats’ first lead of the second half at 37-35 with 16:06 remaining.

Washington drained a triple and then Jones converted on a free throw shortly after to spot the Cats their largest lead of the afternoon at 63-54 with 4:49 remaining, but the contest was far from over, as Oregon climbed all the way back to force overtime.

But it was the LaBrittney Jones show in the extra session, as she scored seven of Arizona’s 12 points in overtime, including knocking down a critical jumper from the right elbow with one second left on the shot clock to give the Cats a crucial 76-74 lead with 1:11 left to go.

Jones scored again on the very next possession, which eventually led to Holloway’s heroic three point conversion.

Oregon had the final shot of the game, but couldn’t convert on what would have been a game-tying three pointer as time expired. Arizona’s .279 three-point defense was ranked second in the conference and 25th in the nation coming into the game.