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Cats Hold Off Gaels in OT, 75-70
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/14/2009
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Nov. 14, 2009

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NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Arizona needed five extra minutes but earned a season-opening 75-70 overtime win over Iona, Saturday evening in the opening round of the Iona College Tip-Off Tournament.

Freshman guard Davellyn Whyte made quite a splash in her Arizona debut, tallying a game-high 27 points while pulling down 8 rebounds. Ify Ibekwe added 11 points and a career-high 21 rebounds. It was the third time in her two-plus seasons with the Wildcats she has snagged at least 20 rebounds.

Bucking the trend of two slow starts in the exhibition games last week, the Cats played a solid first half and jumped out a 17-point halftime lead. Whyte and sophomore guard Brooke Jackson each had 10 points before the break while the Cats held Iona (0-1) to just 9-for-37 (.243) shooting.

The Wildcats stretched the lead to 21 points with 16:54 to play after a Whyte three-pointer. However, a 20-5 run by the Gaels sliced that lead down to six. Arizona made just one field goal over the next nine minutes before Soana Lucet connected with 7:47 to play.

Arizona pushed the lead back to 10 after Whyte hit back-to-back jumpers at the 3:38 mark, but the Cats did not score the rest of the way. Four missed field goals and three missed free throws on the front end of 1-and-1 attempts opened the door for the Gaels to finish the game on a 10-0 run.

The Wildcats recovered as the extra frame began and held the lead the entire five minutes. Whyte hit a three-pointer on the first possession, then converted a lay-up with 1:26 to play that put the Cats up, 71-67. Lucet hit three late free throws to seal the hard-fought victory.

Iona took advantage of 25 offensive rebounds to post a 23-2 advantage in second chance points and also outscored the Wildcats in the paint, 30-24. However, the Cats hit 9-of-20 (.450) from three-point range while Iona was just 7-of-27 (.259) from distance.

Jackson tossed in 13 points to go along with six rebounds while Lucet tallied 11 points and 7 rebounds. Anna McLean led Iona with 22 points and 19 rebounds while Catherine Lutz came off the bench and hit five three-pointers to score 17 points in just 18 minutes.

Arizona (1-0) faces Miami (Ohio) in the tournament championship game on Sunday, November 15 with tip-off slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET)

Coach Niya Butts' post-game radio interview

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