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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Five questions for women’s hoops

1 Can Ify Ibekwe be a threat from 3?

Forward Ify Ibekwe, Arizona’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder a season ago, is expected to be able to knock down shots from behind the arc for the Wildcats this season. If she’s able to be a threat, Ibekwe’s outside shot will open things up inside for forwards Soana Lucet and Taylor Dalrymple, which will only increase the number of ways that an already diverse Arizona squad can score.

2  Will Arizona have an inside presence?

The Wildcats are undersized — Amanda Pierson is UA’s tallest player at 6-foot-3, but senior Lucet and junior transfer Dalrympe, both at 6-foot-1, along with Ibekwe, will be asked to do most of the scoring inside. If Dalrymple and Lucet can force teams to pay attention to them in the post, it will draw attention from super-sophomore Davellyn Whyte, Arizona’s leading scorer from a year ago.

3 Will Whyte have a sophomore slump?

Sophomore guard Whyte scored 33.8 points per game last year on 41.5 percent shooting, including shooting 35.3 percent from 3-point land, but has the Pacific 10 Conference figured her out? If Whyte can avoid the infamous sophomore slump, Arizona will have a two-headed scoring monster with Whyte alongside Ibekwe, who scored 33.7 points per game a season ago.

4 Can Brooke Jackson be a viable third option?

With defenses focusing their attention on Ibekwe and Whyte, will junior guard Jackson be able take some of that attention away with her ability to shoot from behind the arc? Last year, Jackson shot 33 percent, but in this season’s two exhibitions and season opener, she’s shooting 50 percent. If she can keep that up, opposing defenses are going to have their hands full defending Arizona’s diverse offensive options.

5 The ‘Cats can score, but can they play defense?

So far this season, the Wildcats have hit the 90-point mark twice with a low of 81. Offense isn’t going to be the issue — at least not consistently. Arizona’s opponents shot 37.8 percent last season, scoring 66.5 points per game. So far we’ve seen similar numbers this season from the Wildcats’ defense, but the points are coming much tougher for the opposition. If the Wildcats can make opponents work for every basket, they’ll be able to turn defensive stops into easy baskets in transition. 

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