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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    W-Hoops starts 0-3 in conference play

    Niya Butts has said that the game of basketball is a game of runs. This season has certainly been a game of runs for the Arizona women’s basketball team, as the end of 2008 gave the Wildcats a four-game winning streak.

    But 2009 has not been so kind to the Wildcats thus far. The results of Pacific 10 Conference play have left Arizona (7-7, 0-3 Pac-10) with a three-game loosing streak. ?The theme of the Wildcats’ winter break play was late second-half comebacks. Although Butts encouraged her team to be resilient throughout the game, she also commented on the noticeable lack of offensive production.

    “”We were missing open shots and even open layups, nullifying all our work and aggressiveness on the defensive end,”” she said.

    Late runs in all of the Wildcats’ opening Pac-10 games proved to fall short, leaving Arizona with an 0-3 record. Slow second-half starts, along with a low shooting percentage, have been the handicap for the Wildcats in conference play.

    No. 13 California Jan. 2, 56-46 loss

    Against No. 13 California on Jan. 2, the Wildcats were just 16-for-57, and had a combined shooting percentage of only 28.1 percent. In their first game of conference play, Arizona’s effort proved just short, as it was unable to continue a hot streak it found in the last five minutes of the second half. Reiko Thomas sparked the late run by hitting 5 straight points. The final score was 56-46.

    The Wildcats were unable to convert on many of their shots, even though opportunities were readily available.

    “”On offense we had our opportunities; we just didn’t do anything with them,”” said forward Ify Ibekwe. “”We make our shots in practice and we just need to learn to carry it into the game.””

    No. 11 Stanford Jan. 4, 70-61 loss

    The women’s basketball team faced then-No. 11 Stanford on Jan. 4 and was once again unable to achieve a second-half comeback. Stanford built a 33-26 first-half lead and continued to build throughout the second half. In the last minutes of the game, Thomas again sparked a 16-0 run, preventing a blowout loss.

    “”I think most of us know now that this is the Pac-10,”” said senior forward Amina Njonkou. “”All the teams we play from here on out are going to be as tough and physical as Stanford.””

    Oregon Jan. 8, 68-55 loss

    After two home losses, Arizona kicked off its road trip against Oregon on Jan. 8.

    Although the score at halftime only had Oregon up by one point, the Wildcats were unable to make the comeback dream a reality. The Ducks’ scoring surge in the second half gave them a six-point lead with less than three minutes remaining in the game.

    With the help of Njonkou and Ibekwe, Arizona cut the lead to just one point, but Arizona’s defense let up in the final minutes and allowed Oregon to rebuild the 13-point edge as the game ended, 68-55.

    Bright spots for Arizona included Ibekwe’s play, as she registered a double-double against Stanford and Oregon, and the play of Thomas, who sparked the late runs in the games against Cal and Stanford.

    The women’s basketball team will continue to seek its first Pac-10 win on Saturday at Oregon State.

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