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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

W-hoops hopes to snap skid vs. ASU

The Wildcats and Sun Devils will renew their rivalry on Sunday when the women’s basketball teams will square off in a key conference matchup in McKale Center.

Riding a two-game winning streak, including a record-breaking win against Oregon last Saturday, Arizona (9-7, 3-3 Pacific 10 conference) looks to cap off their three-game home set with a Territorial Cup win.

“”We’ll need to start and finish strong and put together a complete 40-minute basketball game if we want to win,”” said UA head coach Niya Butts.

Arizona trails in the all-time series with the Sun Devils, 46-30, and has dropped the last eight meetings against ASU (11-6, 3-3).

However, this year promises to be a little different. A revamped Wildcat roster would like nothing more than to end the losing streak against their in-state rivals.

Although junior forward Soana Lucet has never experienced this rivalry, having transferred to Arizona this year, she understands its importance.

“”Of course, it’s ASU, we want to beat them,”” said Lucet after practice this week.

ASU was picked to finish second in the Pac-10 pre-season media poll, but stumbled out of the gate in conference play, losing its first three in a row to USC, UCLA and Washington.

The Sun Devils responded by winning their next three conference games and currently find themselves wedged in a three-way tie with Arizona and Washington for fifth place in the Pac-10.

“”You know they’re still ASU,”” Butts said. “”(Head coach Charli Turner Thorne) does a great job with her team; they are a great program.””

Three players have emerged among the Wildcat starting five, with freshman Davellyn Whyte leading the way, averaging a team-high 17.7 points per game — second in the conference. Juniors Ify Ibekwe and Lucet round out that trio, helping Arizona become the third-highest scoring team in the Pac-10.

With a starting five rounded out by senior point guard Ashley Frazier and sophomore guard Brooke Jackson, Arizona will have its hands full on offense? against one of the conference’s toughest defenses. 

ASU allows only 58.2 points per game to their opponents, and it is clear that the Wildcats will certainly not paste 119 points on the Devils like they did against Oregon less than a week ago. 

“”Their style of play is getting physical on the defensive end,”” said Butts. “”They’re aggressive, so we’re looking for that physical basketball game, and we’ve been adjusting to that in practice this week.””

Senior Danielle Orsillo and junior Becca Tobin lead the Sun Devil offense that focuses on scoring in the paint. However, if the Wildcats can limit ASU’s penetration — the Sun Devils shoot 29 percent from the three-point line — Arizona can attempt to turn around the losing streak against ASU.

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