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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s basketball getting road-savvy

Gordon Bates  / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

For the third time in as many games, the Arizona women’s basketball team is hitting the road. The Wildcats take on the University of Nevada at 8 p.m.

Arizona (5-1), led by sophomore guard Davellyn Whyte’s 14 points per game, is 3-1 away from McKale center this season.

“”Our team has been so mature in handling travel on the road, and stepping up and doing the things they need to do,”” head coach Niya Butts said. “”I commend them for that, because it’s tough. We’ve had a tough stretch here with some tough games on the road, but it’s going to prepare us moving forward.””

The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season last week to No. 7 Texas A&M last week, but hanging close with one of the nation’s top teams proved something to the players.

“”It really showed that we can play with anybody,”” Whyte said. “”We just have to be focused and practice hard, and when game time comes, just play.””

Even though the results have been there for Arizona early in the season — the Wildcats are outscoring their opponents by over 14 points per game — it can’t lose focus on the small things that can turn a good season into a great one.

“”We’re still really focusing on defense and rebounds,”” Whyte continued. “”We’re pushing (tempo) this year, so we’re going to get some turnovers, but when we cut out on some of those it will get us more points and more opportunities to score.””

It hasn’t been a one-woman show for the Wildcats this year. Alongside Whyte is senior forward Ify Ibekwe, who is just shy of averaging a double-double this year, with 13.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

“”This team has been growing since day one that coach Butts has been here,”” Ibekwe said. “”I just think how we carry ourselves and just mentally and physically it seems like we want it more. It’s not just one or two of us; it’s the whole team that wants it. That’s something that’s a big key for us this year.””

Depth is the biggest key to Arizona’s early success. Of the ten players that have seen time this season, nine are averaging double-digit minutes played per game.

Thomas getting closer

After averaging almost 27 minutes per game last season, junior guard Reiko Thomas is inching closer to returning after undergoing offseason ankle surgery.

“”Reiko’s closer,”” Butts said. “”She’s been looking better and better in practice. Who knows, maybe we’ll decide to give her a couple of minutes depending on what happens on game day, so we’ll see.””

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