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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-Hoops looks to snap Pac-12 funk against Washington

The Arizona women’s basketball team has reached the midseason doldrums.

After starting the year with an 11-1 record — its best start in 10 years — the Wildcats have dropped five out of the last seven games and now sit at 13-6 (2-5 Pac-12). Arizona will start a Washington road trip tomorrow when it takes on the Washington Huskies.

Head coach Niya Butts recognizes the team’s recent struggles but said she believes in the Wildcats’ ability to finish out the season strong.

“We (the coaching staff) have to … continue to be in their ear and let them know we have confidence in them,” Butts said. “We’re going to get out of this spot, now we just have to do it on the road.”

The silver lining in the Wildcats’ recent struggles might be how close the games have been. During Arizona’s two-game losing streak, the Wildcats lost by five points in overtime to Utah, and by two points to Colorado.

“We have a lot of basketball left,” Butts said. “These are not blowout losses, we’re losing ball games with just these little things that we need to correct and we need to fix.”

One of the biggest issues in recent games, often cited by Butts and players, has been a lack of energy from the beginning to the end of the game. Sophomore guard Candice Warthen said she understands the issue and appreciates that the team needs to fix it going forward.

“We have to have a lot of energy, especially going on the road because it’s always hard playing on the road,” Warthen said. “We just got to come together as a team and figure this out.”

Arizona sits at tenth place in the Pac-12, but that number is deceiving. With a 2-5 conference record, the Wildcats are only two games behind Arizona State in fourth place, and three behind USC in third. Butts expects Washington to look at the standings and see that the Wildcats are struggling, and it is Arizona’s duty to debunk that theory.

“They probably see a team that’s struggling right now to finish games and to get wins and looking at this as an opportunity,” Butts said. “It’s our jobs to ensure that doesn’t happen and they aren’t able to capitalize on what happened this past weekend.”

The Huskies haven’t been playing their best basketball of late either, as they have dropped five of their last seven games after starting 8-2.

If the Wildcats are going to win the game, they will need to stop senior Regina Rogers from taking over the game. Rogers is tied for fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring at 15.3 points per game and first in field goal percentage at 62 percent.

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