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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s basketball falls to Washington 74-52

Jesus Barrera
Arizona guard Malena Washington (14) rushes to the hoop in McKale Center on Nov. 10, 2015. Washington recently set a career high with 23 points playing against Washington on Sunday.

Behind its high-powered backcourt of Kelsey Plum and Talia Walton, Washington handed the Arizona’s women’s basketball team its ninth-straight loss on Friday night in McKale Center by a score of 74-52.

Walton had 20 points and hit two 3-pointers, while Plum, the Pac-12 conference’s leading-scorer, had 22 points, six assists, and made four 3s.

“She’s a great player and great players are going to make shots,” Arizona point guard Malena Washington said. “It’s all about making her make tough shots, tiring her out. So I feel like we did alright with that, but at the end of the day, she’s going to score.”

The loss drops Arizona to 11-16 overall, and 2-13 in Pac-12 Conference play.

The Wildcats were victims of another slow start and wouldn’t score their first points of the game until Lauren Evans hit a mid-range jumper with 3:40 left in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Washington took advantage. Chantel Osahor would score an and-one to give UW an early 12-0 lead, and the Huskies would go on to hit four 3-pointers in the quarter to put them up 18-6 at the end of one.

“We let it slip away in the first quarter,” Washington said. “We didn’t come out playing hard, too many turnovers and we weren’t really scoring, we weren’t making our shots. We came out flat, we didn’t come out hard as we should have.”

The Wildcats had eight turnovers to just three made field goals in the opening quarter.

“We turned the ball over way too much,” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said. “I thought early on in the basketball game, probably the first six or seven minutes, we probably did enough defensively to be either be ahead in the basketball game or at least tied. We couldn’t get any shots to fall.”

Walton would then score 11 of her 20 points in the second quarter and Washington would eventually extend its lead to 17 after an and-one by Osahor with 1:37 left the half.

But as the the final seconds of the half ticked away, Taryn Griffey banked in a deep 3-pointer to make it 36-22 at the break.

This was Griffey’s first time playing since Jan. 15 as she just rejoined the team a few weeks ago after taking a lengthy leave of absence. She would play 13 minutes and make two 3-pointers.

“I thought she did pretty well,” Butts said about the point guard’s first game back in the lineup. “I was just happy to have her back on the floor and getting back into the rhythm of things.”

But despite Griffey’s buzzer-beater, the Wildcats shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half.

“We got to be able to score points early on, and take better care of the ball,” Butts said. “We did that in the second half, but we were already far too behind.”

Indeed. The Wildcats would start the second half well, but the slow start was too much to overcome.

Arizona forward Briana Workman grabbed an offensive rebound and scored, then on the ensuing possession, she would get a steal which led to a 3-pointer by Malena Washington. Washington finished with a team-high 15 points and UA had cut UW’s lead to 39-28 with 6:53 left in the third.

“We needed to score, we needed to put some points on the board,” Washington said.

But Plum would score eight unanswered points, and it would be the beginning of a 17-4 run that would put the game out of reach. It was capped off by an Alexus Atchley 3-pointer that put UW up 56-32 late in the third quarter.

“Obviously they shot the ball really well,” Butts said of the Huskies. “When you don’t make shots and you’re giving up 3s, it’s going to be hard to stay in the basketball game.”

The Huskies’ shooting overwhelmed the Wildcats. They shot a scorching 11-for-21 from behind the arc and 50 percent from the field.

“When you’re knocking down shots and shooting 11-for-21, it’s difficult to guard,” Butts said. “They get the ball moving quickly and they get their shots off pretty fast.”

The Huskies, also with a size advantage, would outscore the Wildcats 29-to-10 in the paint.

“That was pretty difficult being one of the smaller teams,” Washington said.

Arizona now has just one more home game left this season, which will take place Sunday against Washington State.

“It’s the last game at McKale, and you always want to make it a memorable experience,” Butts said. “We have one senior on the team and we certainly want her to be able to go out at least with a nice, competitive game, and hopefully we do enough to win that basketball game.”

Tipoff is at 1 pm.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.

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