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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s basketball looks to build winning streak

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Jordan Glenn

Arizona women’s basketball guard Candice Warthen (1) dribbles past Oregon center Megan Carpenter during Arizona’s 81-78 victory on Sunday in McKale Center. Warthen and the Wildcats have matchups against Utah and Colorado over the weekend.

Coming off its first Pac-12 Conference win of the season, Arizona women’s basketball will try to keep the momentum going when the team travels to take on Utah and Colorado this weekend. 

The Wildcats finally ended their skid this past Sunday by defeating Oregon at home. It took an overtime period, but Arizona made enough key shots, topped off by Charise Holloway’s game-winning 3-pointer. 

“It’s always really good to see your team fight together down the stretch,” Arizona guard Candice Warthen said. 

Now 1-7 in the conference, Arizona has a good chance to improve that record as the Utes and Buffs have struggled just as much thus far in conference play.

On Friday night, the Wildcats go to Salt Lake City to face a Utah team still in search of its own breakthrough win. The Utes sit dead-last in the conference with a 0-8 record, with four of the losses coming by double digits. Utah’s last win at the Huntsman Center came in late December against Charlotte. 

Then, in a late Sunday morning matchup, Arizona treks to Boulder, Colo., to play the Buffs. Colorado currently sits at 2-6 in the conference, with its only wins coming against Utah.

If the UA can continue to get strong performances from Warthen and forward LaBrittney Jones, Niya Butts’ team should be in good shape. 

The two combined for 20 rebounds and over half of the Wildcats’ points in the Oregon win, with Jones posting the best stat line of her careerv — a 30-point, nine-rebound performance. 

Ten of those points came from the free-throw line, a result of Jones and her teammates being more aggressive in attacking the paint and drawing contact. 

“We’ve got to continue to get to the line, continue to put people in foul trouble,” Butts said. “If we can do that and continue to get offensive rebounds, I like our chances.”

For Warthen, the outing moved her career point total to 997, just three points shy of the 1,000-mark plateau. The senior point guard recently moved to 18th on the UA’s all-time scoring list.

“I didn’t know she was three points away [from 1,000]” Butts said. “We’ll make sure to post her up in the next game and try to get her a quick two points there. She has battled through some things injury-wise, and the fact that she continues to go and works as hard as she works is amazing.”

Outside of scoring, Warthen and the Wildcats have also done a better job of taking care of the ball. Turnovers constantly plagued the team in the early going of conference play but, as of late, have not been a major issue. 

Going up against two opponents that have faced their own struggles offensively, Arizona can win if it plays smart, efficient basketball. 

Offensively, that means staying aggressive outside and not settling for contested looks. Defensively, it must stay on perimeter shooters, as the UA has allowed its past couple opponents to take an abundance of open shots from outside. 

If the Wildcats can do that and continue to receive solid performances from Warthen and Jones in particular, they should find themselves in a position to win both games.

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Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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