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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA continues homestand against undefeated Aggies

    UA guard Ashley Frazier harasses a UC Santa Barbara player during a 54-47 Arizona win Sunday at home. Frazier and the Wildcats hope to continue their three-game win streak as they take on No. 7 Texas A&M tonight at 7 in McKale Center.
    UA guard Ashley Frazier harasses a UC Santa Barbara player during a 54-47 Arizona win Sunday at home. Frazier and the Wildcats hope to continue their three-game win streak as they take on No. 7 Texas A&M tonight at 7 in McKale Center.

    Arizona women’s basketball may as well be sleeping in McKale Center. After Sunday’s 54-47 win against UC Santa Barbara, the Wildcats return to their home floor less than 48 hours later to take on No. 7 Texas A&M tonight at 7.

    In their first meeting since 2006, the Wildcats (3-1) will try to defend home court against the Aggies in only the teams’ fourth meeting ever. Arizona holds a 2-1 lead in the series.

    Texas A&M (3-0) last played on Nov. 20 and is looking for its first ever win in Tucson after a five-day hiatus. The combination of senior All-America candidates Danielle Gant and Takia Starks gives the Aggies an explosive offense, and both guards average more than 30 minutes per game.

    Texas A&M has finished in the top 25 for the past three years and will vie to continue its perfect season.

    “”A&M is going to come in here ready to play,”” said UA head coach Niya Butts. “”They will be aggressive and will attack the basket. We need to come execute the game plan to give us a chance to win.””

    Although Arizona relied heavily on defense in its last game, the Aggies also know how to play that game. They are second in the Big 12 Conference in shooting percentage, holding opponents to 30.7 percent shooting from the floor and 17.4 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

    The Wildcats (3-1) come into their first Big-12/Pac-10 showdown with their best opening record in four years. Although they gained confidence against the Gauchos, the Wildcats know they will have to work hard and execute their game plan to pull off an upset of the Aggies.

    “”Tuesday will be a big game. We were picked No. 10 in the Pac-10 and Texas A&M is ranked No. 7 in the country,”” said freshman guard Reiko Thomas. “”We are the underdogs for sure. Our offense and defense will have to be good. Tuesday is going to be intense, and we have to make sure we play at our tempo.””

    The Wildcats played solid defense in their last game, allowing UC Santa Barbara only 10 points in the first half. Ify Ibekwe was a large contributor to the win, as she had a career-high 19 rebounds to go along with her 15 points. She will need to replicate that kind of performance if Arizona hopes to minimize Texas A&M’s second-chance points, Ibekwe said.

    “”I am excited for Tuesday’s game. We have to come out with confidence,”” Ibekwe said. “”We just received their scouting reports. We are going to need to box out and get opportunities off the glass.””

    The Wildcats will push to use their size advantage to continue their plus-10.8 rebounding margin over their opponents so far this year.

    The Wildcats are scheduled to face seven games against teams ranked in the preseason top 25. When asked how the game against A&M will be a measuring stick for the team, Butts said, “”Luckily every game is a measuring stick from where we are. We get an opportunity each game to get out there and get better, to improve and to see where we are, see where we need to work on.””

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