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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wazzu drops W-Hoops

    Fresh off Arizona’s elation at its first Pacific-10 Conference victory of the Niya Butts era, the Arizona women’s basketball team dropped the road-trip’s finale to the Cougars of Washington State, 68-58.

    The high of Thursday’s victory over Washington instilled a new confidence in the Wildcats (8-12, 1-8 Pac-10) that resulted in a dominant first half for them against Wazzu. Thanks to 14-of-27 shooting – their highest shooting percentage of any half this season – the Wildcats and their new-look lineup jumped out to a 34-25 lead at the break.

    Head coach Niya Butts, in response to the poor performance of her bench, shifted the lineup, using a three-forward look for only the third time this season. The move, which landed senior forward Sarah Hays in the starting lineup, allows Butts to bring freshman guard Reiko Thomas, perhaps the team’s most dynamic scorer, to provide a spark off of the bench.

    The move worked wonders against Washington on Thursday, and for the first half of Saturday’s bout against Washington State, it did the same.

    Once the second half rolled around, however, the element of surprise had vanished.

    The Cougars, despite shooting just 30.4 percent from 3-point range on the season, are third in the Pac-10 in shots attempted from behind the arc. The low percentage carried into the first half of Saturday’s game, with them shooting just 3-of-12, but the second half was a different story.

    Washington State’s shooters were red-hot down the stretch and converted an astonishing 8-of-11 three-pointers. The long-range shots enabled the Cougars to outscore the Wildcats 43-24 in the second half and, ultimately, secure the victory.

    “”It’s thrilling to have this kind of a comeback in a game,”” WSU head coach June Daugherty said. “”To get it done in the Pac-10 is very, very exciting.””

    Arizona heads home after splitting the two-game road trip and will face Oregon State in the McKale Center on Thursday.

    By the numbers

    Sophomore Ify Ibekwe continued her monster season, recording another double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. …

    Freshman Courtney Clements drained a team-high three 3-pointers and was second on the team with 15 points. …

    Senior forward Amina Njonkou, the leading scorer in Thursday’s win over Washington, was held to just two points. …

    Junior point guard Ashley Frazier, who had a game-high eight assists, played all 40 minutes of the contest, adding to her league-leading total.

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