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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    3 questions for women’s basketball

    1. With Ify Ibekwe gone, who will replace her production?

    Ify Ibekwe led the Wildcats in scoring two of the past three years, including 16.1 points per game last year, but it is not even her scoring that the team will have the toughest time replacing. She also led the team in rebounding and blocks three years in a row.

    Head coach Niya Butts will call on freshman center Aley Rohde and sophomore forward Erica Barnes to fill that void in the post.
    In terms of scoring production, sophomore guard Candice Warthen has demonstrated with her outside shooting abilities in exhibition games that she might just be capable of acting as Davellyn Whyte’s sidekick.

    It will take a team effort to replace the former star, but it can be done.

    2. Can Davellyn Whyte make the leap from good to great?

    Easily Arizona’s best and most important player, the biggest question for Whyte in her junior year is if she can make a jump in her already-stout production now that Ibekwe has left.

    She led the team in scoring her freshman year and averaged close to 16 points per game last year. But if Arizona is going to overcome the loss of Ibekwe and the youth of the team’s six newcomers, it will need Whyte to perform beyond her spectacular play from the last two years. She will probably draw frequent double teams, but if the Wildcats want to make the NCAA tournament, Whyte might need to bump that scoring average up closer to 20.

    3. Does this team have what it takes to make the NCAA tournament?

    Arizona is certainly talented. Shanita Arnold is one of the better point guards in the Pac-12, Candice Warthen is a top-notch 3-point shooter and Whyte has the potential to lead the Pac-12 in scoring.

    In the post, 6-foot-5 center Aley Rohde and forward Erica Barnes have the ability to make an impact down low.

    But, overall this team has too many question marks, and the loss of Ibekwe, along with the six new players — three freshmen, three transfers — does not help the cause. If everything comes together in time and Arizona develops some chemistry, it has the potential to compete for a NCAA tournament bid. Even with Ibekwe, however, the Wildcats fell short of the tournament last season, and the Pac-12 won’t be much easier this time around.

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