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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Charise Holloway is making an immediate impact for Arizona women’s basketball

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Rebecca Noble

Arizona women’s basketball guard Charise Holloway (44) tries to block Oregon State guard Gabriella Hanson’s (11) shot during Arizona’s 73-55 loss to Oregon State in McKale Center on Friday. Holloway, a freshman, has taken up a leadership role on the Wildcats team this season.

With the clock clicking down and the ball in her hands, Charise Holloway had no time to think about the moment. Instead, the freshman did exactly what she came to Arizona to do: Shoot the ball.

The shot, a 3-pointer from the corner baseline, swished through the nets as the time crept down into the single digits. Moments later, Arizona women’s hoops held onto their first Pac-12 Conference win of the season, a 3-point victory over Oregon in overtime.

The game winner belonged to Holloway.

“If [Holloway] is confident about it, she’ll shoot that 3-point ball,” UA head coach Niya Butts said after the game. “She has guts and that is certainly something we need, and that is why she was in the game there at the end, because I know she has the ability to make big plays.”

Holloway’s teammates sounded in unison with Butts.

“She is a gamer, and I wasn’t surprised at all,” point guard Candice Warthen said. “She’s a shooter, and shooters don’t stop shooting.”

Less than 20 games into her collegiate career, Holloway already plays with the type of poise usually reserved for a junior or senior. She’s third on the team in scoring and is — statistically speaking — the Wildcats’ best shooter.

But as confident as Holloway is on the court, off the court, she’s just as adamant in giving credit nearly to everyone but herself.

“Coach Butts is going to do whatever it takes to win,” Holloway said. “So, I don’t look at my playing time or any of that. I’m not surprised by anything that’s going on.”

A Bay Area native, the 5-foot-9 shooting guard was offered positions by a number of big time universities straight out of high school, including Pac-12 rival UCLA.

However, it was the family atmosphere of coach Butts’ program that drove Holloway out of state to Tucson. The dividends of the decision have already begun to pay off.

“Managing my time, going to school, even trying to get some food and then basketball — it’s a challenge,” Holloway said. “I’m really close to teammates like Candice, so they’re always there if I need someone to reach out to for help.”

In a season that has gone tougher than expected for everyone in the program, it’s been even more crucial for the team to stay together.

A stretch of losses can tear at a group’s DNA. Seven losses in a row, which the Wildcats went through before Holloway hit her clinching 3-pointer, can break a group altogether.

“There [are] times we may fall apart on the court,” Holloway said, “but at the end of the day, we come together and we’re still sisters. The whole team is very close. We go out to eat almost every day; we go bowling and to the movies. All that hanging out hopefully brings us together when we play.”

As Arizona enters into the dog days of the conference season, the chemistry Holloway and her teammates have made will determine if the Wildcats can bounce back into the thick of the Pac-12.

And if a game is once again on the line, they know who to turn to.

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Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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