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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Women’s basketball opens with an ugly exhibition game win

The Arizona women’s basketball team got its opening exhibition win against Western State College, but the 73-56 victory Tuesday night came from a Wildcat team rough around the edges.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win,” head coach Niya Butts said.

In a game where Arizona committed 28 turnovers and guard Davellyn Whyte was held to just 3-for-7 shooting, the Wildcats were able to pull out a dominating victory. Candice Warthen led the way with 18 points on 7-for-13 shooting.

“Obviously, I wasn’t happy with our turnover margin tonight,” Butts said. “But, I thought overall our scoring was balanced when we settled down and made some plays. Pretty happy with our effort.”

After a messy first half, the Wildcats came out firing in the second, opening up with a 7-0 run. When that extended to a 23-9 run in Arizona’s advantage, the Wildcats were finally coming into their own. It was Warthen who started that run in the opening seconds of the half.

“She really stepped up she had a really good game today. She had a lot of energy, and she just came out ready to play,” Whyte said.

While the Wildcats struggled with turnovers, Arizona’s run-and-gun style of offense helped to overcome that, and in turn showed just how dangerous Arizona can be when it gets into a groove. On defense, the Wildcats counteracted their own turnovers by forcing 30 against WSC.

Behind their 5-foot-5 point guard in Shanita Arnold, the Wildcats clearly are looking to move the ball up the floor and push the tempo this season, and they dominated Western State on the fastbreak.

Arnold believes they can do even better.

“We didn’t get as many as we would have liked to. We could have got more, but that was our game plan,” Arnold said. “We wanted to see how our transition would work tonight, but we’re always working on it to get better.”

Arnold finished with seven assists on the night and five in the first half alone.

With a starting lineup that included Whyte, Arnold and Warthen at guard, Erica Barnes at forward, and freshman big Aley Rohde at center, the Wildcats outscored Western State 35-29 in the first half.

It wasn’t the way Butts wanted her team to perform to start the season.

“We didn’t perform very well. We were gambling defensively, giving them some easy baskets,” Butts said. “We made some adjustments at halftime with our post defense. We were going hard like I said, but we were not playing smart defensively.”

On the stat sheet, it looks like Rohde had a solid debut, scoring 11 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and tabbing four blocks. But entering the season, there are high expectations for the big freshman.

Butts was not happy with her overall performance.

“She had a double-double, and I honestly don’t think she played very well, so it’s one of those things where she can be a lot more effective and productive if she just makes some minor changes to what she does,” Butts said. “Defensively she has to stop gambling.”

Play of the game

In the open seconds of the second half, Candice Warthen nailed a jumper to put Arizona up 37-29. The Wildcats never looked back from there, outscoring Western State 38-27 in the second half.

Notable performances

Aley Rohde: 11 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks

Candice Warthen: 18 points

Shanita Arnold: 10 points, seven assists

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