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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s hoops pulls upset in first round

With its back against the wall, the No. 12 seed Arizona women’s basketball team pulled off a 61-57 upset over the No. 5 seed UCLA in the first round of the Pac-12 Conference Tournament last night at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Entering the game, UCLA was one of just three conference wins the Wildcats garnered during the regular season.

The game had a familiar feel from the start for Arizona, as it fell down 7-21 to the Bruins in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Wildcats were able to stage a comeback before the half was over, cutting the UCLA lead from 15 to three (33-30) at halftime.

“I’m proud of our team for battling back,” head coach Niya Butts said. “We dug ourselves a hole early in the first half but unfortunately we have done that type of thing all year long. This time we happened to be on the good end of it.”

Leading scorer Davellyn Whyte was at it again, scoring 18 points in 36 minutes, but the most important performance of the game may have come from sophomore guard Candice Warthen. The Warrenton, Ga., native had 17 points, coupled with six rebounds and six assists, and also shot the game-winning jumper with 20.2 seconds left in the game.

“Candice (Warthen) hit big shots today, none bigger than that last floater in the paint,” Butts said. “I think I felt like it would be good when it left her hand. What body control to not get a charge in that situation.”

The Wildcats were able to shoot 37.7 percent from the field and 32 percent from three-point range with their starting point guard, Shanita Arnold, coming off the bench. Arnold contributed 14 points and four assists in a team-high 36 minutes off the bench.

“Shanita Arnold was out there, I didn’t start her today, playing with a broken finger, not wanting to go out as a senior the first day of the tournament,” Butts said. “There were a lot of positive things today that happened.”

Tomorrow at 2 p.m. the Wildcats will face their rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils, who they recently played, losing 70-63 after leading by 10 points at the half. Because of the short time period between games, Butts isn’t letting her team celebrate too much before tomorrow’s game.

“We’ll enjoy this victory until we get back to the hotel and then it’s time to prepare for ASU,” Butts said. “We just have to make sure we have our mental mindset right and I think that we will. Win or you go home. It’s that simple.”

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