Dec. 28, 2011Photo Gallery
TUCSON -The University of Arizona Wildcat women's basketball team ended the non-conference portion of the 2011-12 schedule with a 62-58 win against UNLV on Wednesday night at McKale Center. Arizona moves to 11-1 on the season before Pac-12 play starts on Saturday. The Wildcats are off to their best start since the 1999-2000 season when the squad went 12-1 before dropping its second league contest. UNLV fell to 10-4 on the season as they start Mountain West Conference play in the coming days.
"It was a tough game and the only highlight really was the fact that we won," head coach Niya Butts said. "We lost our composure at the end which we cannot do going into conference play. At the end of the first half, they played zone defense, and instead of reacting as we should have, we were lost. We adjusted a little in the second half but we need to start putting more strings of good basketball together."
"We really struggled on the boards in the second half and we were just flat," Butts said. "We gave up 11 offensive rebounds in the first half, and that's really what kept the game so close. We're showing minimal improvement and that's not going to cut it."
Junior guard Davellyn Whyte led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-17 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range. Arizona also got double-digit scoring efforts from senior guard Reiko Thomas (13) and senior guard Shanita Arnold (10). Recording her most productive minutes of the season, Thomas also had seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in 33 minutes of play. Arnold finished with four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
The Wildcats connected on 13 assists for their 18 made field goals with at least four from Arnold, Thomas and Whyte. Arizona gave up 17 turnovers, the same as UNLV, but capitalized with 24 points off of Rebel mishaps. UA shot 34 percent from the field (18-53), 41.2 percent from three-point range (7-17) and 70.4 percent from the free throw line (19-27).
The starting five for Arizona included Arnold, sophomore forward Erica Barnes, freshman center Aley Rohde, Thomas and Whyte. Junior forward Cheshi Poston had the most minutes off the bench with 15. She had four points, two rebounds, one block and one steal.
For UNLV, Tucson native Sandrine Nzeukou paced the squad with 18 points on 5-of-8. The Rebels outrebounded the Wildcats, 42-38, and had seven assists on 17 field goals. UNLV shot 29.8 percent from the field (17-57), 17.6 from behind the arc (3-17) and 75 percent from the charity stripe (21-28).
Arizona will open Pac-12 play on Sat., Dec. 31 with a 12 p.m. MT contest at Arizona State. The game will air live on FSN with Jim Watson and Mary Murphy calling the action.