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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats spear Women of Troy on senior day

Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

It was a day of mixed emotions for the Arizona women’s basketball team. After beating Southern California 84-74 on Saturday in McKale Center, the seniors had to say goodbye to the crowd in their last regular season contest at home.

Arizona (17-10, 8-8 Pacific 10 Conference) forced itself ahead before having to contain a late second half Trojan (16-11, 8-8) run that put the game within a close reach.

Head coach Niya Butts said she was proud of the way her team was able to focus, but still knows that there are crucial games left on the schedule.

“”We’re excited to get the win, it was a tough game today against a tough opponent. Our team came out ready to play,”” she said. “”We’ll get ready to go on the road after this victory. We’re not going to be satisfied with this.””

With 14:04 left in the second half, USC head coach Michael Cooper showed his displeasure after a foul was called and was issued a technical.

The Wildcats took advantage, with Davellyn Whyte sinking both free throws. Arizona put together a quick transition offense to score another easy layup.

The technical foul seemed to take the wind out of the Trojans’ sails, as a 21-9 Wildcat run over the next six minutes silenced the USC faithful.

The Trojans managed to claw back within six points with time expiring, but the game was already out of reach.

“”Anytime we play (USC), it’s always a see-saw type of effect,”” Butts said. “”I hoped it would be a lead that we could take and maintain for the rest of the game, but they would balance it out with a run on their end.””

Arizona forward Ify Ibekwe, one of the most successful women’s basketball players in Arizona history, scored 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds in her Tucson curtain call.

Whyte led the offensive charge for the Wildcats, with 19 points, and carried her team throughout the entire contest.

For the Arizona veterans, it was a bittersweet farewell.

Ibekwe, forwards Soana Lucet and Amanda Pierson and guard Tasha Dickey received senior day honors.

“”I knew that we were playing for each other on the court,”” Ibekwe said. “”I wasn’t nervous. I knew we were going to get the win.””

USC was lead by the dominant Briana Gilbreath, whose 21 points and 10 rebounds helped the Trojans keep pace with Arizona.

“”Obviously this win gives us a lot of momentum heading into the postseason,”” Butts said. “”Right now we are worried about the next game in front of us. We know what our ultimate goal is and right now we have to take care of Oregon State.””

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