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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


W-hoops rolls against GCU

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA womens basketball team plays Grand Canyon University womens basketball team, Nov. 2, 2010.
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA women’s basketball team plays Grand Canyon University women’s basketball team, Nov. 2, 2010.

Arizona women’s basketball head coach Niya Butts couldn’t have drawn up a better start to the 2010-11 season. The Wildcats connected on their first five shots en route to a 90-56 exhibition romp of Grand Canyon University in McKale center.

Arizona is looking to run the floor more this season, and the players were making a point of pushing the tempo on offense in the first half.

“”You know, I wish we had picked some more spots (to run),”” Butts said. “”We did pretty well, we pushed tempo and we scored about 10 points in a minute and a half. We kind of fell off a little bit, and I want us to keep that going for an entire game.””

It is the first game in the season though, and fatigue played a role in the Wildcats’ energy falling off in the second half.

“”We’ve got to be able to fight through the fatigue so we can play at that tempo in the second half too,”” said sophomore guard Davellyn Whyte.

Freshman guard Candice Warthen started her Arizona career off with a bang after making her debut three minutes into the game. She scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, along with 2 assists.

“”We see it every day in practice,”” Whyte continued. “”She’s fast.””

Warthen looked a little out of control at times, but that’s something to be expected out of a freshman making her collegiate debut.

“”Obviously she’s a young pup who’s going to make some mistakes, and she could have made some better decisions,”” Butts said. “”Offensively she did some really good things. Your first game as a college basketball and you come out and score 13 points, I think that’s pretty good.””

Whyte, Arizona’s leading scorer from last year, struggled to find a rhythm after getting into early foul trouble. She played only three minutes in the first half.

“”I got two quick ones, then I had to sit the rest of the half,”” Whyte said. “”When I came back in, I didn’t want to get my third then have to come back out again. I wanted to contribute to the team, so you could say I got into trouble there a little bit.””

Making it rain

To kick off the rout, Arizona shot 64 percent in the first half, along with a whopping 71 percent from three-point range. Brooke Jackson led the Wildcats in scoring for the night with 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

“”My teammates gave me the confidence,”” Jackson said. “”They told me to shoot lights-out, so I just tried to do that.””

Jackson was a proven commodity from behind the arc. She hit 44 threes last year, which was good for second on the Wildcats’ roster.

Forward Ify Ibekwe, however, is Arizona’s newest threat from behind the arc. After hitting only six three-pointers last season, Ibekwe is now looking to take a shot whenever the opportunity presents itself.

“”I was on the line and my teammates were looking for me,”” Ibekwe said. “”If I’m wide open, I’ll shoot it. Like really wide open, I’m not going to force anything at the three point line.””

Ibekwe shot 2-for-2 from behind the arc and scored 14 points.

In the paint

Arizona’s search for an offensive threat in the paint might be over. Transfer Taylor Dalrymple, a junior from Atlanta, Ga., scored 10 points in the game, all of which came in the paint.

“”Taylor (Dalrymple) is absolutely a viable option down low,”” Butts said. “”We have to keep her on the floor. She made some poor decisions in the first half, but I think it was an effort to get out and push the basketball in transition. If she keeps coming along as a player, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.””

Soana Lucet, Arizona’s other post player didn’t fare as well as Dalrymple in the paint. Lucet shot only 1-of-6, but added five assists and eleven rebounds.

The Wildcats continue the season on Sunday, when they play host to Western State in the final exhibition tune-up before the regular season.

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