Jan. 20, 2010
Date: Sunday, January 24, 2010
Time: 4:00 p.m. (MT)
Location: Olson Court, McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz.
TV: FSN Arizona/FCS Pacific (Jim Watson, Tracy Warren)
Radio: KTUC AM 1400 (Derrick Palmer, Alysiah Bond)
Tip Off Time The State Farm Territorial Cup and in-state bragging rights will be on the line as Arizona hosts rival Arizona State on Sunday, January 24 in McKale Center at 4:00 p.m. The two teams will meet against at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe on Saturday, February 20. This weekend's contest will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net with Jim Watson and Tracy Warren calling the action.
Catch the Action: Entering his second 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: Week three of the Niya Butts Show will broadcast 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 most likely broadcast from the Jim Click Hall of Champions on the northwest end of McKale Center.
Series Notes: Arizona State has a 46-30 advantage in the all-time series between the I-10 rivals dating back to their first meeting on February 2, 1973. The Sun Devils have won 8-straight meetings between the two teams, including the last four contests in McKale Center. The last win for the Wildcats came at home on January 26, 2005, a 56-49 triumph. The Cats gave the Sun Devils a run for their money in their game in McKale Center last season, but a 23-6 second half run helped Arizona State overcome a 9-point deficit to claim the 60-53 win. Ify Ibekwe had 10 points and 20 rebounds in the game for the Wildcats.
Scouting the Sun Devils: An Elite Eight team one season ago, the Sun Devils are 11-6 on the season and are tied with both Arizona and Washington in the Pac-10 standings at 3-3. Arizona State entered the season without its two top players from 2008-09 as Briann January graduated and Dymond Simon injured her knee at the end of last season and is redshirting the 2009-10 campaign in order to fully heal from her injury. Danielle Orsillo leads the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game while Becca Tobin averages 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent from the field. Arizona State is among the stingiest defensive teams in the Pac-10, allowing just 58.2 points per game, but shoots just 29.0 percent from 3-point range.
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).
Rivalry Week: As of in-state bragging rights were not enough, Arizona and Arizona State now play for the State Farm Territorial Cup, a season-long, head-to-head compeition between the two schools. Every competition between the two is added up over the course of the school year with the winner capturing the Territorial Cup. Arizona currently holds a 3-2 lead in the 2009-10 version, but three points are up for grabs over the weekend as men's basketball and gymnastics will also be contested.
Last Time Out: Arizona recorded its first weekend sweep since the 2007-08 season in a record-breaking 119-112 win over Oregon last Saturday afternoon in McKale Center. Freshman guard Davellyn Whyte scored a school-record 39 points to help Arizona improve to 3-3 in Pac-10 play. The two teams went up and down the floor for the entire 40 minutes, but the final outcome was not decided until Reiko Thomas knocked down a short jumper with 1:17 to play and give the Wildcats a nine-point advantage. All-American Ify Ibekwe added 32 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists, marking the first time in program history that two Arizona players scored at least 30 points in the same game. Junior forward Soana Lucet also chipped in with 28 points and 7 rebounds despite sitting out most of the first half with foul trouble. Reiko Thomas also tallied 13 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Nicole Canepa led the way for Oregon with 38 points and 8 rebounds as five Ducks tallied in double figures.
Record Setting Day: Both the Arizona and Pac-10 history books will need a considerable amount of updating after the record-setting performance by Arizona and Oregon last Saturday afternoon in McKale Center. Arizona set a program record with 119 points, besting the previous mark of 112 points scored against Cal State Northridge on December 13, 1991. The 39 points scored by Davellyn Whyte were an individual single-game scoring record, the previous mark held at 35 points by Dee-Dee Wheeler, Adia Barnes and Timi Brown. Pac-10 standards were also set for combined points in a game, points scored in a Pac-10 game and points scored by a losing team.
