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Cats Host Stanford in Home Finale
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/26/2010
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 26, 2010

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Date: Saturday, February 27, 2010

Time: 3:00 p.m. (MT)

Location: Olson Court, McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.

Radio: KTUC AM 1400 (Derrick Palmer, Alysiah Bond)

Tip Off Time: The Wildcats make their 2009-10 swan song in McKale Center on Saturday, February 27 when they wrap up the home portion of the schedule against #2-ranked and 6-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford at 3:00 p.m.

Catch the Action: Entering his third season calling Arizona women's basketball games will be Derrick Palmer. He will be joined by Alysiah Bond, the Arizona women's basketball director of operations and former collegiate point guard at The Ohio State University. Wildcat games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400. All broadcasts will start 15 minutes prior to tip-off for the pre-game show. Please visit www.arizonawildcats.com for all of your live stats, audio and video needs. Live stats will also be availabe with a link posted on the Arizona women's basketball schedule page.

Coaches Show: The Niya Butts Show will broadcast once again this Monday evening on the flagship station for Arizona women's basketball, KTUC AM 1400 in Tucson, starting at 7:00 p.m. Play-by-play man Derrick Palmer will host the show and ask questions to Arizona's 2nd-year head coach about the most recent games as well as the upcoming opponents and get her opinions about the play of the Wildcats. The show will broadcast from the Jim Click Hall of Champions on the northwest end of McKale Center.

Series Notes: Stanford has a 51-12 all-time record against Arizona dating back to their first-ever encounter on January 3, 1979. The Cardinal have won 15-straight meetings between the two teams, starting with a 51-46 win over the Wildcats in the 2004 Pac-10 Tournament championship game.The Wildcats did, however, give the Cardinal two of their tougher games last season that included just a three-point loss in Palo Alto. Of its 12 all-time wins against the Cardinal, eight of those wins have come in McKale Center. Arizona is 8-20 all-time in Tucson against Stanford.

Scouting the Cardinal: Stanford clinched its 6th-straight outright Pac-10 title with its win at Arizona State on Thursday night and has won 17-straight games since suffering its only loss of the season at top-ranked Connecticut on December 23. The Cardinal possess the 2nd-best offense in the Pac-10 at 78.7 points per game, but also deploy the stingiest defense in allowing just 55.1 points per outing. Nnemkadi Ogwumike leads the Cardinal in scoring at 18.1 points per game and is shooting 64.2 percent from the field while Kayla Pedersen contributes 16.1 points and 9.0 rebounds. All-American Jayne Appel also provides 14.4 points and a team-leading 9.9 rebounds per contest. Head coach Tara VanDerveer is in her 23rd seasno at the Stanford helm and 30th overall and is 17 wins shy of reaching 800 for her career.

Head Coach Niya Butts: Second-year head coach Niya Butts took over the Arizona program on April 3, 2008 and has been leaving her mark everyday since. Butts came to Tucson after spending five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Kentucky. During her time with the Wildcats, she helped guide the team to a 88-72 record (.550) that included three WNIT appearances and a berth in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Prior to her time in Lexington, Butts was an assistant coach at Michigan State during the 2002-03 season. That year, the Spartans made their first NCAA appearance in six seasons after posting an overall record of 17-12. She began her coaching career at Tennessee Tech, leading the Golden Eaglettes to back-to-back Ohio Valley Conference regular season titles in 2001 and 2002.

Butts is one of many head coaches in the NCAA ranks who played for the legendary Pat Summitt at the University of Tennessee, graduating in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in social work and a minor in psychology. A four-year letterwinner with the Lady Vols, Butts was a two-time NCAA champion (1997, 1998), three-time winner of the SEC championship (1998, 1999, 2000) and was chosen the SEC Defensive Player of the Year after her 1997 freshman campaign. She also excelled in the classroom and was three times named an Academic All-SEC selection (1998, 1999, 2000).

