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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    W-hoops set for 1st home game

    Arizona center Beatrice Bofia, left, lunges toward the hoop in a 85-33 exhibition win over Oklahoma Panhandle in McKale Center on Nov. 4. Arizona plays its first home game of the season Sunday at 3 p.m. against UC-Santa Barbara.
    Arizona center Beatrice Bofia, left, lunges toward the hoop in a 85-33 exhibition win over Oklahoma Panhandle in McKale Center on Nov. 4. Arizona plays its first home game of the season Sunday at 3 p.m. against UC-Santa Barbara.

    The Arizona women’s basketball team opens the home portion of the 2008-09 schedule Sunday against UC-Santa Barbara in McKale Center at 3 p.m.

    The Wildcats (2-1) return from their Hawaiian tournament ready to take on the Gauchos with confidence than most teams this early stage in the season.

    “”This trip has taught us a lot,”” said UA head coach Niya Butts. “”It has given us a lot of experience.””

    That experience comes in the form of playing time. The Wildcats went into triple-overtime in Hawaii against Loyola Marymount University. UCSB (1-1) on the other hand, has only played two games prior to its tip-off with Arizona.

    Although UCSB beat Arizona the last time the schools played in 2005, Arizona holds a slight lead in the all-time series at 7-6.

    Both schools, however, share a common bond: first-year head coaches. Both replaced coaches who had previously been at their respective schools for more than 15 years. Niya Butts became head coach at Arizona after being an assistant at Kentucky.

    Lindsay Gottlieb was previously an assistant head coach at California before moving down the coast to take over the position of head coach at Santa Barbara. Coming into this game, Arizona continues to shuffle the lineup, looking to exploit defenses and use players off its bench. Performances from seniors Beatrice Bofia and Sarah Hays and sophomore Faihza Hill in Hawaii allowed the Wildcats to mix up the offense and be productive on the boards.

    “”I tell you what, when Bofia stays in control, offensively she is very skilled,”” Butts said. “”When she settles down she can do some things.””

    Arizona will give its best effort to be especially staunch on defense. Four Gauchos scored in double figures in their game in San Diego. Senior guard Lauren Pedersen had 27 points in that game.

    Amina Njonkou and Ify Ibekwe are expected to be productive in the backcourt as Arizona runs its offense through the hands of Ashley Frazier. Although Ibekwe got into some foul trouble in Hawaii, Butts said she doesn’t want her to lose her edge.

    “”We just talked to her about being poised on defense,”” Butts said. “”We don’t want her to lose her aggressiveness.””

    The Wildcats are anxious to continue playing the season, adapting to Butts’ coaching style, and making their presence felt .

    “”Teams we are playing are all Division I schools,”” said UA freshman guard Reiko Thomas. “”I look forward to playing against top-notch teams.””

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