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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-Hoops looks for energy from crowd in hopes of snapping eight-game losing streak

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women’s basketball team will once again try to snap its current eight-game losing streak tonight against the Washington State Cougars at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

The last time the Wildcats (13-12, 2-11 Pac-12) faced the Cougars in Pullman, Wash., Washington State was able to pull out a 78-68 victory over a hobbled Arizona team playing without its leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, sophomore Erica Barnes.

Now the team is back home, and head coach Niya Butts said she expects her team to step up and gather energy from the home crowd.

“It’s always good to be home,” Butts said. “They give us a lot of energy. They’ve been with us this entire season, through the ups and the downs. When you can hear the home crowd giving you that support, it gives you something else to play for, some energy down there on the floor.”

If there is a silver lining in this game, it’s that the Cougars are not a very powerful team. They are currently in the bottom half of the conference in both scoring offense and defense, scoring 61.1 points per game while allowing 60.6. The Cougars are also last in the conference in field goal percentage, shooting 37.6 percent.

Despite their offensive struggles, Butts is more worried about Washington State’s defense, which has given Arizona fits in recent games.

“We have to come out and make sure we’re poised and don’t force things,” Butts said. “It’s easy to do that, especially when they’re playing a zone. They’re kind of baiting you into making certain decisions. We need to do a really good job of picking our spots with them.”

Apart from getting through the defense of the Cougars, the Wildcats need to keep the energy up. The Wildcats usually go as leading scorer Davellyn Whyte goes, which recently has looked like a sputtering three-wheeled car.

Before posting 22 points against Utah Saturday, she averaged just 9.3 points per game in the previous six contests. Arizona was outscored 449-354 in those games.

Pac-12 play is winding down, and now that Arizona is alone in last place, salvaging the season may be out of the question. The Wildcats can, however, gather momentum heading into the Pac-12 Tournament in the hopes of making a surprise run, starting tonight with a win over Washington State.

“The slump sucks,” freshman center Aley Rohde said. “But every team will have to go through something like this to be successful eventually.”

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