Nov. 18, 2010
OXFORD, Miss. - For the first time since the 2001-02 season, the University of Arizona Wildcat women's basketball team is 3-0 to start the season after a 72-70 at Ole Miss Thursday night. The Rebels fell to 2-1 in Oxford's Tad Smith Coliseum.
"We started off slow and had trouble matching up on transition," head coach Niya Butts said. "But we really got it together in the second half and only had five turnovers. Ify Ibekwe was really a star for us tonight. She played great defensively and made some key baskets. Davellyn Whyte's three pointer late in the second half generated a lot of momentum for us and we were able to build on that to seal up the win. It's always good to get a win on the road and we're happy to take it."
Senior forward Ify Ibekwe was a dominant force against Ole Miss. She grabbed four rebounds in the first five minutes and locked up a double-double, her first of the season, in the first half (14 points and 10 rebounds). She ended the game with 24 points and 17 rebounds. She also pitched in with three assists, three blocks and four steals.
Senior Soana Lucet and sophomore Davellyn Whyte both chipped in with 17 points each. Lucet also added nine rebounds to her stats. Junior Shanita Arnold picked up another nine assists and grabbed three steals.
A close first half ensued with no lead larger than 10 points at any time. With less than two minutes to play in the first half, Lucet tied it up at 31 with two made free throws. A few plays later, she tied it at 33 with a made jumper. With time expiring, Ibekwe made a steal in transition and an Arnold three pointer gave UA a 38-35 lead at the half.
Ole Miss gained momentum with a 9-0 run to start the second half and pushed the score to 44-38 in favor of the Rebels. A good three pointer from Lucet ended the Rebels' run and cut the Ole Miss lead to three (44-41). Arizona cut Ole Miss' lead to four (61-57) with a made jumper and two made free throws from Ibekwe with 7:13 left to play.
Freshman Candice Warthen hit a jumper at the seven minute mark to push the score to 61-59 in favor of the Rebels. Ole Miss' Valencia McFarland hit her fourth three of the game to push the Ole Miss lead to five (64-59).
At the 4:20 mark of the second half, Whyte tied the game at 64 with a three pointer. A good Whyte jumper gave UA 66-64 lead 3:40 mark. Whyte started a 9-0 Wildcat run that included an Arnold fast break lay-up and a lay-up from Lucet to push the score to 70-66 in favor of Arizona.
A defensive rebound by Arnold and a good Ibekwe lay-up gave Arizona a 72-68 lead. A quick basket by Ole Miss' Pa'Sonna Hope cut the Wildcats' lead to two (72-70) and a final score.
McFarland led the Rebels with 20 points and seven assists. Defensively, Ole Miss picked up eight rebounds from Nikki Byrd.
For the third-straight contest, Arnold, Ibekwe, Brooke Jackson, Lucet and Whyte got the start for Arizona. Warthen had the most minutes of the bench with 24.
Arizona will play next on Mon., Nov. 22 when Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits the McKale Center. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m.
Niya Butts postgame radio interview.