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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s basketball to host Wichita State for home opener

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Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona women’s basketball has its season home opener tonight at 7 p.m. against the Wichita State Shockers, and it’s not going to be easy, head coach Niya Butts said.

“We’ve got a tough opponent coming in here,” she said. “They have very talented guards on the perimeter, they’re physical and they get after you defensively.”

The Wildcats are coming off of two wins on the road against Georgia Southern and Georgia State.

The Shockers lost their last game to No. 21 Louisiana State University, but that doesn’t mean anything to Butts.

“They just played the really tough LSU team, and I would say LSU got out of there with one, so this team is coming in focused,” Butts said.

Last year, the Shockers were the Wildcats’ first victory, and Butts said the team barely won.

“When I go back and look at the film, in a lot of ways, we barely stole one there,” Butts said. “Erica Barnes was huge in that game, thank goodness she was there. They’re going to be tough. They know they can compete with you, and they play really hard for their coach.”

The Shockers have four returning starters and are led by fourth-year coach Jody Adams who, like Butts, played for Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt at Tennessee.

“You know what, being Lady Vol alumni, we’re always connected,” Butts said. “We always consider ourselves to be family. She’s certainly very intense as a basketball coach, does a very good job with her team and I have a ton of respect for her.”

But tonight it’s all about the competition, Butts said.

As long as the Wildcats continue to rebound, push the ball in transition and consistently make shots, Butts says the team will be OK.

“We have to be prepared to play for 40 minutes and that’s exactly what it’s going to take,” she said. “I think we’re going to play our style of basketball, and if we can do that, I think any time a team is coming on your home floor, I would hope that the home team would have an advantage.

“Anyone can win a basketball game, that’s why you play it. That’s why you have to be mentally prepared and physically prepared.”

Warthen receives conference honor

Against the Georgia State Panthers on Sunday, sophomore guard and Georgia native Candice Warthen scored 36 points for the Wildcats—three points shy of matching the school record (39).

Accordingly, Warthen is currently the Bank of the West Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week.

“I was excited to go home and see my family, and it was just good from the start,” Warthen said. “The first game I did pretty well and the second I did excellent, so I guess it all came down to me coming home.”

Wildcats sign four recruits for 2012

Head coach Niya Butts announced the signing of four national letter of intents for the 2012-13 season.

The four new additions include Keyahndra Cannon from San Diego, Nyre Harris from Stockton, Calif., Shareen Sutherland from Corona, Calif., and Simone Westbrook from Chandler, Ariz.

“From a basketball standpoint, with this class we add athleticism, versatility and depth at multiple positions,” head coach Niya Butts said in a press release.

Harris and Westbrook are both considered four-star recruits by ESPN, where Harris is pegged as the No. 45 ranked guard and Westbrook is No. 59.

— Zack Rosenblatt

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