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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats cruise to home opener victory over Howard 65-28


Courtesy of Colin Prenger/Arizona Athletics

Arizona sophomore guard JaLea Bennett (33) sidesteps a Howard defender during Arizona’s win in McKale Center Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Arizona women’s basketball brought in the home opener with a bang as the Wildcats demolished the Howard Bison 65-28 in McKale Center. With the win, Arizona improves to 2-0 on the season and are starting off the season strong as they push to make the tournament.

“Every win is special so this win is just as special as any other one,” said Jalea Bennett after the game. “We gotta take it and learn from it because each game we’re supposed to get better and better, so we gotta take it and learn from it.”

Bennett was the high scorer for the Wildcats with 18 points, while Michal Miller added 16 points off the bench. Point guard Taryn Griffey had seven points and four assists to go along with zero turnovers in a solid showing.

“Today she did not score as much, but we did not need her to either,” said Arizona head coach Niya Butts on the teams balanced effort. “Jahlea put points on the board, Micah put points on the board. She (Griffey) was steady. She got her teammates involved and had four assists and that’s the type of poise she’s going to bring us at the point guard spot.”

The Wildcats were also locked-in on defense as they held the Bison to 15% shooting from the field on only six makes. Victoria Gonzalez was their high scorer with 14 points, but she shot only 4-13 from the field and had six turnovers before she fouled out.

Gonzales was the only Howard player in double figures with the next highest scorers being Sydni Johnson and Shaylon Tarver with five points.

To put their impressive defensive performance into perspective, the Bison had five times as many turnovers as they had field goals Wednesday night. Despite this, Butts still believes there is room for improvement on this end.

“Defensively I know it may sound crazy but I wasn’t as pleased with our defense as the stat sheet might indicate,” said Coach Butts on the performance. “We held them to 15 percent, however they scored 28 points and 15 of those points came at the line.”

The Wildcats also scorched the net from deep as they went 9-15 from deep for a remarkable 60% of their three-pointers, while holding Howard to 14%.

This weekend, the Wildcats will attempt to keep the momentum going as they head to California to take on the University of San Diego. Afterwards, the UA will return to McKale Center to face Kansas Monday morning at 11 a.m. You can tune into the game on KTUC 1400 AM and TuneIn.

Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter.

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