Feb. 3, 2011
TUCSON - University of Arizona Wildcat women's basketball was handed its first home loss of the season by California, 73-63, Thursday night at McKale Center. The Wildcats fall to 13-8 overall and 4-6 in Pac-10 play while the Golden Bears move to 14-7 overall and 6-4 in league action.
"All losses are tough, especially in such a competitive conference," head coach Niya Butts. "To lose the opportunity to defend the court hurts. It's hard to lose at home but we have to understand that there are more opportunities to play at home and win. We just have to be ready."
"Obviously this has put us in a tough spot, going into a game that we certainly had the opportunity to win," Butts said. "I thought we came in ready and prepared but our slow start hurt us. We were four for twenty-one from three and seven for ten from free throws, which tells me that we weren't aggressive enough on offense. Cal shot 52 percent which means we didn't get the stops we needed to get. Rebounding wasn't our problem this time and we came out of this game in a better position to hopefully carry over into Saturday's game."
Senior forward Ify Ibekwe and sophomore guard Davellyn Whyte paced the Cats with 21 points each. Ibekwe picked up her eighth double-double of the season with 11 rebounds. Freshman forward Erica Barnes also scored in double-digit points with 10, as she shot 5-of-6 from the field.
"I'm trying to be more aggressive and less of a softie," Ibekwe said. "I think if I'm more active, I really bring my teammates with me. We have to focus on what we do well, execute on offense and defense, get stops, and just do what we do."
"We definitely gave in to fatigue," Whyte said. "We didn't have stops we needed. I'm not satisfied with rebounding but we did do better. We were out rebounded and we just really have to be on top of the boards."
For the Golden Bears, DeNesha Stallworth was their leading scorer with 16 points and she was one of four Cal players to score in double digits. She also picked up a double-double with 10 rebounds.
The starting five for Arizona were junior guard Shanita Arnold, Ibekwe, senior forward Soana Lucet, freshman guard Candice Warthen and Whyte. Junior guard Reiko Thomas got the most minutes off the bench with 24. She has five points, three rebounds and a steal.
Arizona will take to the court next on Sat., Feb 5, to face No. 4/3 Stanford, at 2 p.m. Saturday's game is the Pink Zone game.
Niya Butts postgame California.