Wildcats look to end losing skid against arch rival ASU
After losing two more Pac-12 conference games, the struggling Arizona women’s basketball team has the chance to make a quick turnaround after playing ASU tonight. The Wildcats (4-17, 0-10) travel to Tempe, Ariz. to take on rival No. 11 Arizona State (19-3, 8-2) at 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats haven’t won since December, having lost all 10 of their conference games so far and have yet another tough matchup with the Sun Devils.
The game will be on the Pac-12 Networks.
ASU comes in to the game near the top of the conference in several major statistical categories such as points per game (third with 75.3), field goal percentage (second with 43.9 percent) and assists per game (third with 15.55).
Carissa Crutchfield prepares to pass the ball to a teammate during the UA versus Oregon game on Friday, Jan. 31.
Arizona only has seven healthy players and must make sure everyone is ready to go for what should be a physical matchup against ASU.
“This next game is going to be very physical,” UA head coach Niya Butts said. “Everybody is playing a lot of minutes and we have to be able to manage that, which is difficult when there is so much stuff you want and need to do.”
Not only does Arizona have to manage minutes, but Butts and her coaching staff have to address a struggling offense during practice.
One area of concern is the team’s tendency to start slow. It’s not a coincidence that the Wildcats haven’t led at halftime since they defeated Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Dec. 29, which was their last win.
Over the past 10 games, Arizona has been down at halftime in each game by an average score of 10.2 points.
Interestingly, Arizona then picks up the slack in the second half. Over that same span of games, the Wildcats have been outscored in the second half on average by only 2.4 points per game.
Both players and coaches know that it’s tough to win games when they can’t put together a full game of basketball.
“You’re only going to win if you play two good, full halves,” senior guard Kama Griffitts said. “We need to stop doing that.”
Although the Sun Devils come in to this game on a four-game winning streak, their average margin of victory has been 2.5 points per game.
ASU is unique in the fact that they play close games because they don’t have a true star player and rely on their considerable depth.
Normally, having only one player average double-digit points would be an issue for most teams. However, ASU can withstand that because it has seven players who average 7.9 points per game or higher.
The Sun Devils have won five in a row in the series against the Wildcats, and the last 14 games against them in Tempe.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555