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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


W-hoops finding offensive balance

Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

In their two exhibition wins last week, the Arizona women’s basketball team ran its new, upbeat offense with conviction by scoring 75 points and 83 points in consecutive games.

The Wildcats owe their early offensive success to the contributions from players up and down the roster, yielding a balanced offensive attack that has head coach Niya Butts breathing a little easier knowing that several players are able to contribute offensively.

“”I feel like we have so much balance this year that we can switch things up if we have to,”” Butts said after Sunday’s 83-56 win over Grand Canyon University.

In Arizona’s first exhibition win over Fort Lewis College, five Wildcats scored in double digits, serving as a testament to the depth of this year’s team.

“”We definitely have players who can score,”” Butts said. “”As a coach, it gives you an array of options, and you enjoy that on the sidelines, not having to work too hard, because we know we have players who can put the ball in the hole.””

Sunday’s game further displayed the degree of balance on this year’s roster as Butts was able to give all 10 players minutes against Grand Canyon. Nine of those Wildcats registered points in the win.

Engineering the offense this year is senior point guard Ashley Frazier, who returns to the helm surrounded by many new faces — six to be exact — all in whom Frazier has confidence to score.

“”Mostly everybody on this team can score,”” Frazier said. “”It’s easier for me because no matter who I give the ball to, I know they can score. It gives our whole offense confidence.””

This year’s Arizona team is sure to be different from years past, where more disparity was evident in the offense’s ability to spread the ball around and execute scoring opportunities when the starting five was off the court.

Frazier, who led the Pacific 10 Conference in minutes played last year, averaging nearly 40 minutes per game, alluded to the comfort of having a roster full of scorers over the course of the season.

“”It’s always good to have a deep bench just in case someone gets hurt or someone is really fatigued. We know for sure that we have someone else that can step in and put in some minutes.”” Frazier said.

Butts sees this year’s balanced offense as a key element to the team’s early success. Despite what she sees as a large margin for improvement, Butts says she believes the roster’s collection of scorers has been a cushion so far for the team’s offensive mistakes.

“”We have to get so much better offensively as far as executing,”” Butts said. “”You know, we have some things to work on, but again, we have the ability to score and that helps us.””

One key to the early success of the offense is seemingly Arizona’s growth as a team after welcoming new personnel.

With more game experience, new players are able to trust one another with the ball, allowing the fast-paced offense to take off. That fact became evident by the team’s collective 23 assists in 32 field goals against Grand Canyon.

So far, the Wildcats have filled up the box scores at the end of games, and because of that they will travel to New York this weekend having finished the pre-season 2-0.

“”We’re not a selfish group,”” Frazier said. “”Even though we can all score, we know what it takes to win first.””


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