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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s basketball split final homestand

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Tanner Clinch

Arizona guard Candice Warthen (1) hugs coach Niya Butts as she walks off the court finishing her last regular season game of her senior year and Arizona’s 64-41 win against Utah in McKale Center on Sunday. The Wildcats will face UCLA in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball tournament on Thursday.

Candice Warthen’s last game in McKale Center was preluded with flowers and a framed jersey in commemoration of Senior Day. Warthen gifted the Wildcats her own personalized goodbye package in the form of 23 points to lead Arizona to a 64-41 victory over Utah on Sunday.

“I’m proud of Candice and the way she’s responded,” Arizona coach Niya Butts said. “She’s had a rough patch shooting the ball, but today she was right on.”

Warthen connected on 10-13 attempts in what was one of the Wildcats’ best all-around shooting performances of the season.

The UA shot 52 percent from the field, including a perfect 7-7 outing from freshman JaLea Bennett.

“They did a really good job of using screens, getting deep into the paint and they finished well,” Butts said. “Anytime you’re finishing, that’s going to give you a little bit more momentum.”

Arizona jumped out to a quick 16-7 start before a scoring drought allowed the Utes to climb back. The Wildcats regained their touch to close out the first half with a 35-29 lead.

It was the UA’s defense that broke the game open in the second half. Arizona held Utah to 12 points the entire half on 13-percent shooting.

“We really wanted this win today,” Warthen said. “We knew that we had to get stops and that they were a team we could defend very well, so it was a conscious effort.”

Arizona split the final home stand after falling to Colorado 66-51 on Friday night.

The Wildcats ended the season 10-19 and 3-15 in Pac-12 Conference play.

Sophomore Breanna Workman led Arizona with 10 points and seven rebounds against Colorado, while Keyahndra Cannon added 10 more points off the bench. However, the UA was held to 33-percent shooting as a team, and the limited offensive display eventually allowed Colorado to take control.

After falling behind in the early minutes, Arizona went on an 8-0 run to claim an 11-9 advantage with 13:27 to go in the first half.

Colorado’s shooters quickly heated up, giving the lead back to the Buffaloes right up until intermission, when the Wildcats tied the score heading into the locker room.

The back-and-forth play continued in the early minutes of the second half, and the score was knotted up at 39 with 13:35 remaining.

Over the next six minutes of action, Colorado’s defense stifled Arizona’s opportunities as the Buffaloes embarked on a 10-2 run to break the game open.

The deficit had grown to 14 points with three minutes to go, a margin far too great for the Wildcats to overcome.

While Arizona’s bench outscored Colorado’s 22-5, the Buffaloes shot 47 percent from the field. Colorado’s Jen Reese led the team with 20 points and added four assists.

Arizona now has a few days to prepare for the Pac-12 Conference Tournament in Seattle, Wash., where they will be matched up against UCLA in the first round.

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Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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