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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Women’s hoops looks to end losing streak

Tyler+Baker+%2F++Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AUAs+Womens+Basketball+lost+Sunday+afternoon+to+Washington+State+University+at+Mckale+Center.
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA’s Women’s Basketball lost Sunday afternoon to Washington State University at Mckale Center.

The Arizona women’s basketball team (11-12, 3-9 Pac-12) will look to end its current seven-game losing streak this weekend as it hosts No. 21 Colorado (18-5, 7-5) tonight and Utah (13-10, 4-8) on Sunday.

“I think we’ve just been getting frustrated,” Wildcats head coach Niya Butts said about her team’s low shooting percentage during the seven-game skid, “but never had a lack of confidence.”

Arizona’s losing streak started on Jan. 20 when the Wildcats lost 79-36 to the same Colorado team, but in Boulder, Colo.

“That game was a throwaway,” Butts said.

In its previous battle with the Buffs, Arizona played without its second-leading scorer, Kama Griffitts, and shot a dismal 25 percent. The Wildcats defense also didn’t show up as Colorado shot 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded Arizona 51-26.

Since the 43-point loss, the Wildcats have played three ranked opponents on the road, including No. 4 Stanford and No. 6 California.

However, there is some encouragement for Arizona this weekend. In Sunday’s game, the Wildcats had one of their best offensive showings of the season in a losing effort on the road to California. Arizona shot 50 percent and made 20-22 free throws.

“I think there’s reason for optimism after [Sunday],” Butts said. “I saw substantial improvement from Friday’s game to Sunday.”

In last Friday’s game against Stanford, the Wildcats struggled to find the bottom of the net. Furthermore, Arizona’s leading scorer, Davellyn Whyte, was held to a season low of six points. But the Wildcats did play tough defense, forcing 19 turnovers against the Cardinal, a season high for Stanford.

That being said, Arizona’s Achilles’ heel against California was its 21 offensive turnovers. To make matters worse, the Wildcats only forced 13 turnovers.

“We definitely turned the ball over too much,” Butts said about their loss to California, “but I saw confidence.”

Tonight, Arizona will play a Colorado team that is similar to California. The Wildcats will need to be better in their all-around game in order to compete with the Buffs. It will be crucial for the Wildcats to chase down boards and use their athleticism to get second-chance opportunities, as the Buffs have the second best scoring defense in the Pac-12, behind Stanford.

But maybe most importantly, Arizona can’t turn the ball over.

“We have to minimize our mistakes,” Butts said, “especially against teams that are good at taking advantage of them.”

Chucky Jeffery is Colorado’s leading scorer and is a double threat, averaging 8.6 rebounds per game.

We’ve got to contain her [Jeffery],” Butts said. “I feel pretty good coming into this game, but we can’t hit the panic button.”

Arizona won’t leave the state for the rest of the regular season. The Wildcats have six remaining games, including Friday’s. Five are at home, and Arizona’s only road game is Feb. 24 at ASU.

Arizona currently sits in ninth in the conference, but is only four games behind the fifth-place Buffaloes.

“I think we should feel pretty good about our last game, and hopefully we carry that on to each game,” Butts said.

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