Arizona women's basketball wins first exhibition
Aggressive defense by Wildcats forces 33 turnovers
John Routh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
UA vs. Grand Canyon University women’s basketball
The Arizona women’s basketball team defeated Grand Canyon University Monday night at McKale Center by a score of 81-55.
“It’s always good to get a win under your belt and play someone different,” head coach Niya Butts said. “I thought we played hard for the most part as a team. We came out really aggressive and although we created turnovers we turned over the ball ourselves offensively.”
Throughout the game Arizona struggled with turnovers, committing a total of 20. Early on, the Wildcats had a hard time scoring in the post and relied heavily on outside jump shots and free throws.
However, the Wildcats were able to maintain a solid double-digit lead, and led 42-20 at halftime.
Arizona and its aggressive full court defense set the tempo mid-way through the first half and the rest of the game. Davellyn Whyte stood out for Arizona, scoring 27 points, along with four assists and eight steals.
“Our press and half court defense forced a lot of turnovers and we feel pretty good about that effort,” Butts said. “But we took our foot off the gas for a little bit and they were able to make a run.”
In the beginning of the second half the Wildcats lost Whyte for six minutes due to injury, and during that time the Wildcats struggled to find the rhythm they had in the first half. Even after Whyte’s return, Arizona struggled with turnovers and rebounds. With nine minutes left in the game the Wildcats saw their 22-point halftime lead shrink to 13.
“We didn’t have the same intensity in the beginning of the second half,” Butts said. “And we can’t have those moments. Great teams play that way the whole time.”
In the second half, Arizona saw more production from junior transfer forward Alli Gloyd, who finished the game with 14 points and four rebounds.
“It was nice getting out there in the swing of game mode,” Whyte said. “I didn’t do as well as I’d liked to on defense and that’s our focus this year, so gotta step it up.”
Even though Arizona leaned heavily on Whyte, Butts was satisfied with the play of sophomore Layana White and freshman Keyahndra Cannon.
“I was very, very pleased with Cannon’s performance,” Butts said. “She (Layana White) went hard and took good shots. Last year she would take bad shots and some quick shots so that was good to see.”
In the final two minutes, senior forward Cheshi Poston presence was felt down low as she blocked a shot, grabbed a couple of rebounds and scored two consecutive baskets to seal the win for the Wildcats.“It’s always good to get the first win under your belt,” Butts said. “But we got to stop turning the ball over, period. If we stop turning the ball over it will help us out a lot offensively.”