Arizona women's basketball hits the Oregon trail
After two more conference losses last week, the Arizona women’s basketball team hits the road to take on the Oregon State Beavers on Friday at 8 p.m. MST and the Oregon Ducks on Sunday at 2 p.m. MST.
The Wildcats (5-22, 1-15 Pac-12 Conference) have already locked in the 12th seed in the Pac-12 tournament but still could use all the momentum they can get. A win over one or both the Oregon schools could be a kick starter for the tournament.
Oregon State (19-9, 11-5), which is first on the schedule, defeated the Wildcats 64-50 on Feb. 2 in McKale Center in the first meeting between the teams this season.
Throughout conference play, with the exception of the ASU game, the Wildcats have failed to put together two full halves of basketball on a regular basis. They either play a good first half and a bad second half, or vice versa.
Senior guard Kama Griffitts steals the ball during the first half of Arizona's 61-56 loss against Colorado in McKale Center on Sunday. Griffitts will play her last regular season games as a Wildcat this weekend.
“At times we’ll have really good defensive moment and at times we’ll have really good offensive moments,” senior guard Kama Griffitts said. “We just need to learn to balance them both out.”
Oregon (13-14, 4-12), which is second on the schedule, defeated the Wildcats 84-72 on Jan. 31 in McKale Center in the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Ducks were led by the two-headed monster of forward Jillian Alleyne and guard Chrishae Rowe. Alleyne had 29 points and 20 rebounds and Rowe had 24 points and 5 rebounds.
The Ducks dominate the Pac-12 with 93.3 points scored per game and are near the top of the conference in several other offensive categories, including free-throw percentage and assists.
Stopping their high-powered offense is easier said than done, but it has to be the main priority for the Wildcats.
However, the feasibility of stopping Oregon with only seven healthy players isn’t great, especially considering Oregon regularly plays 10 or 11 total players and thus can always have fresh bodies on the court.
Arizona’s best shot might be to attempt to outscore the Ducks, which is definitely possible seeing as Oregon allows a Pac-12-worst 89.6 points per game. That means many more 3-point attempts than the eight 3-pointers Arizona attempted in the first meeting between the teams.
If Griffitts or redshirt junior guard Candice Warthen can hit a couple shots and get into an early offensive groove, Arizona might be able to get enough offensive momentum to pull out the win on the road.
“We just need to pull ourselves up and together and just stay mentally there,” senior forward Erica Barnes said. “It’s not the end.”
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne