Arizona women erase fourth-quarter deficit to beat UNLV in first round of NCAA Tournament
Arizona fans packed the McKale Center Saturday night for the Wildcats’ first-round game against UNLV to open the NCAA Tournament and they were treated to quite the show.
The fourth-seeded Wildcats had the slimmest of two-point leads over 13-seed UNLV at the halftime break, but were outscored 24-17 in the third quarter to head into the final frame down 53-48.
The Wildcats then opened the fourth quarter by outscoring UNLV 23-6 over the first eight-plus minutes to win 72-67.
They scored the first eight points of the frame, with six of them coming from guard Shaina Pellington. In the span of about 15 seconds, Pellington gave the ‘Cats the lead and then pushed it a little more with a transition hoop plus the foul, sending McKale into an uproar.
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— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 20, 2022
Pellington would miss the free throw, but that was about the only mistake all game. The senior guard scored a game-high 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting, her second outing this season with 30. She was 8-for-13 from the free throw line, adding four assists and three boards. Twenty of her points came in the second half, and 13 of them came in the final 10 minutes when Arizona needed it most.
Forward Cate Reese also scored 16 points to help in the win.
Arizona was out-shot 53% to 45% and out-rebounded, but was able to force 19 turnovers that directly led to 16 points. Ten of those giveaways came in the fourth quarter as Arizona’s defense turned the heat up and fed off the energy of the home crowd.
The Wildcats (21-7) will play 5-seed North Carolina (24-6) on Monday.