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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Early deficit traps women’s hoops

    The “”Battle of the Sisters”” finally made its much-anticipated debut when Arizona women’s basketball forward Ify Ibekwe stepped into Pauley Pavilion on Saturday, dressed in the opposing uniform of her sister, Chinyere Ibekwe of UCLA.

    Ify’s eye injury postponed the family duel until Saturday’s trip to Los Angeles, after the Carson, Calif., freshman sat the Dec. 30 matchup out with UCLA in McKale Center.

    But like the last meeting between the two schools, UCLA prevailed, beating Arizona 80-70.

    Individually on the box score, though, Ify posted her second straight double-double (16 points, 10 rebounds), while Chinyere only played 10 minutes and totaled five points with four rebounds. The intriguing matchup allowed both forwards to defend each other, despite the difference in play, Ify brings versatile quickness while Chinyere touts a power player style.

    Ify was unavailable to comment after the game.

    “”She guarded (Chinyere), but she’s a different style player,”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini.

    UCLA (15-14, 10-8 Pacific 10 Conference) jumped out to a 16-0 lead to begin the game, thanks to Arizona’s nine consecutive missed shots from the field.

    The Wildcats (10-19, 4-14) trailed 26-5 with 12:15 remaining in the first half, but when guard Tasha Dickey (10 points) cut the deficit to five with 29 seconds left in the half, Arizona could not get over the hump.

    “”I really think (the big deficit) was the game,”” Bonvicini said. “”We were just trying to play catch-up and it was hard to climb out of that hole. It’s just hard to get over.””

    Yet another loss cultivated from Arizona’s lack of depth on the bench – particularly the backcourt. By being limited to guards Dickey, Ashley Whisonant and walk-on senior Ashley Gilpin, Bonvicini finds it difficult to avoid matchup problems, resulting in the switch to a zone defense Saturday.

    Arizona finished its final two games of the regular season by splitting with the L.A. schools in a road trip primarily used for confidence. Unable to alter its Pac-10 Tournament seeding over the weekend, the Wildcats locked up a spot in Friday’s preliminary round as the No. 9 seed in San Jose, Calif.

    Forward Amina Njonkou lit up the second half, ending with a team-high 18 points, after adjusting to UCLA’s very physical post players. Forward Lindsey Pluimer led with a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, as one of four Bruins to hit double digits in scoring. Although the Wildcats out-rebounded UCLA (39-36), the Bruins shot 49.2 percent from the floor.

    “”We didn’t start the game like we wanted to,”” Bonvicini said. “”We got in a big hole.””

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