Oct. 17, 2009
With one month to prepare for its opening contest, the Arizona women's basketball team started official practices on Friday evening with a spirited workout in McKale Center.
After countless workouts during the spring and summer that included conditioning and weight training as well as group instruction, the Wildcats were finally able to take the floor as a complete unit and begin preparation for their season-opening game on November 14 against Iona in New Rochelle, N.Y.
With an emphasis on defensive philosophy early on, the Wildcats split time between instructional sessions in the half-court as well as getting up-and-down the floor in full-court drills. The team also goes through fundamental drills at the start of every practice, something head coach Niya Butts and her staff reinforce throughout the season.
Though no team looks midseason sharp during its first practice, Butts and her staff were pleased with the overall effort and intensity of the first group session of the season.
"I think practice went very well," said Butts, who begins her second season at the Arizona helm. "We are a work in progress, but I love our energy."
The Wildcats will continue with daily workouts for the next few weeks with the occasional off day worked in. The team will also meet up with local media members this Friday afternoon before taking the McKale Center floor for the first time on Thursday, November 5 in exhibition action against Fort Lewis (Colo.) at 7:00 p.m.