Nov. 8, 2009
The Wildcats finished their exhibition schedule with a pair of home victories as they prep for the regular season opener next Saturday against Iona in the hosts Tip-Off Tournament.
Arizona once again showed excellent balance on offense as seven different players scored at least eight points. Though their shooting percentage dipped a bit from Thursday night's win over Fort Lewis, the Cats were once again effective from three-point range in knocking down 7-of-18 attempts (.389).
Jackson and Whyte were the main culprits for the long-range shooting, combining to hit six of the seven makes. Whyte chipped in with seven rebounds and three assists while Jackson dished out six assists and swiped five steals.
Head coach Niya Butts would also be pleased with the scoring touch inside as the Cats held a 42-18 edge in points in the paint. Though the turnover count was still high at 21, Arizona forced 25 for the game, converting those into 32 points.
The Cats trailed just once in the game as Grand Canyon used a four-minute scoring spurt of 9-2 to claim a brief 17-16 lead. However, Ify Ibekwe ignited a 10-0 run with a short jumper in the lane to claim a nine-point cushion.
Arizona once again played a cleaner second half and put the game away very early after the intermission. The Wildcats started the half on a 13-4 run to jump out to a 48-29 lead after back-to-back treys by Whyte and Jackson.
Junior Jennifer Kioa showed excellent defensive skills on the day by blocking eight shots while also chipping in with nine points and nine rebounds. Soana Lucet matched those scoring and rebounding numbers while Ify Ibekwe finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Samantha Murphy led the way for Grand Canyon with 21 points, 15 of those coming in the first half as she almost single-handedly kept the game close. Dana Iverson chipped in with 10 points off the bench.
The regular season tips off for the Wildcats in New Rochelle, N.Y. on Saturday, November 14 against Iona at 7:30 p.m. (ET).Postgame wrap-up from Ibekwe, Whyte and Coach Butts