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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


W-hoops stifle Wolfpack

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
UofA vs Nevada womens basketball
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UofA vs Nevada womens basketball

Arizona women’s basketball (5-1) rode stingy defense and a balanced offensive attack to an 84-57 victory over the Nevada Wolfpack (5-3) on Friday night in McKale Center.

All nine Wildcat players saw extended minutes in Friday’s win. Juniors Jennifer Kioa and Amanda Pierson turned in strong performances off the bench by netting 12 and 10 points, respectively.

“”It’s huge … we can look to our bench and put Amanda (Pierson) in or Jen (Kioa) in and get quality minutes,”” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said of the importance of the team’s depth.

“”We need each and every one of (the players) to understand their roles, and understand what’s important for them to do, and I think tonight, they did that perfectly.””

The Wildcats got off to a fast start, showcasing their quick-strike offense by opening the game on a 10-0 run. 

With 15:01 remaining in the half, Nevada guard Johnna Ward hit a 3-pointer to end the Arizona scoring run.

Coming into the game, the Wildcats knew they had to contain Ward, Nevada’s leading scorer, in order to prevent the Wolfpack offense from establishing a rhythm.

“”We knew that (Ward) was their shooter, so we just needed to know where she was at all times,”” freshman Davellyn Whyte said. “”Their offense ran through her. So if she didn’t get the ball they didn’t really know what to do.”” 

Arizona’s aggressive man-to-man defense was successful all game, holding Ward below her season scoring average and effectively shutting down the rest of the Wolfpack offense, which shot just 29.4 percent from the field.

The Wildcats opened the second half holding onto an eight-point lead looking to improve on mistakes that Butts saw in the first 20 minutes.

“”I wasn’t very happy with the first half … so we made some adjustments in the second half, got after them a little bit, challenged them to come out and be a better team in the second half, and I think they responded,”” said Butts.

The offense appeared more aggressive in the second half, dishing the ball inside the perimeter and helping its own cause by shooting 90.9 percent from the free throw line in the second half.

Arizona built a comfortable 51-35 lead with 12:13 to play before rattling off a 21-3 run to put the game out of reach with 6:41 left in the game.

“”We’re just a team that’s going to run. We’re going to get up the floor and push the ball,”” junior forward Ify Ibekwe said. “”I think that’s good for us because we’re setting the tone for our team and the name for us.””

Nevada was stifled all game on the offensive side of the ball, and the defensive stops opened the door for the Wildcats on the other end — they recorded 10 points on fast breaks.

Although Arizona never lost its lead in the 27-point win, both Butts and Wildcat players talked about the need for the team to maintain consistency in both halves of the game.

“”We’re putting our foot on the gas initially, and then we’re letting up,”” Butts said. “”We have to learn how to keep that foot pressed down and move forward.””

Despite battling their “”tale of two teams”” in certain games, the Wildcats are off to a strong 5-1 start and will look to remain unbeaten at home when they play New Mexico on Dec. 9.

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