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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Syracuse, BYU will test ‘Cats in paint

Gordon+Bates+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0AArizona+Wildcats+Womens+Basketball+victory+against+North+Texas+on+Monday%2C+November+28%2C+2011+at+McKale+Center+in+Tucson+Arizona
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats Womens Basketball victory against North Texas on Monday, November 28, 2011 at McKale Center in Tucson Arizona

The Arizona women’s basketball team will face BYU today, followed by Syracuse on Friday and BYU-Hawaii on Saturday, at the Hukilau Invitational in Laie, Hawaii.

Arizona currently sits at 5-0 coming off a 69-62 victory over North Texas on Monday. Davellyn Whyte is pacing the Wildcats with a team-high 22 points per game, followed closely by sophomore Candice Warthen, who is contributing 17.4 points per game.

BYU and Syracuse will be the first real tests of the season for Arizona. BYU is 5-2 heading into the tournament, and Syracuse, ranked No. 28 by the ESPN/USA Today poll, is 6-0. BYU-Hawaii is a Division III opponent, and is looking for its first victory at 0-3.

BYU has experience, chemistry

The Cougars are having a solid, if unspectacular, season thus far under head coach Jeff Judkins.

“Their coach has been there for a while and does a great job,” UA head coach Niya Butts said. “(Their) kids really, really know how to play well with each other.”

Judkins is currently in his 11th season as BYU’s head coach and has a career record of 210-109.

Sophomore Kim Parker and freshman Lexi Eaton, who lead BYU with 10.9 and 10.7 points per game, respectively, lead the Cougars.

Arizona, who has struggled with rebounding all season long, might have the advantage down low against BYU. The Cougars have no player averaging more than 6.1 rebounds per game, so expect Wildcat forward Erica Barnes, who averages 9.4 rebounds per game, to have her way on the glass.

Syracuse a force on the boards, could be a problem for Wildcats

Syracuse will easily be the toughest opponent thus far for Arizona, and that primarily stems from its rebounding talents. Syracuse ranks second in the nation in rebounding margin, outrebounding their opponents at a 19.6 rebound per-game clip.

“Syracuse is coming from the Big East and they’re a very, very physical team that rebounds the ball exceptionally well,” Butts said. “Our weakness is our rebounding and it’s their strength so we gotta figure that out.”

Arizona has one player, Erica Barnes, averaging more than five rebounds per game. Syracuse has four players, Carmen Tyson-Thomas (8.2), Kayla Alexander (9.0), Shakeya Leary (8.2) and Elashier Hall (7.8) who averages at least 7.5 rebounds per game, along with a fifth, Iasia Hemingway, who grabs 6.5 rebounds per game.

After Barnes, Arizona’s next best rebounders are Cheshi Poston and Warthen, at 4.6 per game.

Alexander, a 6-foot-4 center, will pose the biggest problem for Arizona. The junior, an All-Big East selection last year, leads the Orange in scoring with 20.2 points per game and blocks with 1.83. If there was ever a time where the Wildcats needed 6-foot-5 freshman Aley Rohde to step up and break out of her slump, this game is it.

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