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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona continues to improve, hosts 3-point shooting Pacific

Arizona+guard+Taryn+Griffey+%283%29+calls+out+a+play+as+she+runs+down+the+court+in+McKale+Center+on+Tuesday%2C+Nov.+10%2C+2015.+Griffey+has+returned+to+the+team+after+taking+a+brief+leave+of+absence.+
Jesus Barrera

Arizona guard Taryn Griffey (3) calls out a play as she runs down the court in McKale Center on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. Griffey has returned to the team after taking a brief leave of absence.

Arizona women’s basketball is set to take on Pacific, coming off a comeback victory against New Mexico State.

The Wildcats trailed the Aggies by as many as 16 points and were down 13-0 to start, but Arizona clawed its way back to pick up its fifth win of the season.

“Sometimes you need to win the tough ones, and tonight we certainly did that,” head coach Niya Butts said. “I want to give credit to New Mexico State because [it] came in here and executed [its] game plan. But in the end, we just made more plays than they did.”

Despite Arizona’s high winning percentage, the team isn’t content with how it’s playing right now.

“I know we’re not where we want to be right now,” Arizona guard Taryn Griffey said. “But I feel like we’re getting there and I’m just really proud of the work we put in, and I’m proud of how we look out there.”

Griffey, who finished with 14 points and helped spark a 15-1 first-half run in the win, believes the team is noticeably better than last year’s team that finished with a 10-20 record.

“We look a lot better than last season,” Griffey said. “So I just feel like we’re gelling a lot better and I feel that we’re sharing the ball better, too.”

With Pacific now coming to McKale Center on Saturday, the Wildcats will have to make sure they end the week on a positive note.

The Tigers (4-3) are 4-2 on the road this season and have some dangerous 3-point shooters.

Hailie Eackles leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.2 points per game for the Tigers on 36.8 percent for 3s. Erin Butler is hitting 35.1 percent of her 3-point attempts and averages 10 points per game.

As a team, the Tigers are hitting 32.6 percent of their 3-point attempts.

Defending the three has been one of Arizona’s strengths this year, however. The Wildcats’ opponents have shot just 27.4 percent from 3-point land this season.

Arizona will have to maintain its perimeter defense, otherwise Pacific’s shooters could burn them all game.

The Wildcats’ struggles at the free-throw line may also put them at a disadvantage if it’s a close game.

The Wildcats are shooting 54.5 percent from the line this season and while Malena Washington knocked down both of her free throws to ice the game against New Mexico State, it’s a major problem for the Wildcats.

“The last three games, we’ve done a really good job of getting to the line,” Butts said. “Our goal every game is to try to get there 20 [or more] times. So if we can get there 20 or more, we feel pretty good about our chances.”

Every missed free throw is a missed opportunity to put points on the board, and it’s an area where Arizona has to vastly improve if it wants to continue its strong start.

We’ll see if it affects them against Pacific tomorrow at 1 p.m.


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.


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