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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Sophomore stands out in exhibition

Tim Glass
Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Some players have an immediate impact on a team. For Arizona, junior college transfer Brooke Jackson was the most impressive of the new additions for head coach Niya Butts in the Wildcats’ 75-60 exhibition game win over Ft. Lewis College in McKale Center.

The sophomore guard started off the game, and the season, by hitting a three just 13 seconds in. She registered her first double-double as a Wildcat.

“”Brooke Jackson did a wonderful job. She had 17 (points) and 11 (rebounds) in her first outing and you can’t beat that,”” Butts said. “”Especially from the perimeter from her position. She’s just going in there working for rebounds and making basketball plays.””

Jackson had seven points at the half and added 10 more in the second half to lead in Wildcat scoring. It wasn’t just her stats that made her play impressive. Jackson was constantly on the court, scrambling for the loose ball and grabbing the rebounds that no one else could seem to find.

“”It was so much fun being able to play together was a whole team,”” Jackson said. “”We have had a couple injuries so far and haven’t really had a chance to play together as a family unit so tonight was awesome.””

Junior Ify Ibekwe continued to perform at her usual level, recording a double-double with 14 rebounds and 11 points in just 24 minutes.

The exhibition game gave Butts the opportunity to implement her new quick-paced style of offense. The players responded, scoring 14 fast break points.

The Wildcats used an uptempo style of play in the first five minutes of the game to take a 10-0 lead in less than two minutes. Arizona would keep the Ft. Lewis Skyhawks, a Division II team, at bay until the Skyhawks went on an 18-9 run that took the next eight minutes off the clock.

The Wildcats began to play slower, and Ft. Lewis caused a number of turnovers to keep up with the Wildcats. Several missed shots and sloppy play slowed down Arizona’s offense.

The Wildcats walked into the locker room down by 33-31, but would respond coming out of the half. They tied the game quickly at 33 points a piece before once again falling behind as much as six points.

“”We fought back in the second half and came out and played the way we want to play. We calmed down a little bit and picked up our defense,”” Butts said. “”I was really proud of the way we fought back. I thought we had a really balanced attack.””

Arizona had a scare midway through the second half. Ibekwe tweaked her right ankle while fighting for the rebound in the post. She would return two minutes later, and her effect was felt immediately. Though limping slightly, she blocked two shots on two consecutive Ft. Lewis possessions, giving way to senior Ashley Frazier and the rest of the Wildcat guards.

The combination of hustle and quick shots bailed the Wildcats out of their scoring drought. With 11:44 left in the game, Arizona went on a 16-0 run, stalling the Skyhawks point total at 49 for seven minutes.

After building a comfortable lead, the Wildcats closed out the half by continuing its fast-tempo offense. The hustle and quick passes allowed all five Arizona starters, including transfer Soana Lucet, freshman Davellyn Whyte to hit double figures.

“”I was really excited to see people step up and score,”” Butts said. “”We have a lot of different piece that we have to this puzzle.””

The Wildcats will take on Grand Canyon University on Sunday at 1 p.m. for their second and final exhibition game at home before heading across the country to participate in the Iona College Tip-Off Tournament in New Rochelle, N.Y.

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