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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


W-hoops welcomes Oregon State

Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women’s basketball team will kick off a three-game home stand in McKale Center tonight when they host Oregon State (9-4, 1-2 Pacific 10 Conference) in a conference matchup. The meeting with the Beavers begins Arizona’s reign at home, spanning a two-week period until Jan. 28 when the Wildcats travel to face the California Golden Bears.

At 7-7 and with a 1-3 conference record, Arizona finds itself glancing up at the Beavers in the Pac-10 standings. A win today, however, could vault the Wildcats from eighth to sixth place in conference play.

OSU has held the upper hand in recent meetings between the two teams, winning the last three matchups to push the series to a 26-26 split all-time.

Arizona is led by junior forward Ify Ibekwe, the face of the program, who ranks third in the nation in rebounding. She and freshman standout Davellyn Whyte, the team’s leading scorer, will look to build an early lead against the Beavers in hopes of helping the Wildcats regain the series lead.

“”(OSU) is a good team and we want to jump out early and get a lead and try to maintain that lead,”” said sophomore guard Brooke Jackson, who is second on the team in 3-pointers.

Jackson added that the team was working on pressure defense in practice in preparation for today’s matchup. The defensive scheme will likely focus on containing the Beavers’ leading scorer, Talisa Rhea, who averages 16.8 points per game.

“”We want to play good defense from the beginning and keep the pressure on them,”” Jackson said.

Arizona enters this matchup averaging just over 18 turnovers per game, a number that head coach Niya Butts would like to see her team lower in upcoming games. A negative turnover ratio is something that plagued Arizona last season when they averaged 17.6 per game.

Taking care of the ball will be important against OSU’s stingy defense, which has held its opponents to a lowly 54.1 points a game.

Each team features an impressive perimeter attack, with the Wildcats boasting two main threats from the outside — Jackson and Whyte — and the Beavers shooting above 30 percent as a team from beyond the arc.

The Wildcats will look to get a boost from their 3-point shooting in order to start off their home stand in the right way.

In thinking about preparation for the game, Jackson added, “”We really want to stay mentally tough.””

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