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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-Hoops opens at Wichita St.

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA womens basketball team played
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA women’s basketball team played

The Arizona women’s basketball team will finally get to display its new high-octane offense in a game that counts tonight when the Wildcats travel to Kansas to take on Wichita State University.

“”This is a big game for us, our first game on the road, and it’s going to be in a hostile environment,”” said Arizona head coach Niya Butts. “”We’re going to play a young, hungry team, so we’ve got to go in there with the focus to win. I think we’re ready.””

The Wildcats are coming into the 2010-2011 season with a chip on their shoulders, looking to make a statement that the last few years have been nothing but a bump in the road for Arizona women’s basketball.

“”(The players) are excited about the opportunity to start something new,”” Butts said. “”To get that name out there, to prove to everybody that we can be the team that we think we can be. We’re looking forward to it.””

The team that Arizona thinks it can be is one that pushes the tempo and forces the opponent to play at the Wildcats’ pace. Freshman Candice Warthen, alongside junior Shanita Arnold, is one of the two guards that will be asked to run the offense.

Turnovers have been a problem through the first two exhibition games, and cutting down on those is key to Arizona’s success.

“”I’ve had some trouble trying to figure it out,”” Warthen said. “”I have to learn all this, because in high school I basically did what I wanted to do, and I ran everything. But here, there are several leaders, and I’m just trying to fit in where I can.””

Arizona scored 90 and 109 points in its two exhibition games, but Butts is stressing that the offensive success may not be what it seems.

“”It’s definitely fool’s gold,”” Butts said. “”I know that offensively, you’re not going to play like that every night, and so we have to play like defense is going to win games and not offense. As players, you might think ‘we can outscore the other team,’ so maybe in their minds there’s less of a focus on defense.””

Junior Taylor Dalrymple, a transfer from Gulf Coast Community College, will be suited up for Arizona tonight, along with everyone else on the roster. Dalrymple didn’t play in Arizona’s second exhibition because of a coaches’ decision.

Guard Reiko Thomas is doubtful following offseason ankle surgery, but she is also making the trip to Wichita.

“”Who knows, Reiko (Thomas) may even get out there, but I doubt it,”” Butts said. “”She’s looking better and better ,and we feel good about her progress, but we don’t want to rush that along.””

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