Arizona women's basketball looks to end three-game skid
Wildcats need to play more aggressive
The Arizona women’s basketball team (11-8, 3-5 Pac-12) will look to end its three-game losing streak Friday night at 7 p.m. as it hosts Washington (14-5, 6-2) in McKale Center.
The Wildcats enter Friday’s matchup coming off consecutive road losses to No. 21 Colorado, No. 19 UCLA and most recently, USC. In those three games, Arizona lost by an average of 25.3 points, only making 27 percent of its shots. The Wildcats were also out-rebounded by those three opponents by an average of 6.7 per game.
“We’ve got to play more physical,” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said following the Wildcats’ 73-57 loss to UCLA last week. “I’m not happy with our effort.”
Prior to this season, Butts called this year’s group of girls the most athletic Arizona team she had coached since being named head coach in 2008. She stressed that they would need to play aggressive full-court defense and score points off turnovers in order to compete day in and day out.
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So far this season, she hasn’t been happy with her team’s effort on either side of the ball.
Friday, the Wildcats will welcome a Huskies team that is currently riding a four-game winning streak in which it beat up on three of the bottom four teams in the Pac-12 conference.
Washington defeated Arizona 76-65 during the opening weekend of conference play on Jan. 6. That day, the Wildcats were down big early in the second half but fought back by playing more aggressively and forcing turnovers. However, the deficit was too large and the effort too late for Arizona to capture the road victory.
“If we played the whole game like we played the last 12 minutes in the second half, we win the game,” Butts said in a press release following the loss to Washington. “Once we started being aggressive and attacking the rim, we got to the foul line, and we have got to continue to do that.”
In its first matchup against Washington, Arizona’s senior captain, Davellyn Whyte, led the Wildcats with what was her second double-double of the season, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Arizona also had contributions that day from junior guard/forward Kama Griffitts, who scored 10 points and had four steals in the Wildcats’ 11 point loss. Griffitts missed four consecutive games for Arizona due to personal reasons but returned for the game against UCLA. Sophomore Layana White started in Griffitts’ absence and hasn’t given up the starting role since she was inserted on Jan. 11 against Oregon State.
In her six games as a starter, White has averaged 6.8 points, butshe didnt score against USC. Since her return, Griffitts has averaged 33 minutes coming off the bench and has scored an average of 16 points per game.
Both White and Griffitts will be expected to be aggressive and help the Wildcats improve in the Pac-12 standings Friday night. The Wildcats are currently in seventh place in the conference, four games behind Pac-12 leader Stanford (18-2, 7-1).
“We need to get back to playing our style — defensively,” Butts said.