Century Mark: The Wildcats eclipsed the 100-point barrier for the 12th time in program history on Saturday, the first time any Arizona team had accomplished that feat since posting 101 points at UNLV on December 22, 2002. Contrarily, it was the 26th time Arizona had allowed at least 100 points in a game, but the first time since allowing 108 points in a loss to Stanford on February 28, 1998.
By The Numbers: Arizona is averaging 69.3 points per game, good for 3rd in the Pac-10, while Arizona State posts 64.9 points per contest. On the defensive end, the Wildcats are allowing 67.1 points per outing while the Sun Devils yield just 58.2 per game, good for 4th in the conference. Both teams average around 39 rebounds per game, shoot near 43 percent from the field and 67 percent from the free throw line while the Wildcats hold a 30-point edge from 3-point range. While Arizona holds opponents to a 30-point lower field goal percentage, Arizona State has a rebounding margin that is seven better than the Wildcats.
Long and Short of It: While Arizona will dress just 8 eligible players on Sunday and has its starters averaging between 29.6 and 34.1 minutes per game, Arizona State boasts 13 players that see regular action. The Sun Devils do not have a player averaging more than 26.2 minutes per game and has 11 team members who log an average of at least 10.7 minutes per game.
Preseason Picks: Arizona was picked to finish 9th in both the Coaches and Media polls that were released last week. In each vote, the Wildcats were picked to finish ahead of just Washington. Nine-time defending champion Stanford was picked to add another crown to its mantle in both polls. Junior forward Ify Ibekwe was one of five players named to the Preseason All-Pac-10 team after earning 1st-team all-Pac-10 and All-Defensive First Team honors last season.
Looking Ahead: While Arizona continues its quest to rejoining the NCAA's elite company, the future looks bright for the Wildcats as one of its future members recently achieved an impressive career milestone. Candice Warthen, a guard at Warren County High School in Warrenton, Georgia, eclipsed the 2,000-point mark for her prep career after tallying 29 points in a win for the Screaming Devils against rival Thomson. She also had eight rebounds, six steals and four assists in the game. Warthen is averaging 29.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.6 steals and 2.9 assists per game for the 13-4 Devils. Following a 39-point outing, Warthen registered her first career triple-double with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals in a 61-27 win over Evans.
Conference Standouts: After the third weekend of Pac-10 play, Arizona has several players ranking among the league's Top 10 in a number of categories. Ify Ibekwe continues to lead the Pac-10 in rebounds at 11.9 per contest while Reiko Thomas is the top free throw shooter at 91.2 percent. Davellyn Whyte is 2nd in the league in scoring at 17.7 per game, tied for 2nd in 3-point field goals made with 2.7 per contest and 3rd in 3-point field goal percentage at .406. Soana Lucet joins Ibekwe on the glass with 7.1 per outing, good for a share of 8th place. Ibekwe is also 4th in steals with 2.4 per game, 6th in blocked shots with a 1.4 average and tied for 6th in assists at 3.3. As a team, the Wildcats are 3rd in scoring (69.3), field goal percentage (.438) and field goal percentage defense (.375), 4th in 3-point field goals per game (4.1) and 5th in both free throw percentage (.678) and 3-point field goal percentage (.320).
National Notables: In the latest release of national statistics on Friday morning, Arizona is among the top 100 in scoring (78th, 69.3), field goal percentage (43rd, .438) and field goal percentage defense (81st, .375). On the individual front, Ify Ibekwe is 3rd in the nation in rebounding at 11.9 per contest, 4th in double-doubles with 10, 91st in steals per game with 2.4 and 100th in field goal percentage at .464. Davellyn Whyte is tied for 30th in 3-point field goals per game at 2.7, 51st in the NCAA in scoring at 17.7 per game, 52nd in 3-point field goal percentage at .406 and 71st in field goal percentage at .483.
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: Ibekwe is currently in third place in the Arizona record books with 31 double-doubles after accomplishing the feat in 10-of-16 games this season. The 16 she had last season was the second-highest total in school history behind the 21 tallied by Shawntinice Polk during the 2002-03 season. She is currently 4 double-doubles behind second-place Adia Barnes while Polk holds the career mark at 46, a number Ibekwe could pass this season if she can post the double digits in every remaining regular season game plus two postseason contests.
