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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Looking back on Arizona women’s basketball

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Women’s Basketball lost to UCLA 69-57, Sunday afternoon.

Arizona women’s basketball finished the season on a five-game losing streak ending the career of star player Davellyn Whyte, who leaves the UA with only one postseason appearance.

What happened

The Wildcats (12-18, 4-13 Pac-12) started the season 9-3 and 1-0 in league play but fizzled when they faced the tough competition of the Pac-12.

Arizona ran its record to 9-3 in non-conference play, but solely against teams from outside the power conferences. A 58-53 win at New Mexico before about 8,000 fans in The Pit highlighted the Wildcats’ non-conference slate.

Seven of those games were away from home though, five on the road and two in the Bahamas at the Junkanoo Jam, where the UA went 1-1.

Arizona started Pac-12 play with a win at Washington State and a close, 76-65, loss at Washington in the UA’s Pac-12 Network debut. Arizona then split with the Oregon schools at home, beating the Ducks 100-68.

The Wildcats won at Utah, 62-58, but then the wheels fell off, staring with a 79-36 loss at No. 21 Colorado. The Wildcats lost eight games in a row.

Arizona snapped the streak with a second win over Utah, 61-52, but would close out the season losing five in a row, starting with back to back close losses to arch rival Arizona State. The Sun Devils have beaten the Wildcats five games in a row, 15 of the last 16 and the first 2013 win, 81-77 in double overtime, snapped a seven game losing streak by ASU.

Arizona closed out the season with a 66-48 loss to the same Utah team it swept during the regular season in the Pac-12 tournament first round.

Highlight reel

It came in a heartbreaking loss, but Whyte earned Arizona’s first ever triple double in the double overtime ASU game at McKale Center on national TV.

The Phoenix native had 31 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists.

“It’s kind of hard to celebrate that after a loss. I can’t even really think about it … the only stat I see is the ‘L,’” Whyte said after the game.

Low point

During the eighth loss in a row, 55-42 to Colorado, Whyte was pulled from the game and sat the final nine minutes on the bench for not playing defense. Whyte tied her season low of six points and was read the riot act by assistant coach E.C. Hill.

After the game head coach Niya Butts’ press conference was delayed for about an hour and no players were made available to the media.


It’s clearly Whyte, who is the program’s second best player ever.

Whyte scored 2,059 points in her career, second all time and tallied 4,244 minutes in 126 games. Her prolific career merits comparison to the previous clearly the best Wildcat ever, Adia Barnes, who played 12 seasons in the WNBA and Europe.

Whyte probably could have threatened Barnes’ 2,237 points if she had played in more than one WNIT and zero NCAAs.

“She has meant a lot to what we are trying to do,” Butts said after Whyte’s last home game. “If you look at the stat sheets, even from [March 3], she didn’t have the best day scoring but she had all of our assists, she is an all-around player. And if you look at her complete body of work aside from post-season play, that’s all you can really ask for in a player.”

Outlook for next year

The loss of Whyte will be tough, but a promising recruiting class softens the blow a bit.

Whyte didn’t need to take a Kobe Bryant type number of shots to lead the team in scoring, but maybe her absence can allow other players to score more. Their last two games, every Wildcat that played scored.

Arizona signed four high school players, three forwards and a guard. ESPN HoopGurlz has LaBrittney Jones as the No. 23 forward of the 2013 class, Dejza James as the No. 34 forward and forward Breanna Workman as the No. 71 forward.

In 2013-14 it will be tough to get back to the their first WNIT since 2010-11 season or the UA’s first big dance since 2005, but the cupboard is not bare.

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