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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-Hoops tries to rebuild momentum against ASU

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After a brutal visit to Northern California featuring tough losses to the California Golden Bears and No. 4 Stanford Cardinal, the Arizona women’s basketball team returns to Arizona — but not home to Tucson. The Wildcats take on the ASU Sun Devils in Tempe for a game that will match the tenacity of every rivalry contest.

Trying to shrug off ASU’s season sweep last year will be no easy task, but the Wildcats (11-4, 2-2 Pacific 10 Conference), who have had their best season in almost a decade, will bring a little more confidence into the rest of their Pac-10 schedule. Arizona will have to take advantage of its remarkable start if it hopes to get back to the NCAA Tournament.

What they have been doing

Like she has done for her entire career at Arizona, senior forward Ify Ibekwe has solidified her status as an impact player. Averaging a double-double, Ibekwe will always test any opponent that she faces.

Arizona is also anchored by Davellyn Whyte, who averages 15 points per game. And although her 3-point shot hasn’t been falling like it has in the past, Whyte makes up for it with her ability to move the ball.

What’s up next

Arizona Head Coach Niya Butts always makes it a point to focus on one game at a time, so as far as the team goes, the only thing ahead is the Sun Devils on Sunday.

ASU (10-4, 2-2 Pac-10) had a successful start to the season before getting a reality check similar to the Wildcats experienced after falling hard to both Cal and Stanford.

If the Wildcats can pull off a win in Tempe over the weekend, not only will they shake off their rivalry struggles, but will prove that they are a legitimate contender in the conference.

What they need for a win

If the Wildcats can keep the offensive pressure on the Sun Devils and keep the ball circulating throughout playmakers Ibekwe, Whyte and forward Soana Lucet, then they should be able to stop ASU on both sides of the ball.

What they will need for the future

Sitting at fifth in the Pac-10, the Wildcats are already ahead of where preseason critics pegged them. With the California schools filling the slots in front of Arizona, they might have to start preparing soon, as the end of the month brings consecutive games against all of them.

 

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