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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Building momentum

After a come-from-behind victory at Oregon State, the Arizona women’s basketball team returns home to Tucson tonight at 7 for its final nonconference battle against the Cal State Northridge Matadors.

Regardless of its nonconference status, this game will still prove crucial to the Wildcats (12-11, 6-7 Pacific 10 Conference). The prospect of having its first winning season since the 2004-05 campaign has Arizona pumped as the season winds down.

The Matadors (4-18, 2-9 Big West Conference) are fresh off a season sweep of conference rival Cal State Fullerton and come into the McKale Center gearing for an upset.

“”This is a team that we haven’t seen before,”” said Arizona head coach Niya Butts. “”They are going to be presenting something different, and we have to be focused and ready to play.””

Even though its record and conference standing is weak, Northridge is still a threat that can consistently put points on the board. Center Jasmine Erving put up a career-high 27 points and 10 rebounds against Fullerton, which led to a Matador victory.

Regardless of its momentum and the opponent’s standing, Arizona must come into the contest with victory on its mind. Butts said a lack of focus would lead to costly mistakes and turnovers that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

“”We have to make sure that we are focused on Northridge and not looking ahead to ASU because it’s a conference game,”” Butts said.

The Wildcats need to continue to run the quick transition offense and need to focus on getting the ball to their playmakers.

Arizona forward Soana Lucet, who is currently averaging 13.5 points per game, only managed to shoot for eight points during Saturday’s contest at Oregon State.

Lucet was proud of her team’s effort and her individual defensive performance, adding that her ability to take charges really put defensive pressure on Oregon State.

“”I know we have so much more to do, but we have started to come together,”” Lucet said. “”We can be so much better.””

The Wildcats are currently seventh in the Pac-10. However, with Oregon, California and USC all tied for third place with only a 7-5 conference record, Butts and company can have a little more confidence about finishing higher in the standings.

A win tonight will put the Wildcats in a better mindset to finish out the rest of their conference schedule.

“”We have to start from the jump,”” Lucet said. “”We are going to control the game, this is our game.””

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