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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s hoops: No. 2 Cardinal kills ‘Cats

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Playing competitively for two halves of basketball is important in any game, but it is absolutely necessary against the number No. 2 team in the nation.

The Arizona women’s basketball team was unable to achieve that feat as it lost to No. 2 Stanford 75-48 on Saturday afternoon in McKale Center.

Throughout the first half, the Wildcats (13-14, 6-10 Pacific 10 Conference) managed to hang on defensively to keep an offensive-minded Stanford (27-1, 16-0) team at bay.

“”I thought we were really physical in the first half,”” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said. “”I thought we were really aggressive. I thought our energy level was there. We contested shots, we closed out and we were effective.””

At the tip, the Wildcats came out running right from the start with two quick baskets.

Stanford returned the favor, orchestrating an 11-0 run over the next four minutes.

Arizona managed to refocus its game and kept close for the rest of the half, going into the locker room down 32-27.

Despite being down at the half, the Wildcats, who were doubled in rebounds by Stanford in the previous contest, trailed by only two boards.

“”I thought we played hard,”” Butts said. “”Everything that we want to see from our team, I thought we saw in the first half. The second half was a totally different story.””

Coming out of the locker room, Stanford’s offense looked unstoppable. Playing a quick transition offense, the Cardinal managed to take Arizona for a 14-6 run to open play in the second half.

Even with the absence of Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, who was injured in last week’s game against ASU, the Cardinal had no problem forcing their style of play on the Wildcats.

Taking advantage of a tired Arizona defense, Stanford managed to stretch the lead to 20 with 7:29 left on the game clock.

For the last four minutes of the game, it was obvious that Arizona’s comeback attempts were futile, but the Tucson crowd would not be quelled.

Chants of Ash-ley Fra-zier were heard throughout McKale in honor of the senior’s last collegiate home game. Fans gave rounds of applause to players, thanking them for the season.

Arizona forward Ify Ibekwe, who posted her 38th career double-double by scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, was proud of her team’s effort but said they just couldn’t get things going in the second half.

“”They just hit those shots, but we didn’t hang our heads. We just couldn’t find a way to get back in,”” Ibekwe said. “”We stopped attacking the basket, and I think we relied on our outside shot and jump shots, and we can’t do that.””

Stanford center Jayne Appel recorded her 1,215th rebound in Saturday’s contest, placing her ahead of basketball legend Lisa Leslie with the most career rebounds in the Pac-10.

“”I think it’s a tremendous accomplishment,”” Appel said. “”But I’ve said this all year, I want a national championship.””

Stanford keeps getting closer and closer to its national championship dreams with only one loss on the season and a perfect record in the Pac-10 conference.

“”They are very good basketball players. They’re a well-coached team and they play with a lot of poise,”” Butts said. “”That’s always going to be tough to beat.””

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