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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-hoops faces tough road battle in San Diego

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women’s basketball team will face an early test this weekend when they travel to Southern California to square off against a strong San Diego State (2-0) team.

“”I think San Diego State is going to present a little bit of a challenge for us,”” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said. “”They are a really good team. They’re a well-coached basketball team that’s had success in the past, and they’ll be confident.””

The Aztecs are coming off an NCAA tournament second-round appearance last season, and return four starters from that team.

Arizona (2-0) has momentum after beating Iona and Miami (Ohio) last weekend in New York, but will have their hands full with SDSU.

“”They’re going to be a tough road test for us, we have to go in there with the right mind-set and focus, and I think we’ll be OK,”” Butts added.

Butts immediately put her team to work in practice this week, focusing on defense and trying to reverse the turnover trend that has plagued the Wildcats in the first two games.

“”Our defense as a whole, our rebounding, our turnovers, those were three things that were glaring this weekend in New York,”” Butts said. “”We’ve got to do a better job defensively, and we have to do a better job of boxing out and rebounding the basketball.””

The Aztecs enter the game shooting at a 49.5 percent clip from the field and an impressive 52.6 percent from behind the 3-point line, so defense will be key in slowing SDSU’s offensive attack.

Hot shooting was also a large part of Arizona’s success in the first two games, largely by freshman Davellyn Whyte and sophomore Brooke Jackson, who each connected well above 50 percent from the field in the New York tournament.

Both players are still adjusting to Division I basketball, but continued development will help them to complement Arizona’s returning players.

“”I think, collectively, the team took great strides,”” Butts said. “”We’re still trying to adjust and figure out what our niche is going to be, what our roles are going to be and when we start figuring those out, I think good things are to come.””

Butts was cautious, however, about concluding too much from the first two games, concentrating on taking the season one game at a time while keeping a bigger picture in mind.

“”For us it’s certainly early. You don’t want to get too excited about it,”” Butts said. “”You certainly don’t want to minimize the importance of a good start, but it will be a long season.””

From the players’ standpoint, the victories reward their hard work during practice.

“”We’ve been in here working hard, building chemistry and the 2-0 start gives us a little momentum that we want to try to build on,”” redshirt junior Shanita Arnold said. 

The game against the Aztecs will wrap up Arizona’s three-game road trip to start the season, before the Wildcats head home to McKale Center to take on Ole Miss on Nov. 23.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Viejas Arena.

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