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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats drop fifth straight game to Bears in overtime

Amt+Webb%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AUniversity+Arizona+vs.+California
Amy Webb
Amt Webb/ Arizona Daily Wildcat University Arizona vs. California

All season long, the Arizona women’s basketball team has shown flashes of talent, but inconsistency has plagued the team of late. On Thursday night, the Wildcats’ losing streak extended to five games after a loss to California by a score of 78-74 in overtime at the McKale Center.

It wasn’t as close throughout as the final box score might indicate — the Wildcats trailed until the 9:57 mark in the second half.

“I thought mistakes down the stretch hurt us a lot,” head coach Niya Butts said. “Our effort was good, we just have to keep fighting. We haven’t played this hard in a very long time, so I was certainly happy with our team’s effort.”

The roller coaster of a contest started almost immediately. Cal ripped off a 16-3 run right out of the gate and Arizona trailed by as much as 14. The Wildcats struck back with a 22-5 run of their own early in the second half, and led by as many as seven points, but allowed the Golden Bears back into the game in the final minute, forcing an overtime period.

Sophomore starter Erica Barnes was held out of the game due to injury, forcing Butts to use her 10th different starting lineup in 22 games. Arizona gave up size by starting four guards, along with freshman center Aley Rohde, who had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

“Certainly they had size, but obviously we were up with less than two minutes to go, and we had an opportunity to win the game,” Butts said. “It was about our heart in that case. It made up for a lot of that size difference.”

At halftime, Arizona was only losing the rebounding battle 22-16, and had one more turnover than the Bears with seven. However, as the game progressed, the Wildcats began to struggle on the boards. The Bears ended the game, outrebounding Arizona 57–42 and scoring 46 points in the paint.

The Bears’ hot shooting — 51.4 percent at the half — gave them a comfortable lead until about midway through the second half. Until that point, Wildcats’ leading scorer Davellyn Whyte had been held to nine points on 2-10 shooting. Whyte finished the game just 5-16, but was still able to score 17 points.

Freshman sharpshooter Erin Butler provided a valuable spark off the bench, scoring six points. Her points came from two 3-pointers, both of which brought the Wildcats within one possession when a bit more than nine minutes remained in regulation.

“She got in there when her name was called and made great plays, made things happen for us offensively and defensively,” Butts said of Butler. “That’s what it’s all about. When you get an opportunity to get in, make something happen, and she did.”

The No. 4 Stanford Cardinal comes into McKale Center on Saturday, but according to senior point guard Shanita Arnold, the five-game losing streak has not deterred the team from remaining optimisitic.

“When you fall all the way down, you have nowhere to go but up,” Arnold said. “We just have to keep fighting. Keep fighting, and something good is bound to happen.”

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