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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA defeats North Texas despite near collapse

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats Womens Basketball victory against North Texas on Monday, November 28, 2011 at McKale Center in Tucson Arizona

The Arizona women’s basketball team defeated North Texas on Monday by a score of 69-62, but if the Wildcats hadn’t struggled in the last 10 minutes, the game would not have been so close.

Arizona started the game off with a 20-9 run, and at one point in the second half they went on a 18-2 run. They led by as many as 22 points and had all the ingredients for a blowout. Instead they veered closer to a near-disastrous collapse.

“At the end of the game we got a little relaxed,” said Arizona guard Davellyn Whyte, who led the Wildcats with 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting. “We got the lead so we got too comfortable and they just kinda took advantage of it.”

With 9:14 remaining, Arizona had a 60-40 lead. Starting with a 3-pointer by North Texas’ Tamara Torru, who led all scorers with 26 points, the Mean Green went on a 19-4 run to bring the game to 64-59 with a little more than three minutes remaining in the game.

“We really lost focus,” said head coach Niya Butts. “They certainly got after us a little bit so credit to them. We couldn’t make plays down the stretch and gave up too many offensive rebounds.”

Arizona was able to pick up its defensive intensity at the end, holding North Texas to just three points the rest of the way, but the Mean Green run nearly erased the Wildcat’s top-notch performance from the 30 minutes prior.

With 7:18 remaining, Arizona held a 60-45 lead. The Wildcats only turned the ball over nine times at that point, forcing North Texas into 20 turnovers. Arizona had 10 steals to North Texas’ two.

In those last seven minutes of the game, Arizona committed nine turnovers and only had one more steal. North Texas only turned the ball over three times and stole the ball eight more times in that seven-minute span.

“You look up at the scoreboard and at one point, I think we were up 22, and the wheels fell off,” said Butts, who received a technical foul with 2:46 remaining for stepping too far onto the court. “Even being up 22, as crazy as it may sound, we were still playing awful.”

Throughout the season, Butts has been vocal about the team’s rebounding struggles, and the Wildcats did nothing to alleviate those concerns on Monday, as they were outrebounded 44-40. Forward Erica Barnes was the only Wildcat to grab more than five rebounds, finishing the day with eight.

Rebounding and defense have proven to be the team’s biggest weaknesses thus far, at least in Butts’ eyes.

“Obviously we’ve been struggling with these things all year long, and the things we struggle with this team does well,” Butts said. “I don’t know why they took them (North Texas) for granted, but sometimes kids do the darndest things don’t they?”

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