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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Queens of the court

    Seniority is always a good thing, especially when the inside offense is dominated by them.

    Senior center Beatrice Bofia and senior forwards Sarah Hays and Amina Njonkou, along with sophomore forward Ify Ibekwe, make up the core of Arizona’s post offense. Together they provide an alternative to perimeter shooting and a dominant force in the paint.

    The seniors of the team have been named captains by head coach Niya Butts. She looks for them to have an impact both on and off the court. Leadership and experience will be a big factor in the success of the team this year, and the coaching staff hopes to find it in their three post players.

    “”We’re a young team, and we’re trying to find out who’s going to be the leader”” Butts said.

    The Wildcats look to bump the intensity level of the inside offense, led by the seniors. Although the plan for the Wildcat offense is to work with three guards out most of the time, the post players will certainly have an impact on Arizona’s offense.

    “”I think the closer you can get to the basket, the easier it is to score,”” Butts said.

    The Wildcats have already shown that getting the ball in the paint can pay off. In their scrimmage against Oklahoma Panhandle State University, the post combined for 30 points and gave Arizona a quick way to put points on the board.

    “”I think that getting the ball into the post was crucial, and they converted,”” said freshman guard Reiko Thomas.

    The coaching staff has also stressed the importance of offensive rebounds and second chance points. The seniors are visible leaders on the court, encouraging the younger players to ante up and work at a higher level.

    “”We’ve been doing all sorts of toughness drills and power drills just to get all of us strong,”” Hays said. “”Especially down low where we have to bang with the other posts on other teams.””

    The Wildcats have the size and speed to give their offense the option of relying on paint points when necessary. The quickness and size of the forwards and centers make them an easy target for junior point guard Ashley Frazier. This allows the players to get down low and initiate a fast play offense, providing a spark for the team if their perimeter shooting is off.

    “”We’ve been working really hard in the post,”” Hays said. “”Everyone’s been working really hard … especially running our offenses.””

    This emphasis in practice has showed an improvement in the chemistry of the offense and the shooting percentage. One thing Butts has emphasized is execution and consistency, and she looks to her seniors to lead the way.

    “”Execute and take our time on shots. Execute our offense,”” Njonkou said. “”The coaches talk about, ‘You’ve got to make your shots, you’ve got to make your shots,’ so when you convert those shots, you gain confidence.””

    With their advantages in the paint, the Wildcats are expecting a good shooting percentage close to the basket. Bofia, Hays and Njonkou have given visible examples of the level of play that they expect and their goals for the season.

    “”Hit most or all of our shots down low. We’ve been focusing on consistency, consistency in the post and scoring down low,”” Hays said.

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