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Cats, Devils Battle in Tempe
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/19/2010
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 19, 2010

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Date: Saturday, February 20, 2010

Time: 4:00 p.m. (MT)

Location: Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, Ariz.

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

Tip Off Time: Game two in the women's basketball portion of the State Farm Territorial Cup Series takes place on Saturday, February 20 as Arizona visits in-state rival Arizona State with tip-off at Wells Fargo Arena scheduled for 4:00 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 most likely broadcast from the Jim Click Hall of Champions on the northwest end of McKale Center.

Series Notes: Arizona State holds a 47-30 lead in the all-time series with the Wildcats dating back to the first-ever meeting on February 2, 1973. The Sun Devils have had a stranglehold on the series over the past 9-straight contests over the Wildcats and 11-of-12 dating back to the 2003-04 campaign. In the first meeting between the two teams this season, Arizona State turned a 8-point first half deficit into a 11-point second half advantage on the way to a 73-67 win in McKale Center. Ify Ibekwe led all players with 25 points and 16 rebounds while Davellyn Whyte tallied 22 points. Becca Tobin led the Sun Devils with 19 points and 9 rebounds while Danielle Orsillo had 16 points and Tenaya Watson tossed in 14 points and swiped four steals. The Wildcats are 12-25 all-time in Tempe and have not won in Wells Fargo Arena since capturing a 76-67 overtime verdict on February 13, 1999.

Scouting the Sun Devils: It has been an up-and-down last few weeks for Arizona State as they have split each of the last six games in Pac-10 play to slide into 6th place. The Sun Devils had a similar fate to the Wildcats in Oregon last weekend, winning at Oregon State before falling to Oregon. Senior guard Danielle Orsillo leads Arizona State in scoring at 14.8 points per game and shoots 85 percent from the charity stripe while Becca Tobin adds 10.1 points and 6.0 rebounds per contest. The Sun Devils are 8-3 on their home floor this season.

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: The Wildcats took their final break from Pac-10 play to host Cal State Northridge on Tuesday evening, handing the Matadors a 73-50 defeat in McKale Center. Ify Ibekwe led Arizona with 17 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 steals while Soana Lucet added 12 points and 9 rebounds. The Wildcats stretched a 9-point halftime lead by scoring the first six points after the break, then used a 8-0 run to lead by as much as 29 points down the stretch. Arizona shook off a sluggish first half performance by shooting 61.5 percent in the second stanza, including hitting 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. Brooke Jackson had 10 points and 4 rebounds off the bench while Reiko Thomas had a game-high 10 rebounds as the Cats posted a 44-28 victory on the glass.

Last Time Out for Arizona State: Despite shooting 64.6 percent for the game and 72.7 percent in the second half, the Sun Devils committed 21 turnovers in coming up on the short end of a 82-81 decision at Oregon last Saturday afternoon. Danielle Orsillo made 9-of-13 shots and 9-of-10 free throws to score a game-high 29 points while Becca Tobin hit 8-of-10 field goals and added 20 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Taylor Lilley led Oregon with 26 points, making 5-of-12 three-point shots, while Micaela Cocks tossed in 20 points. The Ducks used a 35-27 edge in the rebounding column and hti 23 free throws compared to 15 for the Sun Devils to pull out the victory despite shooting just 38.5 percent for the contest.

Statistical Comparison: The Wildcats average just under four more points per game than the Sun Devils, but Arizona State has yielded seven points fewer per game to its opposition. The Wildcats have been 45 percentage points better from three-point range and hold the opposition to a 40-point stingier shooting percentage. While the teams both average near 38 rebounds per outing, the Sun Devils have been the better team against its opposition, holding a plus-6.6 margin while the Wildcats yield 1.1 more rebounds per game to its opponents.The teams are nearly even from the free throw line and from the field overall.

State Farm Territorial Cup: Arizona currently holds a 4-2 lead in the season-long State Farm Territorial Cup Series, tallying all head-to-head results between the Wildcats and their in-state rivals. After the basketball teams split the opening contests of the season, the Arizona gymnastics team captured a 195.675-194.9 victory to give the Wildcats their current advantage. In sports that have two regular season meetings, one team must sweep both games to earn a point in the final tally.

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 1,025 points and should move into 14th position ahead of Kim Conway within the next two weeks. 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.

Moving Forward: Arizona has turned the tide on its season with a 4-1 start to the month of February after posting a 3-6 mark last month. The Wildcats opened the month with a sweep of the Washington schools, then split their pair of games in Oregon before adding the non-conference win over Cal State Northridge on Tuesday evening. Arizona also went 4-1 in November of this season.

