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Ibekwe Leads Cats Past Cougars, 64-58
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/22/2011
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 22, 2011

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TUCSON - University of Arizona Wildcat women's basketball picked up its ninth-straight home win and second-straight Pac-10 win with a 64-58 victory over Washington State on Saturday. The Wildcats move to 13-5 overall and 4-3 in Pac-10 play. The Cougars fall to 5-15 overall and 3-5 in Pac-10 play.

"It's certainly good to get two wins at home," head coach Niya Butts said. "We really battled hard today. Our backs were against the wall but we came out and played how we needed to play. Ify (Ibekwe) was two steals away from a triple double but everyone stepped up today. Our bench was huge and Davellyn (Whyte) was huge. It's tough to play defense when the lay ups aren't falling but we needed to score. We started to push and once the shots started falling, we got our momentum going."

Senior forward Ify Ibekwe paced the Wildcats with 18 points, 12 rebounds and eight steals - just two steals short of Arizona's first triple-double in women's basketball history. Sophomore guard Davellyn Whyte chipped in with 16 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists.

"I'm still under the weather and I'm just trying to push to get better," Ibekwe said. "I knew with Soana (Lucet) out, that I would have to step up. Amanda (Pierson), Taylor (Dalrymple) and Erica (Barnes) helped us do what Soana does. These two wins were key since we came home after losing three in a row. There is always room to improve but we have been getting better each game. I've improved a lot on my post defense and rebounding. We are working on being more physical down low and not letting our opponents get the easy shot."

It took nearly three minutes for an Erica Barnes jumper to go in to start the first half after a few turnovers for each team. Arizona went on a 5-0 run in the first six minutes of play. A Sage Romberg jumper finally went in for WSU at the 13:35 mark to get the Cougars on the score board. The Wildcats put together a 13-2 run in the first 10 minutes of the first half.

Washington State put together its own 15-5 run to open second half. A 9-0 run by the Wildcats in the middle of the half pushed the score to 55-38 in favor of Arizona. For the game, the Cougars out rebounded the Wildcats, 46-45. Arizona shot 30.9 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from the three-point line and 72.7 percent from the charity stripe compared to 37.5 percent, 25.0 percent and 76.9 percent, respectively, from Washington State.

For Washington State, Ireti Amojo was the leading scorer with 21 points, including 5-of-6 from behind the three-point arc. April Cook and Katie Madison led at the glass with five boards each.

The Wildcats were without senior forward Soana Lucet on Saturday because of illness. The starting five for Arizona were junior guard Shanita Arnold, Barnes, Ibekwe, freshman guard Candice Warthen and Whyte. Junior guard Brooke Jackson got the most minutes off the bench with 23. She had 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal.

Arizona will play next at USC on Thurs., Jan. 27 and at UCLA on Sat., Jan. 29.

Niya Butts postgame Washington State.

Ify Ibekwe and Davellyn Whyte postgame Washington State.

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