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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Run-and-gun style could negate rebounding woes

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats Womens Basketball victory against North Texas on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 at McKale Center.

In basketball, defense and rebounding are typically considered to be two of the more important aspects associated with winning teams.

The Arizona women’s basketball team doesn’t have a very good defensive team, ranking ninth in the Pac-12.

Arizona doesn’t have a very good rebounding team, either. It ranks eighth in rebounding margin in the Pac-12. Erica Barnes leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per game, but no one else averages even five rebounds per game.

The Wildcats should not be winning basketball games, yet they are 5-0 heading into a tournament in Hawaii this weekend.

Against North Texas, all the team’s strengths, and weaknesses, came to light. Arizona scored 18 fast break points, to North Texas’ zero. It scored 29 points off turnovers, to North Texas’ 11. It faltered toward the end of the game, but at the end of the day won.
This team is built to run.

From the moment the referee throws the ball in the air for the opening tip-off, this team has shown an ability to be instantly off to the races, which has led to hot starts in nearly every game thus far.

That includes an 18-7 run against North Texas, 16-2 against New Mexico State, 17-4 against Wichita State and 24-3 against Georgia Southern.

However, the Wildcats haven’t been very good at maintaining these large opening leads. That was evident against North Texas, where they turned the ball over nine times and blew a 15-point lead with just over seven minutes remaining. But, in the end, they won the game. And as long as they keep running, their rebounding margin can sort itself out.

Potentially, that rebounding problem could go away with improved play from Aley Rohde.

Rohde, a freshman, is a 6-foot-5 presence in the post that was supposed to become a rebounding force for Arizona. Thus far, she has wavered between average and mediocre performance-wise. She’s topped out at seven rebounds in one game, and is only averaging 3.6 rebounds per game on the season. It’s possible that Rohde is still getting used to a new run-and-gun offense or it’s just taking her time to adjust to the college game in general, which is all understandable for a freshman.

If she is not able to adjust this season, it will be unfortunate but won’t be a death blow to Arizona’s season.

So far Arizona has only faced teams in mid-major conferences like the WAC, CAA and Sun Belt. This weekend they face their first true test when they travel to Hawaii to take on BYU and Syracuse.

These games might just be defining moments in Arizona’s season. Win these games, and Arizona will find itself at 7-0 with just four games to go until Pac-12 play starts.

It won’t beat Stanford, and it’ll be hard -pressed to beat USC or California, but Arizona might just have what it takes to run-and-gun its way into a surprise NCAA tournament berth.

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