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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New cutback offense to be featured in tourney

    Arizona women’s basketball head coach Joan Bonvicini switched her offense around several times throughout the season but now has installed what she believes to be the most productive version yet.

    Bonvicini said she first tried her “”shuffle offense”” in last weekend’s 59-54 loss to No. 9 ASU and was pleased with the results she saw.

    “”We’re spreading the court more,”” she said after the game. “”It’s a lot more difficult to defend.””

    Guard Joy Hollingsworth said the offense features a lot of backdoor cuts and curls, and allows the team to operate more freely.

    “”It’s great,”” Hollingsworth said. “”It’s really hard to defend because if a team starts to cheat on a cut or a curl, you’re able to fade. We just read off each other.

    “”It’s really bright and we’ll definitely use it in the Pac-10 (tournament).””

    In previous games, the Wildcats ran a slower offense, where “”we did a lot of standing around,”” said guard Ashley Whisonant, adding that it was rather confusing.

    The new offense features a lot more screens that will help players to get open on the court.

    “”There’s just a lot of movement,”” Whisonant said. “”It’s fun to play, too.””

    In the first matchup between ASU and Arizona, ASU blew the Wildcats away with an 89-62 victory in Tempe, but Saturday’s close loss showed a much more fast-paced offense.

    Bonvicini also switched her defense back and forth from man-to-man and zone coverage throughout the game.

    ASU coach Charli Turner Thorne said while Arizona usually plays a 2-3 high set on offense, it was difficult for her defense to make adjustments.

    “”Even if they haven’t played it all year long, they like to bring it out against our pressure,”” Turner Thorne said. “”It was not totally unexpected but yeah, we expected to mix up their defenses.””

    Arizona also had a number of wide-open shots late in Saturday’s game, and Bonvicini attributed that to the new style of play.

    “”I’ve run this before, but I think old dogs can learn new tricks,”” Bonvicini said. “”I didn’t want to use it before because I wanted to have more of a power team because of our height and size.

    “”For me, as a coach, I’ve just got to keep trying to get better and better, and that’s what we tried to do,”” she added. “”I think our kids responded, and I’m proud of that. Now we’ve got to build on that.””

    Whisonant said the offense was first tailored for ASU, but since it worked so well, the team will continue to use it.

    “”With any kind of defense teams play, not just man-to-man, this offense works,”” Whisonant said. “”We even tried it against the (male practice players), and they didn’t even do pressure defense, and it still worked.””

    Hollingsworth said the team has used about four different offenses and she likes the new shuffle offense the best.

    “”We keep moving on the court,”” she said. “”It’s really good when we can do backdoor cuts on a team like ASU.””

    Hollingsworth added it will be more difficult to play the new offense against a team like Oregon State, who Arizona will play tomorrow night to open the Pacific 10 Tournament.

    “”It will be a little bit different because they kind of back off and play a little bit off of you, but we’re definitely still going to get our cuts.””

    Alum donates $20,000 to Polk’s scholarship fund

    Andrea Constand, who was part of Bonvicini’s first recruiting class, donated $20,000 to Shawntinice Polk’s scholarship fund, Bonvicini said.

    Bonvicini also had Constand talk to her current team to try and pump up members for Saturday’s game, as well as the upcoming Pac-10 tournament.

    “”We’re hoping that not only other athletes do that, but that she’s an inspiration to a lot of people by doing that,”” Bonvicini said.

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