Position breakdown

position breakdown (Marlee Kyles) rgb
Ian Green | The Daily Wildcat Arizona freshman Marlee Kyles (13) dribbles past two Iona defenders on Nov. 10 in McKale Center. Kyles scored a total of 17 points against Iona.

Point Guard

This is sophomore Lucia Alonso’s main position in the starting lineup, and should remain that way through the entire season. She is stable and a serviceable shooter when left open. Freshman Marlee Kyles will see significant minutes, but has been tasked to aid in pressure situations or score when put in that position in the early going. Freshman Sam Thomas, though not necessarily a point guard, has brought the ball up court from time to time as well.

Shooting Guard

If Kyles isn’t playing point, this is where she will find herself. She has proven to be one of the better options for head coach Adia Barnes this year, who has relied on her for scoring when times got stale. Freshman Sammy Fatkin will also see minutes at the two guard along with spot rotations from JaLea Bennett and Kat Wright. Junior guard Lindsey Malecha may be serviceable in this role as well, having seen some playing time early on in the season due to her work ethic and effort.

Small Forward

JaLea Bennett and Sam Thomas are the names here. Transfer Kat Wright can also see time at this spot, but because of the Wildcats’ lack of down-low presence, she will more likely be used in a stretch four position. Bennett is the lone senior to have been with the program her entire career — her experience, but more so her athleticism, will be key in Pac-12 play. Thomas may be the best all-around player on the team. She is a stat sheet-stuffer and has a knack for making heady plays, and her aptitude for getting others involved is essential this season.

Power Forward

This is a toss up between Kat Wright and junior Destiny Graham. Wright can shoot the three as good, if not better, than anyone on the team. When she gets it going, she can be as big of a threat as anyone in the country from outside. Graham is in her third year and provides consistency; the key here will be if she can stay tough enough in the post to keep the opposition from out-muscling her inside, offensively or defensively.

Center

Graham will be the defunct center for now, though considering definition even she would admit she isn’t one. Freshman Kiana Barkhoff was thought to be in play prior to the season, but she has yet to see the floor for more than two minutes in any game, seeing limited action against TCU a week ago. This is the biggest question mark for the undersized Wildcats by far; they simply don’t have any matchups for power players inside.

All in this together

In all, this team has talent, but the youth of the team may be too much to overcome unless Bennett and Wright explode for near 20 point efforts every night, especially once Arizona reaches conference play. But with an eye on the future, fans shouldn’t fret. Looking at this year in terms of player development as opposed to wins isn’t usually asked of the fan base, but this year it may be a necessity.



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