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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Points aplenty for Arizona

Points aplenty for Arizona

To say that offense was on display in McKale Center over the weekend would be an understatement.

A combined total of eight conference and school scoring records were broken with the Arizona women’s basketball team’s 119-112 win over Oregon (12-5, 3-2 Pacific 10 Conference) on Saturday, causing Wildcats head coach Niya Butts to do some wishful thinking.

“”I wonder if it’s possible to take some of the points we scored tonight and add them onto next game,”” Butts joked after the team’s win, one that included a 39-point scoring binge by freshman Davellyn Whyte.

The Ducks entered the game as the nation’s leading offense, averaging just more than 87 points per game, but thanks to Whyte’s and junior Ify Ibekwe’s career-high scoring performances, the Wildcats (9-7, 3-3) were able to walk away with a big conference win at Lute & Bobbi Olson Court.

“”We want to win our games at home,”” Butts said. “”Our crowd was great and I want to give them credit as they keep coming out and supporting us.””

The Wildcat offense struck fast and often in the game, shooting 62.3 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from the 3-point line.

With 4:09 left in the first half, Arizona held a 53-38 lead after a trey by sophomore Reiko Thomas, who tallied 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench in the winning effort.

Oregon’s attempts at a full court press backfired, as the Wildcats were able to elude the pressure and find open looks inside to junior Soana Lucet, who netted a career-high 28 points in the win.

But the Ducks were able to hang with the Wildcats’ run-and-gun attack and rode a 12-3 run to the end of the half to cut Arizona’s lead to four at 56-52.

“”They told us that (Oregon) was going to be a running team, but I didn’t expect like that,”” Whyte said. “”It was just up and down, up and down, up and down.””

The Ducks tried to contain Whyte by playing in a box-and-one defensively, but the freshman put to rest any attempts at slowing down her scoring attack by hitting one of her five 3-pointers with 15:51 left in the game to push the Arizona lead to double figures at 70-60.

Whyte’s 39 points broke the previous 13-year-old school scoring record of 35 points set by Adia Barnes.

“”It’s kind of cool,”” said Whyte, who was named the conference’s player of the week Sunday. “”But during the game, I’m not thinking about points or anything. I’m just letting the game come to me.””

Despite the two teams going back and forth on offense, Arizona held a lead of at least four the entire second half, and a layup by Ibekwe with 7:08 left in the game gave the Wildcats a 97-81 advantage, their largest of the night.

After being held to seven points in her previous game, Ibekwe came out aggressive in the game against Oregon, knocking down open mid-range jump shots and even hitting a rare 3-pointer en route to her career night.

“”Ify (Ibekwe) was aggressive, she knocked down shots, she took opportunities to take the ball off the rim and attack the basket,”” Butts said.

A double-double candidate every night, Ibekwe neared a triple-double on Saturday by finishing the game with 32 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.

Whyte sealed the win with a 3-pointer in the final minute, giving Arizona back-to-back conference wins for the first time since a home series against the Oregon schools in the ’07-’08 season.

“”It gives us a confidence booster,”” Ibekwe said. “”It’s really good to get these wins at home.””

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