Wildcats lose fourth straight conference game
A second-half comeback attempt was not enough to save the Arizona women’s basketball team from its fourth straight Pac-12 Conference loss on Sunday.
The USC Trojans (11-6, 4-1 Pac-12) defeated the Wildcats (4-11, 0-4 Pac-12) 54-45 on the same day former UA star Davellyn Whyte was inducted into the Arizona Ring of Honor.
Despite shooting 30.2 percent from the field, the Wildcats found a way to erase a 19 point USC second-half lead. After a 22-8 run, Arizona cut the lead to five points with 2:14 left in the second half.
However, the margin would go no lower, as the Wildcats failed to score for the remainder of the game and the Trojans converted 4-4 free throws to close out the game. USC was led by guard Alexyz Vaioletama, who finished with 16 points and 7 rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
“We had several opportunities to make plays at the end of the game and get [defensive] stops,” junior guard Candice Warthen said. “We couldn’t really execute. … We just got to be tougher.”
Throughout the game, Arizona struggled to consistently put points on the scoreboard, and its low shooting percentages showed that. Warthen led the team in scoring with 12 points, but only shot 4-for-12, 33.3 percent, on the game.
In addition to the offensive struggles, the Wildcats were out-rebounded by a 44-33 margin. Starting UA freshmen forwards Breanna Workman and LaBrittney Jones only had two rebounds total. To put that in perspective, the two starting USC forwards, Cassie Harberts and Kaneisha Horn, combined for 15 rebounds.
“We didn’t rebound at all,” Workman said. “That really makes me upset, because that’s my position and I have more pride in myself than that.”
Missed opportunities have been a constant theme throughout the season, and the team’s 2-4 record over the winter break is a reminder. “It’s very frustrating,” Butts said. “You have opportunities and you don’t capitalize.”
The USC loss is Arizona’s fourth straight loss to open 2014, and No. 4 Stanford and No. 19 California are next on the schedule. Both teams are a perfect 4-0 in conference play and will be Arizona’s two highest ranked opponents of the season so far.
“When you have Stanford and California coming up – both those teams are playing well,” Butts said. “There’s no time to harp on it; we have to prepare and make changes.”
Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555