Women's hoops hosts high scoring Ducks
Eight straight losses and a shortened bench have put the Arizona women’s basketball team (4-15, 0-8 Pac-12 Conference) in a situation that head coach Niya Butts does not like but has to tolerate.
“Right now, it’s about us managing minutes as much as you can,” Butts said. “It’s difficult to manage minutes when you only got seven [players], but we got to try to do that the best we can.”
With only seven active players, and at 0-8 in Pac-12 play, there is no room for the team to wait for results to occur. The time to step up is now.
The Oregon Ducks (11-8, 2-6) come to McKale Center this Friday at 7 p.m. and will bring a fast-paced style of play.
Members of the UA women's basketball team huddle during the game against Stanford on Jan. 17.
Oregon is averaging 95.9 points per game, which is 15.6 points more than Stanford, the second-leading scoring team in the conference at 80.3 points per game.
“[Oregon’s] style of play is a little different than ours,” senior guard Kama Griffitts said. “Knowing that we beat them last year definitely gives us confidence.”
Luckily for Arizona, Oregon gives up a Pac-12 worst 89 points per game and should give the Wildcats plenty of opportunities to score. All they have to do is capitalize on those chances.
The Wildcats, who are averaging a Pac-12 worst 59.5 points, have really struggled to score in conference play. In their eight Pac-12 conference games, Arizona is averaging only 54.6 points per game.
A lack of execution is one major reason why the Wildcats are struggling to put points on the scoreboard. Far too often, an Arizona possession ends in a rushed shot as the shot clock winds down.
“We have to execute offensively,” Butts said. “We have to take our time, most of all. I think sometimes we get out of control and we’re not as poised as we need to be on the offensive end.”
On the other hand, Oregon has no problems putting points on the scoreboard. Oregon guard Chrishae Rowe and forward Jillian Alleyne each average 21.4 points per game. By comparison, Arizona is led in scoring by junior guard Candice Warthen and her 12.1 points per game.
Defense hasn’t been an issue for the Wildcats so far this season, but when two Oregon players combine to score more than 40 points, that could easily change in Friday’s game.
Butts has preached defense all season, and getting a win against Oregon could be the jump-start the team needs to finish out the remaining games on a positive note.
After facing Oregon, the Wildcats take on the Oregon State Beavers (12-8, 4-4) on Sunday at noon in McKale Center. The game can be seen on the Pac-12 Networks.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555