Nov. 15, 2009
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Arizona completed a perfect weekend in style, running away with a 91-67 win over Miami (Ohio), Sunday afternoon at the Iona College Tip-Off Tournament.
Barely 12 hours after yielding a 21-point lead only to win in overtime, head coach Niya Butts saw her team build another 20-point advantage, this time via a 50-30 halftime lead. However, there would be no nervous moments down the stretch for the Wildcats.
Arizona dominated play early on, hitting 7-of-12 three-point shots (.583) and shot 56.3 percent from the field in the first half. Meanwhile, the RedHawks were just 9-of-32 (.281) from the floor and allowed the Cats a 25-15 rebounding advantage.
An early 12-2 run erased the only Arizona deficit of the game and set the Cats off and running. Following three free throws by Miami's Courtney Osborn, the Cats hit three-straight three-pointers. A lay-up by Ify Ibekwe and free throw by Whyte gave Arizona a 17-8 lead.
Miami answered with back-to-back buckets, but the Cats used a quick 7-0 spurt capped by a Whyte three-pointer to claim a 12-point cushion. Arizona never led by less than 9 points the rest of the game and used a 14-4 run to close the half.
The Wildcats did a better job in the paint in the game, earning a 36-22 advantage while also capitalizing with 18 second-chance points. A 55-29 rebounding advantage included 19 offensive rebounds and the bench stepped up and contributed 39 points.
The back-to-back season-opening wins were the first for the Arizona program since both the 2004-05 and 2005-06 teams each had 2-0 starts. Both the 1995-96 and 1999-2000 teams set the standard for longest unbeaten streaks to start the season with identical 9-0 starts.
All-American Ify Ibekwe posted her second-straight double-double, tallying 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds while also adding five assists and two steals to earn all-tournament team honors. Jackson, who also was named to the all-tournament list, tossed in 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while Soana Lucet had 9 points and 5 rebounds.
The 91 points were the most for the Cats since hitting for 93 in triple overtime last season against Loyola Marymount. It was also the first time Arizona hit for at least 90 points in regulation since the 2005-06 team tallied 96 points in its second game against Furman.
Osborn led all scorers with 22 points for Miami (1-1), hitting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Maggie Boyer added 10 points and 2 steals for the RedHawks.
Arizona is on the road again next Saturday, November 21 at the JHG Jam in San Diego, taking on tournament host San Diego State at 6:30 p.m. (PT) The game will be broadcast live on The Mtn.