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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Women’s hoops media day: nine new players, must finish strong

Tyler Besh
Tyler Besh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women’s basketball team participated in its inaugural Media Day on Monday, with head coach Niya Butts addressing comments and concerns while previewing the upcoming season. Here’s a look at what was discussed at Monday’s press conference.

Nine new Wildcats

The Wildcats lost five players from last season’s roster — three from transfers and two to graduation — forcing Butts to find players who could transfer to Arizona and fill the rotation immediately as well as some of the holes, especially in the frontcourt.

Aley Rohde, the 6-foot-5 starting center, one of Butts’ prominent recruits last season, left for UNLC.

Butts, however, still isn’t concerned with the big roster turnover.

“We have a lot of talent on the team right now,” Butts said. “Alli Gloyd has really stood out to me. Not only is she a good talent and a great athlete but she’s a great person. Very coachable.”

Gloyd is a junior transfer from Mesa Community College, where a decorated career led her to be named Arizona Junior College Player of the Year. Last season Gloyd averaged 15 points and 8.8 rebounds a game for the Thunderbirds and she will look to fill Rohde’s role.

Along with Gloyd, junior point guard transfer Carissa Crutchfield has impressed Butts after transferring from Oklahoma State, and is likely to start as point guard.

Finishing strong

The Wildcats started last season 11-1, including a notable wins against Syracuse in the Hukilau Invitational. However, once the Pac-12 slate began the Wildcats finished the season with a less than impressive record of 3-15.

Butts wants to see consistency from her players, especially health-wise, in order for the team to finish strong.

“In order for us to win and win constantly we need to stay healthy,” Butts said. “We have the talent on this team and we have the depth, but if we are faced with the same challenges it’s going to be tough.”

Throughout the press conference Butts stressed the importance of staying healthy. This has proved an issue in the recent past, with starting guard Candice Warthen and forward Erica Barnes missing stretches of games last season.

Barnes is still recovering from an ankle injury and is not 100 percent, according to Butts. Nevertheless Barnes is on schedule to make a full recovery and will be ready by the start of the season.

Davellyn Whyte, Arizona’s leading scorer last season, is entering her fourth and final year as a Wildcat. Whyte believes that this is the strongest Arizona team she has been part of.

“We’ve been working out with the newcomers since June,” Whyte said. “When the new kids came they did really have choice to slack off or take their time to get into the swing of things. They just got thrown in and went with the flow. They’re doing really good though.”

Changing the losing culture

In 2010-2011 the Wildcats had their most successful season under Butts, just missing out on the NCAA tournament and losing in the first round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament to Utah State.

Butts feels the pressure to win now in order to reinforce that the program is on the upswing, but the pressure isn’t forcing her to change the way she approaches the season.

“When you look back at last season we started off so well, but when we lost some of the key post players it really hurt us,” Butts said. “Now, coming into this season, our goal as a team is nothing short of the field of 64. We want to get there. Not only our coaching staff but our players are hungry to get there.”

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