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Given the circumstances, Arizona’s 60-57 victory over No. 12 Stanford today in Pac-12 women’s basketball rivals any upset in the history of the athletic department.
The Wildcats were tied for last place with a 1-10 conference record and 8-14 overall. Stanford, a giant in women’s basketball which did not lose to Arizona since 2004, is now 9-3 and 17-7. The Cardinal had a 25-game winning streak against Arizona.
Senior guard Candice Warthen scored seven points during Arizona’s 10-0 run to close the game, and finished with 19.
“It has to be one of the most important wins of all-time here,” Warthen told the Pac-12 Networks. “It means a lot. My teammates were finding me. They believed in me and I just happened to make clutch plays at the end.”
The Wildcats trailed 30-18 at halftime but held the Cardinal without a field goal for almost 10 minutes to rally back.
Stanford led by seven points (57-50) with 1:18 remaining before Arizona stormed back behind Warthen for the win.
Charise Holloway made a three-pointer to cut the lead to 57-53. After Stanford missed a free throw, Warthen scored to cut the lead to 57-55. The Cardinal missed a three-pointer and Warthen was fouled. She made the first free throw and missed the second but Stanford, leading 57-56, knocked the ball out of bounds with 8 seconds left.
Warthen turned that into the game-winning jumper with 1.9 seconds to play. Stanford had a late turnover and Warthen made two free throws for the final score.
Brenna Workman added 17 points for Arizona, which made crucial free throws down the stretch. Arizona made 16 of 21 free throws, 10 of 12 in the second half.
“We’re going to feel good about this one and go back to the drawing board tomorrow,” Arizona coach Niya Butts told the Pac-12 Networks after the victory.
Butts, who is 88-122 in her seventh season at Arizona, knows much work has to be done to rectify the program. A win like this gives her team the confidence it has rarely possessed.
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Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
— Pac-12 Networks (@Pac12Networks) February 9, 2015