Last Time Out: For the second-straight game, Arizona saw itself with a lead late in the game before running out of gas as it dropped a 58-52 decision to California on Thursday evening. Trailing by three points at the half, the Wildcats used a quick 5-0 spurt late in the game to claim a 49-48 advantage on a three-pointer by Ashley Frazier. However, the Golden Bears scored the next eight points over a 4:27 span to stake a 56-49 cushion with 1:27 remaining. Arizona committed just 13 turnovers in the game, but 10 of those came in the second half and California turned those miscues into 15 points. The Golden Bears also earned a 40-30 advantage on the boards, including 14 offensive rebounds that led to 15 second-chance points. Gennifer Brandon led a bench effort that produced 33 points by tallying game-highs of 15 points and 14 rebounds while Natasha Vital added 12 points and 3 assists. Ify Ibekwe led Arizona with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Soana Lucet added 12 points and Davellyn Whyte chipped in with 10 points.

Last Time Out for Stanford: The Cardinal clinched their 6th-straight outright Pac-10 title with a 62-43 win at Arizona State on Thursday evening. Senior center Jayne Appel hit 8-of-13 shots to tally a game-high 19 points while also hauling in 8 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and 3 steals. Kayla Pedersen added 12 points and Jeanette Pohlen tossed in 11 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. Stanford was an even 50 percent (27-of-54) from the floor and survived 21 turnovers by limiting Arizona State to just 16-of-52 (.308) shooting from the field.

Statistical Comparison: Stanford sits near the top of the Pac-10 statistical reports in nearly every category, leading the league in scoring defense, scoring margin, free throw percentage, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense, 3-point field goal percentage defense, blocked shots and assists. The Wildcats rank among the top teams in the conference in field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense. The Cardinal also own the top rebounding margin in the conference at plus-13.0 per game while the Wildcats allow almost one full rebound more to its opponents than it collects per contest.

Looking Ahead: With just three regular season games remaining for 2009-10, Arizona is still battling for an all-important bye in the opening round of the 2010 State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament to be staged at the Galen Center on the USC campus from March 11-14. The Wildcats are currently one game behind Oregon in the league standings. The top six teams in the final standings get an extra day of rest and have just three games to win to capture the championship. However, the 7th place finisher must play on Thursday evening against the 10th place team, adding an extra game and fatigue to an already daunting task.

Milennium Milestone: With a 17-foot jumper at the 2:20 mark of the first half on February 6 against Washington, junior forward Ify Ibekwe became the 16th player in Arizona history to record 1,000 career points. She currently sits in 15th place with 1,054 points and will move into 14th position ahead of Kim Conway with seven points against the Golden Bears on Thursday night. The last player to join the 1,000-point club was Ashley Whisonant, who reached that career milestone against Oregon State in the semfinal round of the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament.

Selective Company: Ibekwe became the 9th active player in the Pac-10 and 7th player this season to achieve 1,000 points for her career with her 17-point performance against Washington. This Saturday's game sets up a matchup between three of the club's members in Ibekwe and both Jayne Appel and Kayla Pedersen of Stanford. Pedersen, Danielle Orsillo of Arizona State, Sami Whitcomb of Washington, Talisa Rhea of Oregon State and both Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks from Oregon have also joined the 1,000-point club during the 2009-10 campaign.

Building Blocks: Measuring progress is a subjective task, but the Arizona coaching staff must feel like it is moving in the right direction after completing its second weekend sweep of the season with the win over Washington. Arizona has already eclipsed its Pac-10 win total from a year ago, marking the first time the Wildcats have won more than four conference games since the 2004-05 campaign. Arizona has bested its overall win total from each of the past four campaigns.

Changing of the Guard: After fielding the same starting lineup in 18-of-19 games to start the season, Arizona head coach Niya Butts has changed things for each of the past seven contests, inserting sophomore guard Reiko Thomas in place of fellow sophomore guard Brooke Jackson. Looking to both reward Thomas for excellent play of late as well as give Jackson a chance to energize the team as a reserve, Thomas has averaged 9.1 points in those seven games, shooting 44 percent from the field while averaging 5.6 rebounds and connecting on 26-of-31 free throw attempts.

Action Jackson: A shift to the bench is not always a bad thing as Brooke Jackson has demonstrated since exiting the starting lineup on February 4 against Washington State. Jackson had been mired in a 12-for-55 (.218) slump from three-point range after making 15-of-30 (.500) over the first seven games of her Arizona career. Since then, however, she has made 11-of-25 (.440) from beyond the arc, including a 4-for-5 performance against Washington. Despite seeing fewer minutes per game, Jackson is still averaging 7.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game over that span.

