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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA falls to Cal in close duel

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

The Arizona women’s basketball team took another hit to its conference standing after Thursday’s 58-52 loss to the California Golden Bears in Tucson.

Despite the support of a passionate home crowd, the Wildcats (13-13, 6-9 Pacific 10 Conference), failed to score when they needed to against an offensive-minded California (17-10, 11-5) team.

“”I thought we fought hard. You know when you hold a team to 58 points, you should be able to come out with a win in that situation,”” said Arizona head coach Niya Butts. “”Anytime you can’t put the ball in the hole, you’re going to have trouble.””

As the game got underway, both the Wildcats and the Golden Bears were anemic with their shooting opportunities, failing to come up with straightforward jump shots and layups.

The combination of solid defense and missed shot opportunities from both sides kept the score tied at zero until a jumper fell from Cal’s Layshia Clarendon with 17:14 left to play in the first.

The game was deadlocked throughout the first half, with Arizona maintaining a small lead for 11 minutes.

Cal finally snuck in a few quick baskets with help from forward Gennifer Brandon and guard Natasha Vital, who scored a combined 10 points and pushed Cal toward their 25-22 lead going into the half.

In the locker room, Arizona was set on retooling its offense.

“”We played a pretty solid (first) half and only gave up 25 points,”” Butts said. “”We felt like our job defensively was OK, but we gave up eight offensive rebounds and just didn’t make some shots when we needed to make some shots.””

The second half began with the Golden Bears shooting a pair of baskets that put them up 29-22, but Arizona freshman Davellyn Whyte was able to tie the game 38-38 on a jump shot with 10:35 left to play.

The Wildcats managed to hold close and took the lead with a 3-point shot from guard Ashley Frazier, making the game 49-48.

However, the lead was short lived as Cal returned the favor and went ahead with two free-throw attempts by Brandon with 5:44 left in the game.

The Golden Bears managed to fight ahead and keep the lead when the clock hit 0:00, winning the game 58-52.

The Wildcats’ biggest accomplishment was their containment of the Golden Bears’ star guard, Alexis Gray-Lawson, who dominated Arizona for 39 points in their last meeting in Berkeley. She was held to only nine points and eight rebounds.

“”We guarded Lawson pretty well,”” Whyte said. “”But the shots that she did hit were crucial shots at the right times.””

While they had control of Gray-Dawson, the Wildcats’ coverage neglected the other players.

“”I think we were just too focused on Lawson that we didn’t really focus on anyone else, and I think that’s what hurt us the most,”” Whyte added.

When Gray-Lawson was being pressured, the Golden Bears turned to bench players Brandon and Vital, who made up the difference of Gray-Lawson’s atypical performance with a combined 27 points and 16 rebounds.

The Wildcats now turn their focus to their contest against the Stanford Cardinal, ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 2 nationally, in McKale Center on Saturday.

The Wildcats struggled against Stanford when they visited Palo Alto, Calif., late last month, losing 83­—62.

Arizona forward Ify Ibekwe said that Stanford performs well because they play together as a unit for 40 straight minutes on the court.

“”Stanford just works hard, they work hard all the time,”” Ibekwe said. “”They play smart and they play together.””

The Wildcats will have to be in it for the entire game to stay on par with the Cardinal.

“”We just have to match their intensity and play together,”” Ibekwe said.

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