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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

NIT marks improvement

With a loss to Utah State in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, the Arizona women’s basketball team closed one of its most impressive seasons in recent memory.

After beating Southern California in the Pacific 10 Conference Tournament, the Wildcats fell to the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal.

If the Wildcats could’ve upset the Cardinal, it would have meant an almost certain NCAA Tournament bid for the Wildcats, but both head coach Niya Butts and her players are still pleased with the way the season turned out.

Season highlights

The sweeps:

— The Wildcats dominated the Northwest teams throughout the season, securing sweeps against the Washington and Oregon schools.

— This season marked the first time since 2003-04 that the Wildcats were able to pick up four sweeps against Pac-10 opponents.

The home court advantage:

— The McKale Center was a formidable part of the Wildcats’ successes this year and the Arizona faithful pushed the team toward an 11-3 record at home.

The win over ASU:

— It was described as a program-defining win after the Wildcats were able to come up ahead of the Sun Devils for the first time since 2005.

— The 73-61 win gave the team the confidence to run through the rest of its conference schedule, going 6-1 in conference play after the victory.

The post-season awards:

— For the second time in as many years, Arizona star Ify Ibekwe was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year.

— The senior averaged 16.1 points and 9.8 rebounds per game throughout the season.

— Sophomore Davellyn Whyte, who was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in her first year, was named to the All Pac-10 team after averaging 15.8 points in her second go around with the Wildcats.

— Erica Barnes was also named honorable mention All Pac-10 Freshmen team.

— Senior forward Soana Lucet left it all on the floor at the Pac-10 tournament and was named to the All-Tournament Team.

— Lucet finished the regular season averaging 12.2 points per game.

Moving On

— The most difficult task that the Arizona coaching staff is saddled with for the off-season is replacing the its post presence, since Ibekwe and Lucet graduate this year.

— Erica Barnes was rock solid in her freshman debut and incoming four-star recruit Aley Rohde looks like she will fill the other spot down low.

— The 6-foot-5 Rohde comes in the Ibekwe mold, with ideal physical tools for a post player and the ability to hit a jumper.

— Arizona finished 21-12 overall, its best record since the 2003-04 season.

 

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