Women's basketball hits road seeking redemption
Lili Steffen / The Daily Wildcat
Candice Warthen shoots the ball against Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday at the McKale Center.
Arizona women’s basketball heads on the road again to face the University of the Pacific Tigers on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Stockton, Calif.
The Wildcats (1-3) are coming off their third loss of the season and their fourth game in a row that has come down to the wire. Their most recent loss came at the hands of the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks on Wednesday in Arizona’s regular season home opener.
The Tigers (2-2) are on a two-game losing streak, and Saturday will mark their first game since Nov. 17, when they lost at Fordham with a score of 84-63. Pacific is led by junior forward Kendall Kenyon, who averages a team-leading 16.8 points per game to go along with 10.8 rebounds per game.
Kenyon will be the second straight dominant post player the Wildcats have faced, after playing against Stephen F. Austin’s junior center Porsha Roberts on Wednesday. Arizona held Roberts to five points and four rebounds in the game, which was well below her season averages of 17.8 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game.
Arizona will need a similar defensive effort against Kenyon if the team hopes to get its second win on the road this season.
UA junior guard Candice Warthen is coming off her worst statistical game of the season. The 5-foot-5 guard scored a season-low 15 points on 5-19 shooting and struggled to get open looks throughout the game against the Ladyjacks.
“It was disappointing,” Warthen said after the SFA loss. “We had like a 12-point lead at halftime, and we didn’t come out like we should have. It’s always tough when you can’t get the team going offensively. To top that off we were fouling too much and couldn’t make any plays. We just couldn’t get any stops; when you can’t get any stops and you can’t score it’s all bad.”
Offensive execution was a key concept in the post-game comments after the Wildcats’ last loss. The Wildcats shot a season-low 36.5 percent from the field, including converting only 18.5 percent of their field goals in the second half. Head coach Niya Butts said she knows the team has to do a better job offensively if it is to consistently win games this season.
“We didn’t run one offensive play all the way through,” Butts said after the SFA loss. “It wasn’t because they made us break them, but because we weren’t disciplined offensively. That leads to our 5-27 [field goal percentage] performance [in the second half] so hopefully we can go back to the film and learn from our mistakes. It’s one of those things where you need to tie your shoes back up tomorrow and be ready to play.”
Senior guard Carissa Crutchfield said they will get their energy back.
“We never came together, I guess, but we will come back,” Crutchfield said after the SFA loss.
— Follow Roberto Payne @RPsportreporter