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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pac-10 play rough on women’s hoops

    For a season that could be considered a rebuilding year by some, Arizona women’s basketball has gotten off to a better start than most expected.

    After four straight nonconference wins, the Wildcats (7-8, 0-4 Pacific 10 Conference) were sitting pretty with an admirable 7-4 record heading into league play.

    And that’s when they hit the buzz saw that is the Pac-10.

    Arizona opened its conference schedule against then-No. 13 California and then-No. 11 Stanford and lost each contest by 10 points or less. While the end result in both games is still a loss, the fact that the games were as close as they were cannot be ignored, especially considering that the Cardinals are now No. 9 and the Golden Bears are ranked 11th.

    The Wildcats have made up a streaky team this season. Arizona started the year with a three-game winning streak and then a three-game losing streak and followed it up with a four-game winning streak followed by a four-game losing streak. When analyzing each game, there is a blatantly obvious trend that those around the team feared would be a problem all year.

    The defense appears to be rock-solid, but the offense just isn’t there yet.

    Since the 93-88 triple-overtime victory against Loyola Marymount back in November, the Wildcats haven’t scored higher than 66 points in a game and have only broken the 60-point barrier three times.

    What’s even more telling is that when the opposition has scored more than 50 points, Arizona is 1-7, yet when opponents are held to less than 50 points the Wildcats are 5-0. They’ve only beaten an opponent by a double-digit margin once, but have lost by at least 10 points six times, including a 25-point loss at Oregon State on Saturday.

    Winning the close games and losing the blowouts is a tell tale sign of a defensive-minded squad. As is the case with any team that devotes its focus to its own end, it’s not a recipe for failure.

    For example, look at the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Their offense has been absent throughout the playoffs, yet their defense has dominated en route to two straight wins.

    There is no question that the Wildcat defense has the ability to dominate at times, and in a conference as competitive as the Pac-10, an imposing defense may be enough to skate by on. Whether or not the defense can hold up throughout the season remains to be seen, but the offense has to show up at some point.

    Offensive struggles or not, however, Arizona has defied the critics thus far and is eager to start knocking off its conference rivals as the season heats up.

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