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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-Hoops bruised by Bruins

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It’s obvious now that the Arizona women’s basketball team is not welcome in the state of California. After a dismal trip to northern California two weeks ago, with losses to both Cal and Stanford, the Wildcats were hoping to receive better results in the southern part of the state.

The southern California sun, however, was only shining on the hometown favorites, as Arizona once again limped home to Tucson after a 70-60 loss against No. 10 UCLA on Saturday in Los Angeles capped off another disappointing road series for the Wildcats.

Despite a strong effort on the offensive side, Arizona (13-7, 4-5 Pacific 10 Conference) couldn’t get back on defense to counter the Bruins (18-2, 8-1 Pac-10) quick attack in its fifth-straight conference road loss.

Arizona head coach Niya Butts said she was proud of her team’s offensive push but summed up the Wildcats’ glaring weakness throughout the game rather easily.

“”We were just getting dominated on the boards, they were more physical than us,”” she said. “”We just got pushed out of the way, and we just got man handled on the boards.””

The numbers don’t lie: the Bruins managed to pull 48 rebounds compared to a meager 24 for Arizona.

Twenty-six of the Bruins’ boards came in the first half, while the Wildcats could only bring in eight by the halftime buzzer.

Even Arizona’s star foward Ify Ibekwe, who leads the conference in rebounds with almost 10 per game, was held to just three.

The Wildcats came out of the locker room looking sharp at the start of the game, forcing an early 12-6 lead after connecting on five of their first six shots.

It then turned into the UCLA rebounding display, with Arizona unable to come up with any response.

Even with its defensive woes, Arizona’s offense continued to push throughout the entire contest and was able to trim the Bruins’ lead down to seven with three minutes left.

“”I thought offensively we played pretty well, our goal was 16 or less turnovers,”” Butts said after the game. “”We did a pretty good job, against a team that usually forces 24 turnovers a game, of taking care of the basketball.””

For UCLA, team leaders Jasmine Dixon and Darxia Morris continued their dominance, scoring 22 and 13 points, respectively.

Bruin forward Atonye Nyingifa also racked up a double-double for her team with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Ibekwe led the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points and was followed by Davellyn Whyte, who contributed 14.

Guard Shanita Arnold also scored in double digits with 10 points.

As the Wildcats lick their wounds to rebound at home — where they haven’t lost all season — they don’t have the comfort of facing the conference bottom feeder Washington schools this week like they did last weekend.

Arizona will need to seek retribution as the California Golden Bears and Stanford Cardinal take their talents to Tucson.

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