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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Tale of two halves for Wildcats

Freshman guard Davellyn Whyte goes up for a shot during Arizona?s 83-62 Saturday loss to No. 2 Stanford. Whyte was the sole bright spot for the Wildcats, finishing the game with a team-high 24 points.
Freshman guard Davellyn Whyte goes up for a shot during Arizona?s 83-62 Saturday loss to No. 2 Stanford. Whyte was the sole bright spot for the Wildcats, finishing the game with a team-high 24 points.

There is a reason to play two halves in a college basketball game, and the Arizona women’s 83-62 loss at No. 2 Stanford Saturday demonstrated exactly why.

Despite playing tough against the Cardinal over the first 20 minutes and entering halftime with a two-point lead, the Wildcats (9-10, 3-6 Pacific 10 Conference) could not overcome rebounding woes as they suffered their third straight loss.

“”The story in the first half was that we made shots,”” said Arizona head coach Niya Butts. “”We made shots and we didn’t do a great job on the boards, but we kind of balanced that out by shooting 57 percent.

“”In the second half, (it was) the same kryptonite that’s been plaguing us all year long, which is our lack of rebounding,”” Butts added. “”And we didn’t score points in the second half, so there wasn’t anything to balance it out.””

Freshman Davellyn Whyte led the way for the Wildcats in the first half as the team tried to exhaust Stanford (19-1, 9-0) with an up-tempo offense. Arizona connected on 16-for-28 (.571) shots from the field, including a 61.5 percentage from beyond the arc. 

Whyte, who finished the game with a team-high 24 points, hit a jumper with 0:30 left to play in the first half and sent Arizona to the locker room with a 42-40 lead.

Although the game was close on the scoreboard, the larger Cardinal team had beaten up on the Wildcats in the paint from the get-go.

Stanford responded immediately to open the second half by continuing to crash the boards to slow the upset-minded Wildcats. The Cardinal rattled off a 26-6 run to establish a 66-48 lead en route to their 40th straight home victory.

“”I don’t think we had any flow in the second half offensively, I think in part because we were getting whipped on the boards so much on the defensive end that it was a little deflating to us,”” Butts said.

The overwhelming rebounding margin posted by Stanford, combined with 33 percent shooting in the second half, ultimately spelled defeat for Arizona.

“”We gave up 26 offensive rebounds to (Stanford) and we only had 22 total for the game. It’s going to be very difficult to win a basketball game that way,”” said Butts.

The Cardinal shot just 35 percent from the field in the game, but rode the performances of junior Kayla Pedersen and sophomore Nnemkadi Ogwumike, who each tallied 27 points to lead all scoring.

Arizona showcased aggressive defense to hold Stanford to a low shooting percentage, but all roads led back to rebounding, as indicated by Butts after the game.

“”The strategy was to just have contested shots no matter where they came,”” Butts said. “”I think every time that we really went out there and contested hard, they missed the shot. Our problem was we didn’t get the rebound. We can not continue to do that.””

The loss to Stanford wrapped up the first half of the Pac-10 schedule for the Wildcats, and Saturday’s game illuminated two of the main problems for Arizona this season: rebounding and the ability to play a complete, 40-minute game.

Arizona will practice this week before they welcome the Washington schools to McKale Center for a brief, two-game home series beginning on Thursday.

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