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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA look for revenge against UCLA


It’s certainly been a roller coaster of a season for the Arizona women’s basketball team.

Emotions were high as the season started with the Wildcats winning 11 out of their first 13 games, giving skeptics a reason to change their opinions about a team that was pegged to finish seventh in the Pacific 10 Conference.

Then, the boom was lowered and Arizona ran head first into the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal.

After losing by 33 points in Palo Alto, the downtrodden Wildcats could barely get their heads up on the path to losing their next 7 out of 9 contests.

Now, shrugging off their road woes after sweeping the Washington schools last weekend, Arizona returns home to take on the No. 11 UCLA Bruins tonight at McKale Center with a three-game winning streak in its pocket.

“”We’ve shown through those games that we are capable of playing physical, we are capable of playing tough, and with intensity,”” head coach Niya Butts said. “”We are capable of playing through forty minutes, through the good and the bad, and from our team standpoint, it shows that we’re ready to compete with anybody.””

In their last meeting, the Wildcats (16-9, 7-7 Pac-10) pushed hard in the second half but the Bruins (22-3, 12-2 Pac-10) wouldn’t relent, beating Arizona 70-60.

However, with newfound momentum and Arizona star Ify Ibekwe playing her best for the Wildcats, with 15.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, Arizona is in its best possible position to pull off an upset.

But securing their first win against UCLA since 2007 won’t be easy.

Senior Darxia Morris leads the charge for the Bruins at the guard position with 12.5 points per game.

Down low, Arizona forwards Ibekwe and Soana Lucet will try to contain Jasmine Dixon, whose 12.2 points and 7.3 boards per game make her one of UCLA’s most dominant players.

“”We just have to outwork her and box her out,”” said Lucet. “”We know she’s a good rebounder, even if she’s not going to finish she’s going to follow the rebound, and go finish. We just have to make sure she doesn’t outwork us.””

Playing at McKale Center will provide an advantage. Arizona is 10-2 on the season against visiting opponents, and the ability to play for its own crowd is what gets the team the most geared up to perform.

“”The comfort of being at home, there’s nothing like it,”” Butts said. “”Especially when you have a good crowd behind you.””


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