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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Ibekwe set to clash against older sis

    Despite pushing the game into overtime, Arizona was still unable to capture their first win against a Pacific-10 Conference foe. Thursday night’s game against USC was a hard-fought battle against the second-ranked scoring offense in the league, but Arizona will try to earn its first conference victory against UCLA on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.

    The Wildcats (7-9, 0-5 Pac-10) also have something else to look forward to in Saturday’s game. The Bruins (11-4, 2-2) lost their game against Arizona State Thursday night in Tempe, giving Arizona the chance to send UCLA back to Los Angeles with two losses in the desert and so far this season the Bruins are just 2-3 in their five road games.

    UCLA will have a familiar face on their sideline, however, as senior Chinyere Ibekwe, the older sister of Arizona sophomore forward Ify Ibekwe, suits up for the Bruins. This marks just the second meeting between the sisters ever. Although the UCLA senior owns the family bragging rights against her sister, Ify did not play in the last game due to an eye injury.

    “”We always played against each other in high school and of course last year in college,”” Ify Ibekwe said. “”It’s fun, but the team is going to go out there and fight hard and be aggressive and try to win the ball game.””

    Ify leads her sister in rebounding as she tops the Pac-10 and ranks sixth in the NCAA while Chinyere comes in third in the conference.

    All time, the Bruins lead the series against Arizona 41-19. The Wildcats have dropped the last three games against UCLA at Lute and Bobbi Olson court and five of the last six meetings overall.

    “”We can’t go hard and slow down and then go hard and slow down again,”” Ify Ibekwe said. “”We just have to finish.””

    UCLA’s strength lies in its ability to get second-chance points on offense. The Bruins are a dominant team in rebounding as they lead the Pac-10 with 45.8 rebounds a game. Another threat is their range of contributors on the offensive side. In their games this season, seven different players have led the Bruins in scoring, most notably Doreena Campbell who led the team seven times.

    Unlike Arizona, UCLA is anchored by a strong sophomore class. All of the Bruins’ starters are in their second season except for Chinyere Ibekwe. The starting five for the Wildcats – spanning all grade levels – will play a big role as they try to contain the Bruins’ offensive weapons.

    Two of Arizona’s starting five went down in Thursday’s game against USC. Courtney Clements and Reiko Thomas, both freshmen, had ankle sprains. Clements returned from her injury later in the game but Thomas sat out for the remainder of the contest.

    “”Courtney is fine,”” Butts said. “”Reiko went down with an ankle sprain. Hopefully she will rehab and be ready to play Saturday.””

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