All-American Girl: Her impressive numbers also landed Ibekwe on the Associated Press All-America honorable mention list. She became just the 7th player in Arizona history to be named to one of the All-America teams and the first since Dee-Dee Wheeler and Shawntinice Polk earned the honor following the 2004-05 campaign. Ibekwe was also a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the best player in collegiate women's basketball and was chosen to attend the USA Basketball Women's World University Games Trials over the summer.
Milennium Milestone: With a total of 916 points for her career, Ibekwe is on track to become the 16th player in Arizona history to amass 1,000 points. At her current scoring average of 13.7 per game, Ibekwe would reach the 1.000-point plateau on February 13 in a road game against Oregon State. Ibekwe is 51 points from entering the Top 20, a spot held by Felecity Willis at 967 points.
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 logged 44 minutes in her Arizona debut, tallying a game-high 27 points while adding 8 rebounds in the 75-70 overtime win against Iona. She then scored 11 points against Miami (Ohio) and finished the weekend shooting almost 52 percent from the field while hitting 7-of-16 three-point attempts (.438). Whyte currently leads the Wildcats in scoring at 17.7 points per game while shooting .406 from three-point range, .483 from the field and grabbing 4.4 rebounds per contest. She has stepped up her game another notch since the start of Pac-10 play, averaging a Pac-10 leading 22.8 points to go along with 4.2 rebounds while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 45.7 percent from distance.
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.
Freshman Phenom: Whyte has squarely taken aim on the Arizona record books with just 16 games under her belt. Prior to her record-setting performance last Saturday, 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.
Twenty Twenty Vision: After Ibekwe tallied nine 20-point games last season, Whyte has already had six games scoring at least 20 points in just 16 contests. Whyte leads all freshmen in the Pac-10 in scoring while also leading all 1st-year players and sitting third overall in the league with 2.5 three-point shots made per contest. She is also the only Pac-10 player with two games of 30-plus points this season and has scored in double figures in 13-of-16 outings.
Three For All: After connecting on just 95 three-pointers last season, Arizona has already dialed long distance 82 times through the first 16 games for an average of over five per game. With Whyte and Brooke Jackson combining to shoot almost 37 percent from threedom, the Cats have increased their clip from distance by 40 percentage points from last season after shooting only 27.9 percent in 2008-09.
More About The Three Ball: The Cats are hoping to challenge the 1996 season, the best statistically in program history in regards to three-point shooting. That team hit 176 for the season and connected at a .382 clip. If the current Wildcats average six made three-pointers through the season and play 31 games like last season, the team would finish with a school-record 186 treys..
Long Way From Home: The Wildcats have had a number of players in the program from foreign countries in recent years, but none has had to come further to Tucson than junior forward Soana Lucet. The transfer from the College of Southern Idaho is a native of New Caledonia, a collection of islands located in the Southwest Pacific Ocean. Lucet is the first female from New Caledonia to play collegiately in the United States and was named her country's best Under-18 player two years ago. Lucet had her best game with the Wildcats against San Diego with 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting and is currently averaging 12.0 points and 7.1 rebounds.
Family Ties: Several members of the Wildcats have ties to either other Arizona teams, other colleges or professional clubs. The father of Tasha Dickey is currently an assistant football coach at Kansas State while Devon White, the father of Davellyn Whyte, is on staff with the Washington Nationals and was a Major League Baseball all-star during his career. Brooke Jackson welcomed younger sister, Cami, to the Arizona track and field team this season.
Up Next: Arizona hits the road to wrap up the month of January, heading to northern California to take on California on Thursday, January 28 at 7:00 p.m. The Cats will conclude their Bay Area trip at Stanford on Saturday, January 30 with tip-off against the Cardinal set for 2:00 p.m. Arizona will then return home to start the second half of Pac-10 play on Thursday, February 4 against Washington State at 7:00 p.m.