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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


W-hoops heads to Georgia in season opener

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women’s basketball team begins its regular season in Georgia this weekend against Georgia Southern and Georgia State. For sophomore Candice Warthen and head coach Niya Butts, the trip acts as a bit of a homecoming.

Both hail from different areas of Georgia: Warthen from Warrenton and Butts from Americus.

“(We’re) taking one of our own back to play in front of her family so that’s gonna be a good thing for her and for this team to get tested early,” Butts said. “I’m excited to go back. Hopefully we’ll have enough fans to make it a home game for us, especially when we hit Atlanta.”

Last weekend, the Wildcats wrapped up their exhibition slate with a 81-54 win against Grand Canyon University, which followed a 73-56 victory against Western State College a few days prior. Exhibition games don’t count toward the team record, but Butts said she learned a lot about what Arizona is capable of.

“I learned that we can be very good, and I also learned that we can be average,” Butts said. “We gotta do a better job of getting the ball inside more and also our bigs have to do a better job of posting up and calling for the basketball.”

As for this weekend’s games, Butts said that she is going to change it up on defense in hopes of creating more scoring opportunities for the Wildcats.

“I talked about that at the beginning of the year about things we were going to try and do defensively to create some offense for us,” Butts said.

Starting point guard expected to play

Senior guard Shanita Arnold is expected to play this weekend after sitting out Sunday’s game against Grand Canyon because of a coach’s decision, Butts said.

“They control their own fate and I think she’ll be ready to go. We certainly need everybody on our roster,” Butts said. “But I anticipate she will be ready to go.”

If for some reason, Arnold isn’t ready to play, Butts believes the team has the pieces to take her place at the point guard position, at least for the time being. Butts cited Warthen, Davellyn Whyte and Reiko Thomas as capable of filling the position.

“We got a few players that can step up in that role, but we anticipate Shanita to be back on track.”

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