Arizona women's basketball prepares for final two games of season
After back-to-back heartbreaking losses to rival Arizona State, the Wildcats (12-15, 4-12 Pac-12) will look to take advantage of their final two games at home to improve their record and move up in the conference standings.
Currently sitting in 10th place in the conference standings, the Wildcats are hosting ninth-place USC (8-19, 5-11) tonight and third-place, No. 17 UCLA (21-6, 12-4) on Sunday.
With an almost 0 percent chance of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, Arizona will need to win, or at least have a strong showing in the conference tournament, in order to reach the big dance.
Not only are these the final two games of the season and two important games for conference standings, they will also be the last games seniors Davellyn Whyte and Cheshi Poston play as Wildcats in McKale Center.
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA's Women's Basketball lost Sunday afternoon to Washington State University at Mckale Center.
Sunday, the two will be honored for their accomplishments before the game. While both have achieved a lot at Arizona, neither of the seniors have made a trip to the NCAA tournament.
As her final season comes to a close, it’s clear that Whyte has left a lasting imprint on the program. On Feb. 19, Whyte finished a double overtime loss to the Sun Devils with 31 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, the first triple-double in Arizona women’s basketball history.
Just five days later, against the same ASU team, Whyte finished the game with 18 points to give her 2,007 for her career, making her only the second woman in Wildcat history to score over 2,000 career points. Adia Barnes (1995-98), who scored 2,237 points in her four years in Tucson, was the first.
Also in that game, the point forward fell just three assists shy of another triple-double. Friday, Whyte will be honored before the game for her 2,000 career points.
Since Whyte became a Wildcat in 2009, she has led the team in scoring and improved her season total every year.
However, as of right now, Whyte is not on pace to surpass her 2011-12 total of 544 points. Whyte needed 684 points this year to pass Barnes’ career record. The 684 points would have been the most points scored in a single season by an Arizona women’s basketball player as well, a record also set by Barnes.
But Whyte has always been more worried about the team’s accomplishments than her own. Entering their final season, Whyte, Poston and head coach Niya Butts made it clear that getting the seniors to their first NCAA tournament was one of the most important goals for the season.
With just two games left on the schedule, it will be up to the team to help the two graduating Wildcats accomplish that goal.
Throughout the season, Butts has talked about how the team hasn’t made or finished plays when it mattered most.
This weekend, the Wildcats have an opportunity to end the season strong as they host a Trojan team that is currently riding an eight-game losing streak and a nationally ranked Bruins team that could potentially face Arizona in the first or second round of the conference tournament as it did last season.
The Wildcats upset the Bruins 61-57 in the first round before falling to ASU in the second round.