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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Washington, Arizona look to end losing skids”

    UA head coach Niya Butts looks toward the scoreboard during Arizonas annual Red/Blue intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 29 in McKale Center. Butts, in her first year at the helm of the Wildcats, has yet to guide her team to a win in Pacific 10 Conference play.
    UA head coach Niya Butts looks toward the scoreboard during Arizona’s annual Red/Blue intrasquad scrimmage on Oct. 29 in McKale Center. Butts, in her first year at the helm of the Wildcats, has yet to guide her team to a win in Pacific 10 Conference play.

    This week marks the end of the first half of the Pacific 10 Conference season and the Arizona women’s basketball team is still in search of their first victory during league play.

    After falling to ASU by 27 points on Jan. 24 in Tempe, the Wildcats knew what they needed to work on: offense.

    For the second week in a row, Arizona matched its season-low point total for a game, scoring only 38 points.

    “”We’re going to do everything we can to prevent that from happening down the road,”” UA head coach Niya Butts said after the loss to ASU.

    The Wildcats continue their road trip as they head to Washington to take on the Huskies tonight at 8 p.m. local time, followed by Washington State Saturday afternoon.

    The Huskies own the edge in the all-time series, 31-16, against Arizona (7-11, 0-7 Pac-10), who has not won against Washington (5-12, 1-6) since 2005. The matchup with Arizona marks the beginning of a four-game homestand for the Huskies. The Wildcats will test Washington’s home record, which currently stands at 3-5 this year.

    Like the Wildcats, Washington and head coach Tia Jackson have seen long losing streaks. The Huskies have suffered six straight losses after beating Washington State in Seattle on Jan. 3. The Huskies are just one spot ahead of the Wildcats in the Pac-10, and Arizona occupies the last-place spot.

    “”It hasn’t gone great so far, but I think that soon we’ll be heading in the right direction,”” freshmen Courtney Clements said of the Wildcats’ recent struggles. “”We still have a chance to do some things and improve on the mistakes we’ve made so far and look better.””

    The good news for Arizona comes in the return of freshman guard Reiko Thomas. Although she did not start, Thomas returned to the lineup for the Wildcats against ASU and recorded 7 points and 7 rebounds.

    Like the Wildcats, Washington also has a freshman who makes a big impact on offense. Kristi Kingma, who averages 9.8 points per game, has had breakout games against USC and UCLA and scored 25 points in the contest against the Bruins. She also poses a 3-point threat as she’s made 10 shots from beyond the arc in the last two games.

    The Huskies are anchored with strong upperclassmen including junior Sami Whitcomb, who averages 11.8 points per game and had a season-high of 26 points against USC. Junior Laura McLellan who averages slightly more than 9 points per game, has registered 10 double-figure scoring games this season.

    Arizona hopes its offense will emerge in Washington, and the play of sophomore forward Ify Ibekwe could be the spark it needs. The past two games, both double-digit losses for the Wildcats, Ibekwe has been held to just 27 points combined. Although no one player has been the key to the UA’s offense this season, Butts knows that the solution lies in a return to simple basketball.

    “”We’ve got to do a better job of making shots,”” Butts said, “”be strong and physical.””

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