Scoring Punch: Junior forward Soana Lucet has been one of the most consistent scoring threats for the Wildcats this season. She has seen her scoring average rise to 13.3 points per game as she has tallied in double figures in 18 games and scored at least 8 points in all but one game. She also has four 20-point games to her credit, including a season-high 28 point performance in the record-breaking victory over Oregon on January 16.

Board Work: Rebounding has been an up-and-down proposition for the Wildcats this season and the last seven games have been no different. In games against Washington, Washington State, Cal State Northridge and Arizona State, the Wildcats averaged 46 rebounds per game and claimed an average rebounding margin of 14.8. However, in games against Oregon, Oregon State and California, the Wildcats have pulled down just 32.3 boards per outing and suffered a minus-11 deficit on the glass. By no coincidence, Arizona is 3-1 in those games with the rebounds surplus, but has gone 1-2 when suffering a rebounding deficit.

Power Outage: For the second-straight game, Arizona failed to reach the 60-point mark on the scoreboard, which has been a bit of a benchmark for the team's success this season. Arizona is winless in five games when scoring 59 points or less. If Arizona can score at least 60 points, it has posted a record of 13-5.

Doing It With Defense: For the 19th time this season and sixth time in the past seven games, Arizona limited the opposition to a field goal percentage under 40 percent after allowing California to shoot just 36.8 percent on Thursday evening. The Wildcats have accomplished that feat in all four of its wins this month after setting that standard in each of the first six games of the campaign. Arizona has posted a 12-7 mark this season when holding the opposing team under the 40 percent mark.

Bright Future: While Arizona continues its quest to rejoin the NCAA's elite company, the future looks bright for the Wildcats as one of its future members earned national recognition. Candice Warthen, a senior guard at Warren County High School in Warrenton, Georgia, was named the ESPN RISE girls basketball player of the week for the Southeast region after tallying a triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals in a 68-27 win over Evans. Rated the #20 point guard in the 2010 class by the Collegiate Girls Basketball Report, Warthen also eclipsed the 2,000-point mark this season and is averaging 29.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.4 steals and 3.9 assists for the 23-4 Screaming Devils. With a 67-43 win over Washington-Wilkes last Saturday, Warren County captured the Region 4A Championship and will take on Bacon County in the first round of the 2009-10 GHSA Class A State Tournament on Saturday.

Conference Standouts: Arizona continues to have several players ranking among the league's Top 10 in a number of categories. Ify Ibekwe leads the Pac-10 in rebounds at 11.6 per contest while Reiko Thomas is the top free throw shooter at 88.6 percent. Davellyn Whyte is 5th in the league in scoring at 16.3 per game, 3rd in 3-point field goals made with 2.2 per contest, 9th in 3-point field goal percentage at .356 and 9th in field goal percentage with a .470 tally. Soana Lucet joins Ibekwe on the glass with 6.7 per outing, good for 10th place while Jackson is 10th in both 3-point field goal percentage at .345 and 3-point field goals made per game with 1.5. Ibekwe is also 3rd in steals with 2.3 per game, 7th in blocked shots with a 1.2 average and 7th in field goal percentage at .486. As a team, the Wildcats are 4th field goal percentage (.432), 3rd in field goal percentage defense (.377), and 5th in scoring (68.0), free throw percentage (.680) and 3-point field goals per game (5.0).

National Notables: Arizona is among the top 100 in the NCAA in scoring (79th, 68.0), field goal percentage (36th, .436), personal fouls per game (77th, 15.9) and field goal percentage defense (83rd, .377). On the individual front, Ify Ibekwe is 5th in the nation in rebounding at 11.6 per contest, 16th in double-doubles with 14, 56th in field goal percentage at .491 and 94th in steals per game at 2.3 per game while Soana Lucet is 99th in shooting percentage at .451. Davellyn Whyte is 75th in 3-point field goals per game at 2.3, 87th in scoring at 16.5 per game, 81st in 3-point field goal percentage at .360 as well as 75th in field goal percentage at .450. Reiko Thomas has achieved enough free throw attempts to be included, checking in at 11th from the charity stripe at 88.2 percent.

