Arizona women's basketball season ends
After a regular season full of turmoil and frustration, a loss in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament has officially ended the 2013-14 Arizona women’s basketball season. The Wildcats were defeated 59-54 by the USC Trojans on Thursday in Seattle.
“They played hard, even though we’ve been shorthanded for most of the season,” UA head coach Niya Butts said. “Today, we came in and we fought. We were physical, we met aggression with aggression and I thought we never quit.”
Arizona (5-25) started off the game by hitting four 3-pointers and shooting 40.7 percent from the field in the first half. Combine the hot shooting with some stingy defense, and the Wildcats held a 30-25 lead at the half.
However, as the second half progressed, the Arizona lead faded and the Trojans regained momentum. Leading USC was guard Ariya Crook, who scored 19 points with four rebounds and three assists.
Coach Niya Butts finished her sixth season with UA women's basketball with a final result of 5 in 25.
The Trojans’ leading scorer in the regular season, forward Cassie Harberts, struggled to score throughout the game en route to six points on 3-for-9 shooting. As a result, Crook stepped up when her team needed her most.
The Wildcats had three players in double-figures scoring, with seniors Kama Griffitts and Carissa Crutchfield scoring 13 and 12 points each. With only seven healthy players, the scoring of Griffitts and Crutchfield wasn’t enough to overcome the Trojans’ depth.
“We got pretty tired, but we just kept fighting,” Crutchfield said. “As a senior, you don’t want your last game to end.”
In essence, this defeat resembled what Arizona’s season has been like for quite a while now. The team would play one strong half and then one poor half en route to a single-digit loss. On the year, the Wildcats lost 13 games by single digits.
Looking forward, with three seniors graduating, Arizona has a long offseason ahead of them. The Wildcats will have to replace three of the team’s top four scorers and the leader in assists.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555