Selective Company: Ibekwe became the 9th active player in the Pac-10 this season to achieve 1,000 points for her career with her 17-point performance against Washington. This weekend's game sets up a matchup between two of the club's members in Ibekwe and Danielle Orsillo of the Sun Devils. Kayla Pedersen of Stanford, Sami Whitcomb of Washington, Talisa Rhea of Oregon State and both Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks 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 five 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 10.4 points in those five games, shooting 51.8 percent from the field while averaging 5.8 rebounds and connecting on 22-of-27 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 9-of-23 (.390) from beyond the arc, including a 4-for-5 performance against Washington. Despite seeing fewer minutes per game, Jackson is still averaging 8.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game over that span.

Board Work: Rebounding has been an up-and-down proposition for the Wildcats this season and last Saturday night's game against Oregon State was no different. After dominating the glass in two wins over Washington State and Washington at home, the Wildcats suffered through a rebounding deficit of 10 or more boards for the sixth time this season. The Cats averaged 47.5 rebounds against the Washington schools and limited the Huskies to only 27 boards, but raked in just 23 rebounds against Oregon State. The Wildcats bounced back against Cal State Northridge, collecting a 44-28 triumph that included 12 offensive rebounds.

Free Throw Futility: While committing just nine personal fouls in the game Tuesday night against Cal State Northridge, Arizona matched a program-record by yielding just two free throws to the Matadors. That number equaled a McKale Center record set by California against the Wildcats on January 6, 2000.

Doing It With Defense: For the 17th time this season and fourth time in the past five games, Arizona limited the opposition to a field goal percentage under 40 percent after allowing Cal State Northridge to shoot just 34.4 percent on Tuesday night. 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 12-5 mark this season when holding the opposing team under the 40 percent mark for the season.

Looking Ahead: 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 recently achieved an impressive career milestone. 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 29.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.7 steals and 3.9 assists for the 20-4 Screaming Devils.

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 11.4 per contest while Reiko Thomas is the top free throw shooter at 87.9 percent. Davellyn Whyte is 5th in the league in scoring at 16.8 per game, 3rd in 3-point field goals made with 2.4 per contest, 6th in 3-point field goal percentage at .375 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 3-point field goal percentage at .340. Ibekwe is also 4th in steals with 2.4 per game, tied for 6th in blocked shots with a 1.3 average, 6th in field goal percentage at .493 and 10th in scoring at 14.4 per game. As a team, the Wildcats are 3rd in scoring (68.8), field goal percentage (.440) and field goal percentage defense (.378), and 5th in 3-point field goals per game (5.2), 3-point percentage (.326) and 3-point defense percentage (.304).

National Notables: Arizona is among the top 100 in the NCAA in scoring (70th, 68.8), field goal percentage (30th, .440), personal fouls per game (83rd, 16.1) and field goal percentage defense (86th, .378). On the individual front, Ify Ibekwe is 6th in the nation in rebounding at 11.4 per contest, 10th in double-doubles with 14, 52nd in field goal percentage at .493 and 77th in steals per game at 2.4 per game while Soana Lucet is 97th in shooting percentage at .451. Davellyn Whyte is 74th in 3-point field goals per game at 2.4, 80th in scoring at 16.8 per game, 71st in 3-point field goal percentage at .375 as well as 76th in field goal percentage at .470. Reiko Thomas has achieved enough free throw attempts to be included, checking in at 14th from the charity stripe at 87.9 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: Ibekwe is currently tied for second place in the Arizona record books with 36 double-doubles after accomplishing the feat in 14-of-21 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 is currently tied with Adia Barnes while Polk holds the career mark at 46, a number Ibekwe could match this season if she can post the double digits in every remaining regular season game plus three postseason contests.

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 16.8 points per game while shooting .375 from three-point range, .470 from the field and grabbing 4.0 rebounds per contest. She has stepped up her game another notch since the start of Pac-10 play, averaging 19.1 points to go along with 3.5 rebounds while shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 39.5 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.

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 403 points on the season, good for 4th place all-time. She will claim third place with three more points and sits just 61 points behind Adia Barnes in second place. Shawntinice Polk holds the personal mark with 538 points, a mark Whyte could reach at her current scoring average of 16.8 points in eight more contests.

Twenty Twenty Vision: After Ibekwe tallied nine 20-point games last season, Whyte matched that mark after just 20 games this season. 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 2.3 three-point shots made per contest. She was the first Pac-10 player this season with two games of 30-plus points and has scored in double figures in 19-of-24 outings.

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