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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats blown out by UCLA

Angeline Carbajal

Arizona forward LaBrittney Jones (24) bypasses Stanford forward Erica McCall (24) while making a jump shot in McKale Center on Feb. 8. Jones returns for her junior season as a veteran leader for a determined Wildcat team.

Wildcats Swept by the Los Angeles Schools

It was a rough weekend for the Arizona women’s basketball team. It was beaten 67-57 by the USC Trojans Friday night and was then routed 73-39 by the No. 14 UCLA Bruins Sunday afternoon.

Arizona head coach Niya Butts said the team’s biggest issue isn’t a lack of effort, but its carelessness with the ball and its inability to hit shots. The team had a combined 46 turnovers in the two games, while shooting a combined 1-for-26 from behind the arc.

“I don’t know necessarily if it was so much about the effort … as it was not being able to make shots and just turning the ball over,” Butts said. “We have to cut down on turnovers.”

If there was any bright spot for the team this weekend, it was LaBrittney Jones. Jones had 17 points and 10 rebounds against USC and followed that up with a 12-point, four-rebound performance against UCLA.

“I think she’s been trying to step up to the plate as a leader, especially vocally, and we need her to do that and continue to do that,” Butts said.

Still, the Wildcats have lost six games in a row, dropping their record to 11-13 overall and 2-10 in the Pac-12 Conference.

“We’re frustrated of course, disappointed,” guard Malena Washington said after the team’s loss to USC. “But at the same time we still have the rest of the season and we still have games that we can win and we just need to finish strong and not give up.”

Taryn Griffey returns to the team

The turnovers have mounted for the Wildcats lately, but help in that area may be on the way. Redshirt freshman point guard Taryn Griffey, who took a leave of absence on Jan. 15, returned to the team this week.

When asked if Griffey’s return will help the team cut down on turnovers, Butts said “We certainly would like to think so. … And I think she will be a welcomed-back addition to our team in many ways, especially from the point guard standpoint.”

Griffey didn’t play in either of the two games against the Los Angeles schools, but she’ll be back in the lineup relatively soon.

“We’re happy to have her back and obviously she didn’t get an opportunity in this game, but she’ll be back with us barring anything crazy happening this week in terms of an injury or something like that,” Butts said. “We’re looking forward to having her back with the team.”

The point guard made 14 starts and was averaging 9 points per game, while shooting a team-high 43.3 percent from the 3-point line before she stepped away from the team.

“Another point guard will always help us and she does help us extend the defense by shooting 3s and knocking them down, so she’ll definitely help,” senior guard Keyahndra Cannon said.

Wildcats will head to the Bay Area

Arizona will look to snap its six-game losing streak on the road this weekend when it will take on the Stanford Cardinal and the California Golden Bears in the Bay Area.

Wins have been hard to come by lately, but Butts isn’t down on her team.

“I think the fact that we came out and continued to fight and continued to work shows that we’re still in it, we still have a lot to play for,” Butts said after the loss to UCLA.

Beating Stanford, a top-15 team, will prove to be difficult, but beating Cal is certainly possible. The Golden Bears, just like the Wildcats, sit at 2-10 in the conference, plus the Wildcats defeated them in McKale Center last month.

A second win over Cal would be much-needed and the hope is that the Wildcats can finish strong and wind up with a winning record.

“We have at least seven games left to go in the season and if you’re looking at the numbers, there’s a possibility that we could still finish .500 or better,” Butts said. “And so that’s our mindset. We’re not look at this thing as a loss right now. Hopefully next weekend we’ll have our roster back, minus Dejza [James], so we’re looking forward to that.”

The Wildcats will face Stanford Friday at 8:30 p.m., and will then head to Berkeley, California, to take on Cal Sunday at 1 p.m.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter.

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