Feb. 17, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. - The University of Arizona Wildcat women's basketball team picked up its first Pac-10 road win of the season Thursday night with a 78-61 victory over the Washington State Cougars at Pullman's Beasley Coliseum. Arizona moves to 15-9 overall and 6-7 in Pac-10 play. The Cougars fall to 8-18 overall and 6-8 in league action.
The Wildcats picked up their first road win since an 84-60 victory over the New Mexico Lobos on Dec. 7, 2010. With tonight's conference win over Washington State, Arizona has matched its number of Pac-10 wins from last season with at least five more games to play. Thursday's win also gives head coach Niya Butts and her staff their highest win total in their nearly three seasons in Tucson.
"I think defensively we buckled down," head coach Niya Butts said. "Our defense was a huge advantage for us and it allowed us to open up our offense. I think offensively, we started to settle down and we got more confident. We shot 54 percent for the game and that is a huge turnaround. I give credit back to our team."
Senior forward Ify Ibekwe collected her 10th double-double of the season with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Ibekwe shot 8-of-15 from the field, 1-of-3 from three-point range and 6-of-9 from the charity stripe. She was one of four Wildcats to score in double figures with 20 points from sophomore guard Davellyn Whyte, 16 points from senior forward Soana Lucet and 10 points from junior guard Brooke Jackson.
Ibekwe finished up her line with three assists, three blocks and five steals. Whyte also chipped in with eight assists, one block and two steals. Junior guard Tasha Dickey came off the bench for some solid defensive possessions. She collected two points and a rebound in five minutes of action.
"Tasha Dickey played one of her better games for us tonight," Butts said. "She came in and gave us a spark off the bench. I told her to go in, play defense and rebound the basketball. She's always going to be active and she wants to win. She did exactly what she needed to do."
For the game, Arizona shot 54.5 percent from the field (30-55), 42.1 percent from behind the arc (8-19) and 66.7 percent from the free throw line (10-15) to Washington State's 35.3 percent (24-68), 26.1 percent (6-23) and 63.6 percent (7-11), respectively. The Wildcats held the Cougars to just 7.7 percent three-point shooting in the second half of play with WSU going 1-for-13.
At the 6:27 mark of the first half, Washington State led the Wildcats by 11 points, their largest lead of the game. With eight seconds to play in the second half, Arizona held a 19-point lead over the Cougars, the Cats' largest lead and a 30-point swing from the first 20 minutes of play.
In the first 20 minutes of action, Arizona was solid on offense, shooting 52 percent from the field (13-25), 45.5 percent from three-point range (5-11) and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe (4-6). Too many turnovers (12 in the first half) and too few rebounds (13, all defensive) hindered the Cats as Washington State out-rebounded Arizona, 24-13. WSU led Arizona, 36-35, heading into the locker rooms.
For Washington State, Sage Romberg was their leading scorer with 16 points. She also chipped in with nine rebounds.
The Wildcats will play at Washington on Sat., Feb. 19. Tip-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
Niya Butts postgame at Washington State