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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Regrouped W-hoops drop Ole Miss

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Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

In a matinee matchup with the Lady Rebels of Mississippi, the Arizona women’s basketball team held on to a second-half lead to come out victorious (65-59) yesterday at McKale Center. The win was a rebound step for the Wildcats after their disappointing performance at San Diego State University over the weekend.

“”One positive thing I will take from the game other than the win is that we did a much better job taking care of the basketball,”” said head coach Niya Butts. “”Fourteen turnovers I think is a marked improvement from 27, so I’ll take that.””

Arizona limited their turnovers and shot an improved 41.5 percent from the field in the game. The Wildcats (3-1) also registered four starters in double figures, including sophomore transfer Brooke Jackson who had 20 points in the game and was in double figures by halftime. All-American Ify Ibekwe added another double-double to her season total with 16 rebounds and 10 points.

“”I think it was good because everyone wanted to turn around and win … the next game we played, so everyone’s mentality was a little bit better,”” said freshman guard Davellyn Whyte, who finished with 11 points.

The Wildcats were able to keep pace with Ole Miss (3-1) by limiting the Lady Rebels offense in the second half. After Ole Miss took a 29-28 lead in the final seconds of the first half, Arizona took halftime to regroup.

The team came out of the break and lit up the scoreboard. In the first six minutes, Arizona went on a 11-0 run to not only make up its one point deficit but to take the 42-31 lead.

Soana Lucet finished a highlight play that was sparked by an Ibekwe rebound. After Ibekwe caught the ball, she threw it down court to an open Jackson who dished in to Lucet for the score. Arizona saw much of its offense off the quick pass to the posts and scored 18 points in the paint. 

The lead would go up to as much as 14 points before the Lady Rebels would respond. With about 11 minutes left in the half, Ole Miss hit two back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the lead down from 11 to five.

The next three minutes would prove a scoring drought on both sides as the teams exchanged missed shots and turnovers. Arizona’s lead would slowly diminish until Ole Miss cut it down to a one-point deficit.

Although the Wildcats lead for all but 30 seconds of the entire second half, the Lady Rebels made it interesting, especially in the last two minutes of the game. Jackson said the reason Arizona pulled out the win wasn’t due to their play but to the attitude of the team.

“”I think we had better poise,”” said Jackson. “”We just finally started to relax more.””

Arizona also improved in the rebounding department. They say a vast improvement over their last game, this time outrebounding their opponent 45-41. The advantage helped the Wildcats close out the game.

“”If Ify hadn’t got several big rebounds then the outcome would have been different,”” Butts said. “”But we had people making big plays, you know, getting rebounds.””

Arizona is back in action on Friday when they travel to the University of San Diego to take on the Toreros.

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Monday was fieldtrip day at McKale Center. The 3,085 attendees were mostly made up of school-age children. Both the players and the coaches felt the noise of the crowd, who at one point rocked the stands to the tune of Queen’s “”We Will Rock You””.

“”They don’t care what they’re screaming for, or who they’re screaming at,”” Butts said. “”They just screamed and I loved it.””

Because the game was during midday, many athletes and McKale Center employees stopped by to take in the game action, including UA quarterback Nick Foles and running back Nic Grigsby.

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