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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona guards lead team to two wins in Hawaii

After starting the weekend off with a loss to BYU, the Arizona women’s basketball team closed the Hukilau Invitational on a two-game winning streak after beating Syracuse 80-74 on Friday and host BYU-Hawaii 78-61 on Saturday, bringing their record on the season to 7-1.

A win over BYU-Hawaii was to be expected, as it is a Division III program that entered the game without a win. But the Syracuse win comes as a little more of a surprise.

The Orange entered on a six-game winning streak, ranked No. 28 in the ESPN/USA Today poll and was Arizona’s first opponent from a major conference, the Big East. Entering the game, Syracuse was ranked second in the nation in rebounding margin — Arizona was ranked 107.

In the game, Arizona was outrebounded 56 to 47, yet in the end, that didn’t matter.

Forwards Erica Barnes and Cheshi Poston were key contributors against Syracuse and BYU-Hawaii, and in the two games they combined for a total of 50 points and 32 rebounds.

It was the play from Arizona’s backcourt that really made the difference.

Davellyn Whyte, Arizona’s leading scorer, had one of the best games of her Wildcat career against the Orange. Whyte struggled from the field by shooting just 4-of-11, but she overcame that by shooting 12-of-14 from the free throw line and getting a near triple-double with a team-leading 22 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Senior guard Shanita Arnold, at only 5-foot-5, managed to grab eight rebounds against Syracuse, and head coach Niya Butts was impressed with her starting point guard’s play this weekend.

“I want to give a lot of credit to our team and Shanita Arnold was really a leader for us,” Butts said in a press release. “This was one of her best team performances since she’s been with us.”

Arnold finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals against Syracuse. She added six points, eight assists and two steals against BYU-Hawaii.

Candice Warthen, the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer on the season, shot 13-of-26 in the two games, scoring 37 total points and going 5-of-11 from 3-point range.

Defensively, Arizona held Syracuse starting guards Carmen Tyson-Thomas, Elashier Hall and La’Shay Taft to just 6-of-41 shooting and a combined 18 points.

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