Arizona women's basketball sets off on Nor Cal roadtrip
The Arizona women’s basketball team (11-10, 3-7 Pac-12) is preparing for what will likely be the most challenging road trip of the season, with two top-5 opponents on the road. The Wildcats will play at No. 4 Stanford (20-2, 9-1) on Friday and at No. 6 Cal (19-2, 9-1) on Sunday.
The difficult road trip comes at a time of trials and tribulations for the Wildcats, who are currently ridding a five-game losing streak and have fallen to eighth in the conference standings.
It’s a completely different story in the Bay Area, as the Cardinal and Golden Bears are on top of the conference, cruising with six and seven game-winning streaks, respectively.
This weekend will be the only time during the regular season Arizona matchs up against Stanford and Cal. However, it is an excellent opportunity for the Wildcats to move up in the Pac-12 standings as well as add a big win or two to their regular season resume.
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA's Women's Basketball lost Sunday afternoon to Washington State University at Mckale Center.
Senior captain Davellyn Whyte and junior guard Kama Griffitts have been the scoring leaders all season for Arizona. The two are the only Wildcats currently averaging double digits in points, Whyte with 16.4 and Griffitts adding 12 points a game.
But Arizona as a team has struggled to make plays on offense and defense this season, especially down the stretch. The Wildcats are 11th in the conference in field goal percentage and 11th in field goal percentage defense. The only statistical categories where Arizona is in the top three are in free throw percentage (71 percent) and steals (9.95 per game), and many of those steals have become useless as the team has shot a low field goal percentage and averages the second-most turnovers per game (19.1).
This may make things tough against Stanford and Cal, as the two squads are either first or second in scoring offense, scoring defense and assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Wildcats will face a Stanford team that is attempting to defend its 2012 Pac-12 championship. The Cardinal is led by junior All-American Chiney Ogwumike, who is averaging 22.4 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.
Stanford has dominated Arizona in the past, winning 56 out of the 78 meetings between the two. The Wildcats’ last victory at Stanford came in 2001.
Sunday, Arizona will travel to Berkeley, Calif., to play the surging Golden Bears, who started their current seven-game winning streak with a 67-55 victory at Stanford on Jan. 13.
The Wildcats have had better luck against Cal in recent memory. Last season in Tucson the Golden Bears escaped McKale Center with a tight 78-74 overtime victory over Arizona, but Arizona holds a 26-19 edge in the all-time series.
Cal guards senior Layshia Clarendon and sophomore Brittany Boyd lead the Golden Bears with a combined 27.3 points per game.
A single victory on this road trip could spark a late-season run for the Wildcats, but as head coach Niya Butts said in October, the team will need to make plays, play scrappy and limit turnovers if they want to compete and make a run.