Junior Candice Warthen scored 23 points and two freshmen had career days as Arizona women’s basketball defeated Texas Tech, 65-56 at McKale Center on Sunday.
Warthen shot 9-of-13 from the field for a season-high 23 points and also grabbed eight rebounds. It marks the third game this season that she has scored 20 or more points.
Freshman LaBrittney Jones had a career day, posting the first double-double of her career with 12 points and 15 rebounds, including a 4-of-4 mark from the free throw line. Jones also added three blocks.
Freshman Breanna Workman also had a career day, posting seven points and a career-high 11 rebounds for the Wildcats.
“(LaBrittney and Breanna) are capable of going to the boards and rebounding that well,” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said. “Defensive rebounds are all about toughness, rarely is it about how much talent you have. We are capable of rebounding night in and night out it is just about your will, how bad you want it. I think our kids played like they wanted it today.”
Eight players grabbed at least two rebounds for Arizona, but the freshmen duo played a big part in UA’s 53-38 rebounding margin over the Lady Raiders.
Senior Kama Griffitts recorded 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists.
Senior Carissa Crutchfield and freshman Ashley Merrill also added four assists apiece.
“It was our mindset and attitudes, and it was a total team effort. We got the win together,” Warthen said. “Coach Niya [Butts] continuously kept saying that it’s about stops and rebounds and that’s what we did today, we got stops and rebounds.”
In the first half, the Wildcats rallied from a nine-point deficit in the first minutes to execute a 20-5 run of their own and lead, 30-24 going into the locker room.
Arizona came out on an 8-2 run to start the second half, but the Lady Raiders cut it to a two-point lead with 6:51 left in the game. UA bounced back, responding with a 7-0 run and Texas Tech could not close the gap.
“What was key in that comeback was not stopping after being down,” Jones said. “In past games, we start to give up after giving up buckets. Today, we kept the mindset of just staying positive and not losing the game.”
Minta Spears and Amber Battle led the Lady Raiders with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
“It obviously feels good to get a win, to finally finish down the stretch and to get stops down the stretch,” Butts said. “I thought this was a good team and a good win for us.”
The Wildcats will return to McKale on Saturday, Dec. 21 to host UC Riverside at 6 p.m.
For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona women’s basketball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com, or follow on Twitter @ArizonaWBBall.
Head coach Niya Butts
On the Wildcats win against Texas Tech…
“It obviously feels good to get a win, to finally finish down the stretch and to get stops down the stretch. I thought this was a good team and a good win for us.”
On continuing to fight when being behind…
“That has been our key problem, down the stretch and today they did a good job of staying together as a team. There was about a two minute span there where we started to hang our heads a little bit but we were able to hang tough and take it one play at a time, one possession at a time and we were able to finish.”
On LaBrittney Jones and Breanna Workman…
“They are capable of going to the boards and rebounding that well. Defensive rebounds are all about toughness, rarely is it about how much talent you have. We are capable of rebounding night in and night out it is just about your will, how bad you want it. I think our kids played like they wanted it today.”
Junior guard Candice Warthen
On individual performance…
“I struggled more mentally in the last couple of games. When I missed my first shot, it usually bothers me throughout the game. Today, I actually made my first one but either way, it would have affected me negatively like in the previous games. I had to focus mentally to focus on not giving up on shooting.”
On stopping Texas Tech’s comeback…
It was our mindsets and attitudes, and it was a total team effort. We got the win together. Coach Niya [Butts] continuously kept saying that it’s about stops and rebounds and that’s what we did today, we got stops and rebounds.
On LaBritteny Jones’ confidence on the free throw line…
“As a freshman, I was never really that confident especially in tight games like today, and that’s how it is for most freshmen. Fortunately, we have LaBrittney here.
On weathering Texas Tech’s second half comeback…
“I like the fact that we stuck together and did not fold. Usually when teams come back, we get quiet and moody, but today we handled it well. We stayed together as a team and knew what we had to do to get the win.”
Freshman forward LaBrittney Jones
On collecting 15 total rebounds…
“This week, we practiced hard. We focused on getting rebounds, and this week, I got my brace off. I felt good out there today coming into the game. “
On team coming back in the first half…
“What was key in that comeback was not stopping after being down. In past games, we start to give up after giving up buckets, but today, we kept the mindset of just keep going if we give up buckets and not losing the game.”
On converting free throws late in the game…
“I just go to the line and tell myself that I’m going to knock them down.”