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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-hoops opens in NY tourney

After heading to paradise last year to open the season in Hawaii, Arizona women’s basketball will travel across the continental United States to participate in the Iona College Tip-Off Tournament in New Rochelle, N.Y.

The Wildcats will face off against the Iona College Gaels at 5:30 p.m. Tucson time on Friday and either Bucknell University or University of Miami, Ohio, on Sunday at 11 a.m.

For head coach Niya Butts and the rest of the coaching staff, the tournament not only will give Arizona the chance to see a different part of the country, but also to participate in a competitive tournament to jumpstart the season.

“”As a staff, what we wanted to try to do was get games that are going to test us in different areas,”” Butts said. “”I think it will be a tough tournament. Everyone is trying to get their first win of the season and so it’s going to be scrappy, it’s going to be physical and I think we’re all expecting that, so we’re going to have to get after that.””

The Wildcats pre-conference season schedule was specifically designed by the coaching staff to help prepare the team for the challenges they will face against the Pacific 10 Conference this season. With Butts’ new style of offense, playing against teams from other conferences will give the Wildcats the chance to see how they match up early on in the season.

“”Taking our group to New York, we get two quality games there,”” said Butts. “”We get back-to-back games, that’s going to test where we are from a mental stand point, how well can we bounce back.””

From a recruitment standpoint, participating in tip-off tournaments gives Butts a chance to promote the program on a national level. As she builds her program in her second season, Butts hopes that playing outside Arizona will help put the Wildcats on a national stage.

“”When we recruit kids into our program we want to make sure they get an experience before they leave,”” Butts said. “”It’s about something more than just bouncing the ball on the court.””

The coaches aren’t the only Wildcats excited about starting the season outside Arizona. Senior point guard Ashley Frazier talked about fulfilling a lifelong goal.

“”New York is going to be fun. I’ve been wanting to play a New York team all my life,”” said Frazier. “”The New York (tournament), we’re looking forward to that one.””

For many players on Arizona’s roster, the chance to go to New York is something they’ve anticipated since summer workouts began. The tournament will provide Arizona with its first road games of the season after defeating both Fort Lewis College and Grand Canyon University in their exhibition games at home.

“”East Coast teams — it’s just a different type of play out there,”” said sophomore guard Reiko Thomas. “”Everyone is bigger, faster, stronger and no knock to the Pac-10, but its just going to be different and its going to be a challenge for us. Especially since those are the first couple of road games so we’ll see how everything comes together from practice.””

And 1

Head coach Niya Butts and the Wildcats inked three players for the 2010-2011 with national letters of intent.

“”I am very excited about the three young ladies that we are adding to an already good core group of girls,”” Butts said in a media release. “”Not only is each one of these ladies extremely talented and athletic, they are also great kids and possess the kind of personalities we are looking for in our program. We are looking forward to adding them to the Arizona family and we can’t wait for them to get here.””

Candice Warthen, of Warrenton, Ga., and Kiante Ageous from San Antonio, Texas, are both guards that will help improve Arizona’s offense after the departure of current senior point guard Ashley Frazier. Warthen averages 25.6 points, 5.7 steals, four assists and 8.1 rebounds a game for the Warren Country High School Screaming Devils. 

Ageous averages a double-double per game with 221.2 points and 11.2 rebounds and is rated among the top 100 guards by Hoopgurlz.com and is an ESPN/RISE third team all-area pick for Houston High School.

Erica Barnes, a 6’2″” forward from Sacramento, Calif., is rated the No. 23 forward by the Girls Basketball Report and No. 34 by Hoopgurlz.com. She also averages a double-double with 10.3 rebounds and 14.9 points per game.

“”Erica runs the floor well and will fit in well with our transition offense as well as adding depth to our frontcourt. Candice is going to bring an outstanding ability to score as well as athleticism and quickness to our perimeter,”” Butts said. “”Kiante is going to be a player who adds toughness to our group. She doesn’t care where she plays on the floor — she just wants to contribute in any way she can.””

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