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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Women’s basketball opens with 76-55 win against Concordia University

Rebecca Marie Sasnett

Women’s basketball will kick off its regular season next week against CSU Bakersfield on Monday.

The Arizona women’s basketball team defeated Concordia University Irvine 76-55 in an exhibition Tuesday behind 38 points from the bench.

A revamped roster featuring seven newcomers allowed Arizona to make up for a poor shooting night from redshirt senior point guard Candice Warthen. The Wildcats’ other senior, Alli Gloyd, sat out much of the game due to foul trouble.

“When one player goes down and it’s a key player, your other teammates have to step up,” Warthen said. “That was important for us today.”

Sophomore LaBrittney Jones was the leading scorer with 14 points, while freshman Charise Holloway provided 13 points off the bench in part to three makes from outside. Sophomore Breanna Workman and redshirt freshman Dejza James also finished in double digits.

“Our bench was productive,” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said. “We had some people step off the bench and do some good things. There were some positives to this game, but probably the most important is just getting game action in McKale.”

James, playing her first game since an ACL injury last season, immediately provided a spark off the bench, with a bucket on one end and a forced turnover on the other. The forward finished with eight rebounds and a team-high three blocks.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this one game,” James said. “My first thought was to just play hard and whatever happens, happens. Today, I kind of put everything together and my hard work paid off.”

Arizona started the game with an 11-0 run and never looked back, expanding the lead to as much as 17 points in the first half. The Wildcats shot 38.8 percent from the field and out-rebounded Concordia 53-32.

However, Butts was far less concerned with the final outcome than her team’s play, which was sloppy at times. Arizona committed 18 turnovers to 11 assists, including four each from Warthen and Jones.

“Unfortunately, as coaches, we want everything to go perfect,” Butts said. “Today, I thought we were miles away from that. We don’t want that to be the case. We want to step on the floor every night and give energy, and I don’t think we did that for long periods of this game.”

Arizona struggled to pull away from Concordia for much of the game, missing rebounds and making poor decisions on offense. While the second-half lead never shrank below double digits, the Wildcats didn’t put the game out of reach until about eight minutes to go.

“Our lack of ball pressure was aggravating,” Butts said. “We weren’t very aggressive. Our position defense wasn’t very good, our help-side defense was lacking. In [some] cases, we let them off the hook. A lot of times, we had opportunities to come with loose balls defensively that we just did not come with it.”

On offense, Arizona attacked the paint consistently and earned 21 points from the charity stripe. The Wildcats also capitalized off of 21 second-chance points, compared to just seven by Concordia.


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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