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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    W-Hoops looks to put together win streak

    The brief two-game trip to Washington concludes on Saturday as the Wildcats take on Washington State. Arizona women’s basketball has struggled in Pacific 10 Conference play thus far, but Saturday’s match up in Pullman, Wash., should serve as an indicator for whether or not the Wildcats will lift themselves out of the conference basement at any point this season.

    The Cougars (8-11, 1-7 Pac-10), like the Wildcats, are in the bottom half of most of the conference’s statistical categories. WSU’s offense scores 63.2 points per game, and although that is seventh best on the conference, it’s seven points higher than last-place Arizona’s 55.9 points per game.

    The Wildcats (8-11, 1-7 Pac-10), however, do have a stingier defense as they allow nearly seven points per game less than Washington State’s 68.4.

    “”Our defense gives (us) a great opportunity to win,”” said UA head coach Niya Butts, “”but we haven’t helped ourselves out on the opposite end.””

    So how can Arizona take advantage of an average offense and a poor defense?

    For starters, they can give sophomore forward Ify Ibekwe, the conferences second-leading scorer, some support on offense. Freshman guard Reiko Thomas is almost at full strength after rolling her ankle two weeks ago, and her perimeter game has been severely missed.

    In addition to Thomas, senior forwards Amina Njonkou, Sarah Hays, and Beatrice Bofia should contribute on the scoreboard given their height. WSU is second to last in the conference in defensive rebounds, and given the aggression and persistence of the three forwards and the aforementioned Ibekwe, the Wildcats should be able to exploit the Cougar defense.

    Statistical breakdowns are a good start toward a teams’ preparation, and Butts and her staff are among the best at composing scouting reports. As is always the case, however, the game is not played on paper, and memorizing statistics doesn’t score points.

    As has been the case on the recent losing streak, the offense has been absent. In back to back games against UCLA and Arizona State, the Wildcats failed to score over 40 points. If they plan on competing on Saturday, they will need to break that barrier.

    “”It’s just a matter of putting the ball in the basket,”” Butts said.

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