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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Last-place Wildcats try to win first game of tourney against UCLA

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The Arizona women’s basketball team wrapped up its regular season with a loss to ASU 70-63 on Saturday. The loss finished a conference schedule from hell for the Wildcats, as they lost 15 of 18 games in the Pac-12 and finished 14-16 overall after starting 11-1.

In a season of misfortune, Arizona luckily was matched up with UCLA (14-13, 9-7 Pac-12) for the opening game of the Pac-12 tournament in Los Angeles today — lucky in that the Bruins are one of three teams the Wildcats defeated in conference play. In their second game against UCLA, though, Arizona reverted back to its losing form in a 72-58 loss.

“The first game we played them here, it was a very close game, came down to the wire,” head coach Niya Butts said. “Then we went up there (to Los Angeles), didn’t do a lot of things particularly well and they were able to get the win.”

Against UCLA the first time around, leading scorer Davellyn Whyte had one of her better games of the season, scoring 23 points coupled with 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals. Her struggles in the second game proved to be costly, as she shot just 3-of-15 from the field, 0-for-9 from long range and scored just 12 points.

“I think going into the Pac-12 (tournament) we have to rebound, be physical and just play our game running transition because that’s our game, we just have to be ready to play,” Whyte said.

If Arizona wants to pull out a win in the first round, and its first since Feb. 16, they will need to stop the Bruins’ talented trio of Rebekah Gardner, Markel Walker and Thea Lemberger.

Here’s what their average stats looked like in two games against Arizona:

Gardner: 16.5 points, seven rebounds, 2.5 3-pointers.
Walker: 14.5 points, 12 rebounds.
Lemberger: 16 points, four assists.

“UCLA, with the amount of injuries they’ve had, they’ve had to mix and match a little bit like we do,” Butts said. “But they have players that play with a lot of pride, they want to win, so the matchup is going to be a tough one with us.”

Going forward, if the Wildcats can pull out a first-round victory, they will face the No. 1-seeded Stanford Cardinal, a team that shellacked Arizona in a 40-point victory at the beginning of February.

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