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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    ‘O’ flubs cause W-hoops loss

    For those who witnessed the Arizona women’s basketball team’s strong showing Friday night against Portland, it would be difficult to recognize that same team last night.

    After coming off their best performance all season, the Wildcats struggled to find similar form in Raleigh, N.C., falling to North Carolina State 80-47.

    Arizona (2-3) shot a dismal 27.6 percent from the field and an equally disappointing 23.1 percent from behind the arc. UA guard Ashley Whisonant was the only player to finish with double digit points, with forward Amina Njonkou the only other player to add more than five.

    “”We started really slow offensively,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”Then when we get down we have to compete, and we didn’t compete enough tonight.””

    Before the half, Arizona got its best chance to make a run on the Wolfpack when leading shooter Khadijah Whittington committed her third foul resulting in her exit.

    Arizona could not take advantage, however, but rather allowed the Wolfpack (4-1) to begin to pull away and end the half with a 16-point lead.

    “”We did a really good job going at (Whittington) and getting her on the bench,”” Bonvicini said. “”But we didn’t capitalize on it. They not only had the lead but they built on it.””

    Arizona’s deficit only rose in the second half as turnovers and numerous mistakes lead to the Wildcats’ worst loss of their young season.

    Throughout the night, Arizona’s turnovers only helped the Wolfpack add to their lead as N.C. State shot 52 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc.

    Meanwhile, the turnovers the Wildcats did manage to nab, hardly turned into points.

    “”Getting turnovers didn’t really help us a lot tonight,”” Whisonant said. “”Every time we got the ball our offense wasn’t scoring and that was what hurt us a lot.””

    One reason for the Wildcats’ overall poor performance last night came from a lack of energy. Prior to last night’s game, several Arizona players said the energy level for away games was usually higher than most.

    “”We didn’t have the energy we normally do on road games, absolutely not,”” Whisnonant said. “”We had it before the game and we had a good shootaround, but once the game started, we just lost it.””

    Said Bonvicini: “”The good part is we’re going home.””

    Returning home is indeed a positive for the Wildcats as they pulled off a strong 78-71 win against Portland in their last home contest.

    Because of these results, the Wildcat players agree with their coach and hope McKale Center will be a friendlier place when they take on Middle Tennessee State (4-1) Sunday at 2 p.m.

    “”I’m looking to return home, especially with how well we played there,”” Whisonant said. “”It’ll be nice to get back on our home court in front of our fans. Just having the home court advantage will be good.””

    In order for Arizona to make a successful return to McKale, the Wildcats have a long list of adjustments that need to be made prior, with only three practices left before their matchup with the Blue Raiders.

    Better execution, becoming more poised and adopting a tougher attitude are all on the list of improvements to be made during the short week, Bonvicini said. But the No. 1 goal for the Wildcats to accomplish is to do all they can to not let Sunday’s game become another like last night’s.

    “”We took a step back (last night),”” Bonvicini said. “”I don’t like this loss, we were back on our heels all night.

    “”But now we have to have good practices and prepare well, because the best medicine is to get a win.””

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