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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s hoops dominates final exhibition game

    The final tune-up before the start of the season for the Arizona women’s basketball team couldn’t have gone any smother, as the Wildcats routed Grand Canyon 118-58 in McKale Center.

    Granted, their opponent was a Division II team, but with one week to go before the season opener, there were several positives that came out of their last exhibition game of the year.

    “”We try to set goals for every game,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”For Grand Canyon, this is obviously a tough game for them, but I was really pleased with the way we started the game with our intensity.””

    Arizona started with a 9-0 scoring run in the opening 1:50, which paved the way for a big lead that the Wildcats held for the entire game.

    “”I think we started the game really well, but then there were moments and there were lapses,”” Bonvicini said. “”My goal is to keep the intensity up for 40 minutes.””

    The team had six players with double figures in scoring and three players with double-doubles – center Suzy Bofia and forwards Amina Njonkou and Rheya Neabors.

    Bofia, who started at center due to her twin sister Beatrice’s sprained knee, was the highlight of the game, compiling a game-high 19 rebounds to complement her 17 points.

    “”Suzy inside just dominated on the boards,”” Bonvicini said. “”With Suzy, the thing I like the most – actually I like a lot of things – but I like her second jump, and I think she just anticipates well.

    “”She had a great shot,”” the coach added of an unlikely shot that fell for Bofia. “”I still don’t know how she made it from behind the backboard.””

    After the game Bofia joked with Bonvicini about that shot, telling the coach she practiced had practiced it, and added that now she is much more comfortable on the court than when she started as a junior college transfer.

    “”I’m pretty much confident now,”” Bofia said, “”but I miss my sister out there.””

    Suzy may have missed her sister, Beatrice, who remains out with a knee injury, but the team is glad to have someone who is equally as dominant on the floor.

    “”We have a deep bench,”” Bonvicini said. “”We have a number of different weapons from shooting from the outside or scoring from the inside.””

    The team has also been very pleased with the progress of another set of twins, in the Neabors twin tandem of Rheya and Rhaya. Rheya finished the night with 17 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes.

    “”I think Rheya just wants to contribute,”” Bonvicini said. “”As a freshman, everyone wants to start, but I think she’s in a good position right now because she doesn’t feel the pressure, and I don’t want her to feel any pressure. I just want her to adjust.””

    Said Rheya: “”I think I’m doing well. I’m just doing what I can to help my team win and just do my best.””

    Rhaya chipped in nine points and two rebounds.

    Arizona out-rebounded Grand Canyon 56-27, and tacked on 19 steals from 37 Antelope turnovers. The Wildcats also finished with 27 assists, but also turned the ball over 23 times.

    Despite a very strong showing in preseason, with the team winning both exhibition games, Bonvicini said there is still a lot of work to be done before the season opener a week from tonight in McKale Center against Nicholls State.

    “”I’m glad we’re going to have a week to prepare for our first official game,”” Bonvicini said. “”No. 1, we just have to take care of the ball a little better. I was not happy on our turnovers, and I wasn’t happy with our zone. We haven’t worked on it a lot, but we’re going to have to work on it now.

    “”There are obviously a few more wrinkles we have to put in,”” she added. “”I know we’re going to be tested here in a hurry, but we just want to continue to get better.””

    Beatrice Bofia still out

    The other half of the junior college transfer twins, Beatrice Bofia, is still out after spraining her knee in last week’s Red-Blue Game. The timetable for her return is uncertain, but Bonvicini said she is rehabilitating the knee twice a day.

    “”I’m not sure about next week – we’ll see,”” Bonvicini said. “”She’s very focused and has improved tremendously and she wants to get back out there and play, so we’re just going to wait.

    “”When she’s ready, we’ll see how she does,”” she added. “”We won’t play Beatrice until she’s ready.””

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