Women’s basketball struggles in tournament

Originally published December 3, 2010

Three games into their four-game road trip, the Braves find themselves with a 3-3 record after an 82-59 drubbing from University of Arizona on Saturday at the Cancun Thanksgiving Classic.

With a total of 27 turnovers, the Braves could never form the offensive consistency needed to stay with the talented Wildcats who are now receiving votes in the AP Top 25 Poll.

Arizona took the turnovers and converted them on the other end in an offensive output that produced four players in double figures. Senior forward Ify Ibekwe dominated the Braves with 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals.

“We needed to tighten up on her, and we let her get loose,” coach Paula Buscher said.

Fellow Arizona senior forward Sonia Lucet had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists while freshman forward Erica Barnes had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

After missing the last two games due to a concussion, Katie Yohn came off the bench and was the only Bradley player in double figures with 14 points.

“When our team is going down, I try to make an effort to take control and calm the team down offensively and defensively,” Yohn said.

Even with her offensive output, her shooting percentage on the night, 29 percent, reflected the team’s poor shooting – the Braves only shot 37 percent from the field.

The Braves held a 20-16 lead halfway through the first half and were only down four at the break. Due to turnovers and poor shooting, the Braves went scoreless for the next five minutes.

With back-to-back threes by Yohn and freshman Kelsey Budd, the Braves were able to cut the lead back to four, but once the second half started, they returned  to their poor shooting ways.

Bradley was held scoreless in the first four minutes of the half as Arizona pushed its lead to 39-28.

Defensively, Bradley struggled to contain the size advantage Arizona had over the Braves. Three of the four players in double figures for the Wildcats were 6-foot-1 or taller.

Ibekwe and Lucet both had five points in a 12-0 run that finally distanced the Wildcats from the Braves. The two senior forwards showcased an inside game Bradley could not stop or replicate.

While Arizona had a staggering 46 points in the paint, the Braves only finished with 18 on the night.

With only two home games in a 47-day span, the four-game road trip will end at 2:05 p.m. Saturday with a home game against Saint Louis University at the arena.