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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    W-basketball injuries shuffle lineup for Butts

    A solidified lineup can be difficult to put together. Especially if some of the cards are missing.

    Preseason injuries have once again forced a shuffling of the women’s basketball lineup. Although most of the team is healthy going into the first three regular season games, there are still players who will not participate in the Hawaii Tournament next weekend.

    The injuries have limited the opportunity for head coach Niya Butts and her staff to fully evaluate the team. Injuries also limit the time that players have to prove themselves and earn a solid spot in the Wildcat game plan.

    “”They have been out for sometime and as I’ve always liked to say no one has a solid spot,”” Butts said. “”You have to go out and earn your spot every week. It’s as simple as that. They haven’t been able to get out there and prove that.””

    Among the injured players is sophomore guard Tasha Dickey, who started 21 games last years and earned Pacific 10 Conference All-Freshmen Team honorable mention accolades in her first season for Arizona. She injured her right ankle during preseason workouts. Her only preseason action was in the Red/Blue scrimmage game, and she continues to work out separately from the team.

    “”Tasha Dickey is out for another six weeks,”” Butts said. “”(She’s) another player that doesn’t necessarily have the opportunity to get there and earn that spot, limited because of the injury.””

    The injuries have changed the lineups for the Wildcats, allowing new players to try and find their niche on the team. Dickey’s absence in particular has opened up a spot for a shooting guard. Freshmen Reiko Thomas, Jhakia McDonald and Amani Butler have all taken this opportunity to step in at guard, and all three have made impressive showings.

    Although the injured players provide verbal encouragement, and their presence at the games is felt, they are restricted by what they can physically do. Freshmen guard Courtney Clements and center Malia Nahinu have not seen any action this preseason. Neither will play in upcoming games.

    “”Courtney Clements is out and will not participate in the first three games of the regular season in Hawaii,”” Butts said. “”It’s more going to be a rest thing, more precautionary.””

    Both players wear a boot, nut Butts said Clements is closer to recovery than

    Nahinu.

    “”She’s out and will be out for another two weeks at least before we reevaluate how she’s doing,”” Butts said.

    Clements’ return to the court will give her a chance to find a spot in the Wildcat rotation. Her size will also give Arizona another dominant ball handler and a powerful presence to get the ball to the net.

    Nahinu’s injury is more serious, and will have her out until after the new year.

    “”Malia is out right now with a stress fracture in her foot. She is out for about 6 to 10 weeks.”” Butts said.

    As the Wildcats officially start their season, Butts stresses the necessary shuffling of players and positions due to injuries and the unpredictable toll of the season.

    “”They’re not going to be out on the floor to gain that experience during practice, to gain the experience during games,”” Butts said.

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