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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘Cats can’t end ASU troubles

Freshman guard Davellyn Whyte drives the baseline in the Wildcats? 73-67 loss to ASU in McKale Center on Sunday. Arizona women?s basketball has now dropped nine-straight games to the Sun Devils.
Freshman guard Davellyn Whyte drives the baseline in the Wildcats? 73-67 loss to ASU in McKale Center on Sunday. Arizona women?s basketball has now dropped nine-straight games to the Sun Devils.

The ASU Sun Devils won the Duel in the Desert in Tucson on Sunday, coming away with a 73-67 victory over the Arizona women’s basketball team.

Sun Devil and Wildcat fans fired chants back and forth the entire game, but ultimately ASU (12-6, 4-3 Pacific 10 conference) was able to hold off a late Wildcat run to secure their ninth straight win against Arizona (9-8, 3-4).

“”It’s very frustrating, because we have come so close every year,”” said Arizona junior Ify Ibekwe. “”It’s tough because this is a big rivalry.””

The Wildcats jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead after Ibekwe knocked down a jumper with 17:01 left to play in the first half.

ASU responded by running off a 9-2 run, taking advantage of early Wildcat turnovers and crashing the boards offensively.

Arizona was out-rebounded in the game 48-36, including 21-12 on the offensive end.

“”We don’t do a good job rebounding, so until we correct that I think this is going to be a problem,”” head coach Niya Butts said after the game.

Trailing by five with 12:26 left to play in the half, Arizona leading scorer Davellyn Whyte got into the box score by hitting a 3-pointer to jumpstart what was a stalling Wildcat offense.

The momentum resulted in a 12-2 Arizona run that gave the Wildcats a 27-23 advantage with 4:47 left in the first half. Arizona went on a late 8-0 run in the first half, capped by an Ibekwe steal that saw the junior take the ball coast to coast for the layup, energizing the Arizona crowd.

Ibekwe secured a double–double in the first half, finishing the game with 25 points and 16 rebounds, and sending the Wildcats to the locker room with a 35-31 halftime lead.

Butts spoke earlier about the physical brand of basketball that the Sun Devils play coming into a game, and ASU brought it Sunday from the very beginning with plenty of contact off the ball and inside the paint.

“”They were very physical with us; we had to match their physicality,”” Ibekwe said of ASU’s style of play. “”We have been playing against bigger and stronger teams all season, so it was nothing new, it was just ASU’s intensity that was the difference.””

Knotted up at 44-44 with 14:51 left to play in regulation, ASU went on an 11-0 run sparked by their two leading scorers, Becca Tobin and Danielle Orsillo.

The Wildcats chipped away at their deficit and clawed back to pull within three, 67-64, with 0:39 to play in the game. 

Whyte stole the ball on the ASU inbounds pass but quickly had her pass stolen as she attempted to dish the ball inside, giving the Sun Devils possession as they were able to run the clock out for the win. Whyte, who finished the game with 22 points, noted the freshness of ASU’s defense due to their deep bench and constant rotation on defense.

“”They kept switching the defender on me so they always had someone fresh on me,”” the freshman guard said.

Butts continues to see growth in her team, but after yesterday’s loss she harped on the team’s occasional lack of intensity and fundamentals that are standing in the way of their overall ability.

“”I don’t think we should be losing games based on things outside of ability,”” she explained. “”I want to give (ASU) credit for coming in here and fighting and playing a tough game. I thought in so many ways they wanted it more, more than we wanted to beat ASU.””

 

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