Nothing Ify About Ibekwe: Junior forward Ify Ibekwe had one of the most impressive seasons in 2008-09 in recent Arizona history. She led the Wildcats in scoring (15.7), rebounds (11.6), field goals (173), free throws (109), blocked shots (52) and steals (60) while earning 1st-team all-Pac-10 and Associated Press All-America honorable mention recognition. She was the only player in the Pac-10 to average a double-double and finished tied for 6th nationally in rebounds. This season, she leads the Wildcats in rebounds, free throws, blocked shots, steals and assists.

Glass Eater: After posting three of the top four single-game rebounding totals in Arizona history last season, Ibekwe improved upon her own personal best by grabbing 22 rebounds in the season-opening win over Iona. Last season, she registered the first known 20-20 game in Arizona history with 26 points and 20 rebounds on December 29, 2008 in a win at Boise State, then matched that total on the boards against in-state rival Arizona State in McKale Center on February 21, 2009. Already the school record holder for single-season rebounding average, she holds second place all alone, sitting five rebounds behind school-record holder Jill Longanecker, who nabbed 25 rebounds against West Texas State on January 12, 1979.

Double Trouble: With her 14-point, 11-rebound performance on Thursday evening against Cal, Ibekwe moved into second place in the Arizona record books with 37 career double-doubles after accomplishing the feat in 15-of-26 games this season. The 16 she had last season was the second-highest single-season total in school history behind the 21 tallied by Shawntinice Polk during the 2002-03 season. She passed Adia Barnes for the second spot while Polk holds the career mark at 46, a number Ibekwe would more than likely pass early on next season.

Agent Zero: Taking a cue from former Wildcat Gilbert Arenas by wearing #0, freshman guard Davellyn Whyte has showed the all-around skills that made her the first prep player signed by head coach Niya Butts. The 2009 Gatorade Arizona Player of the Year was named the Most Valuable Player of the season-opening Iona College Tip-Off Tournament. Whyte shot almost 52 percent from the field while hitting 7-of-16 three-point attempts (.438) in wins over Iona and Miami (Ohio). Whyte currently leads the Wildcats in scoring at 16.3 points per game while shooting .356 from three-point range, .445 from the field and grabbing 3.9 rebounds per contest. She has stepped up her game another notch during Pac-10 play, averaging 17.9 points to go along with 3.5 rebounds while shooting 44.1 percent from the field and 80.9 percent from the free throw line.

Opening Act: Few players have had a bigger impact in their first-ever game as freshmen than Whyte did for the Wildcats against Iona. Over the past 10 seasons, only one player has scored more points in their Arizona debut. Shawntinice Polk bested Whyte by two points, registering 29 points in her first-ever Wildcat game on November 22, 2002 against LSU. It was also the highest point total by any Pac-10 player on the opening weekend of play.

Rewriting History: The Wildcats lone freshman began flirting with history early on in her debut season before finally making it as she tallied a school-record 39 points against Oregon on January 16. She finished 12-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-6 from three-point range, and connected on 10-of-12 free throws. She bested the previous single-game scoring record of 35 points held by three different players. At the time, it was the most points scored by a Pac-10 player in 2009-10 and is still the 2nd-highest total of the season.

Freshman Phenom: Whyte has squarely taken aim on the Arizona record books with just 24 games under her belt. Prior to her record-setting performance against Oregon, Whyte tallied 34 points on January 3 against USC. That performance matched the single-game freshman scoring record set by Joanne Ineman in the 1983-84 season. She also equaled the 2nd-most points in a single game for any player, a mark most recently achieved by Ashley Whisonant exactly two years prior at Oregon State. With six three-pointers made, she became the 5th player to achieve that feat, putting her one make off the school record owned by two players.

Well Seasoned: As Whyte adds her name to list after list in the Arizona record books, another milestone that is within her grasp is the single-season freshman scoring record. Whyte currently has 423 points on the season, good for 3rd place all-time. She sits just 41 points behind Adia Barnes in second place. Shawntinice Polk holds the personal mark with 538 points, a mark Whyte could match at her current scoring average of 16.3 points in seven more contests.

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