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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA falls to rival ASU in regular final

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Amy Webb
Amt Webb/ Arizona Daily Wildcat University Arizona vs. California

The Arizona women’s basketball team wanted to end its season on a high note when it hosted rival Arizona State, but instead fell to the Sun Devils 63-70, bringing its final record to 14-16, 3-15 in the Pac-12.

The loss, the Wildcats’ 12th in the last 13 games, played out a lot like the rest of conference play did for Arizona in that the Wildcats followed up a solid first half performance with a mediocre second half. Arizona was able to respond to a 7-0 ASU run to start the game with an 11-point run of their own, and even took a 10-point lead into halftime, thanks in part to shooting 52.2 percent from the field, and holding ASU to only eight out of their 31 shot attempts.

When the second half began, Arizona did not come out of the gates with the same energy. Head coach Niya Butts attributes the team’s struggles with energy to the team’s youth.

“I know it comes and goes, and it largely has something to do with us being young,” Butts said. “We’re inexperienced and we just haven’t figured out how to play for 40 minutes yet. Hopefully, we’ll get better at that as time goes on.”

The Wildcats were also undone by the number of turnovers the team had. In the game, Arizona totaled 18 turnovers to just nine assists, and 13 of those came from the Wildcats’ best ball handlers, guards Shanita Arnold, Davellyn Whyte, Reiko Thomas and Candice Warthen.

“Turnovers were huge, especially in the first half,” Butts said. “Anytime you’re doing that, you’re not doing a good job at taking care of the ball because you’re basically giving opportunities away. We were able to cut down the turnovers, they were just at awful times.”

Due to the lack of energy Arizona displayed after the half, the Sun Devils were slowly able to creep back into the game until there were seven minutes remaining, and ASU officially came back. Before that point, there had only been three lead changes. In a span of less than four minutes after that, the stat jumped up to 10 lead changes thanks to turnovers by Arizona and the revival of ASU’s 3-point shooting, which stood at 14.3 percent at the half, but 71.4 percent at the final media timeout, with just under four minutes to play.

“I don’t look at the score that much, as bad as it sounds, but the score went back and forth,” Arizona’s leading scorer Whyte said. “We weren’t really worried about it. It wasn’t 20 points back and forth, just maybe two possessions at the most and then they went on that run at the end. You can’t look at the score and you can’t get down.”

Arizona will open the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday against UCLA. The Bruins are one of only three teams the Wildcats have defeated in conference play this season.

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