Five players scored in double digits to lead Arizona women’s basketball past UC Riverside, 75-59 on Saturday night for its second-straight win.
“I think we won the game because we stayed together,” Butts said. “I think everybody was in-tune to what their jobs were tonight.”
Senior Carissa Crutchfield led the Wildcats with 14 points, five assists and four rebounds, including a 4-of-4 mark from the free throw line.
“We are getting better at punching back,” Crutchfield said. “We just have to keep fighting, and we’re getting pretty good at that.”
Senior Erica Barnes scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds, also with a 4-of-4 mark from the free throw line.
Freshmen Breanna Workman and Ashley Merrill both added 11 points, while senior Kama Griffitts recorded 10.
As a team, the Wildcats shot a season-high 87 percent (20-of-23) from the free throw line and committed a season-low 11 turnovers.
Arizona also outscored UC Riverside in the paint, 34-18, had 13 fast break points to their four and outscored UCR’s bench, 29-12.
The Highlanders came out and scored the first five points, but the Wildcats responded with an 11-0 run, leaving UCR scoreless for seven minutes. Arizona closed the half on a 16-0 run, including eight points from Crutchfield, and led, 37-20 at the half.
“The pivotal moments were on the defensive side,” freshman Ashley Merrill said. “Any time you play good defense, you can go out and run the ball and that’s what creates a good offense.”
UA forced 12 second-half turnovers, maintained its lead in the second half and UC Riverside could not close the gap. Arizona’s 75 points tied the most this season, dating back to Iona on November 8—a game that went into extra minutes.
“It feels good to get a win going into the break,” Butts said. “We wanted to play well, and I think we did that. We had players step up and really do their jobs.”
The Wildcats will take a short Holiday break before hosting Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Saturday, Dec. 29 to close out the non-conference season.
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Head coach Niya Butts
On the game:
“It feels good to get a win going into the break. We wanted to play well, and I think we did that. I thought we had some moments where we had a substantial lead that we kind of allowed ourselves to relax a little bit and they made a run there late in the game. Luckily we had done our jobs before that. We had players step up and really do their jobs. I want to go back to the point guard position and highlight Carrissa Crutchfield. Probably one of her better games of the season along with Ashley Merrill; I thought she did a great job. I though Keyahndra Cannon came off the bench and gave us some great minutes.”
On things that could have been better:
“I don’t think we finished very well. The second half we shot 50 percent, but I though we missed a lot of layups. I thought we got the ball inside, which is our goal, but I think our bigs missed a lot of layups. We have to make those.”
On the run right after the timeout:
“I thought we responded. That’s what it’s about. For the last week or so we have been working on something in practice that we call stop score stop, and if we can put together a series of those together, we are in great position. So I just continued to yell from the sideline that if we get a score, next time down we have to get a stop and then continue the sequence.”
On what won the game:
“I think we won the game because we stayed together. When we had 29 bench points to their 12, I think everybody was in tune to what their jobs were, and they came in and they did that.”
Senior guard Carissa Crutchfield
On having a great individual performance:
“I would say, scoring wise, it was one of my best games. I think what we worked on during practice really helped me like doing different drills, boxing out, working the post or just the individual drills.”
On going a big run in the first half to break the game open:
“We are getting better at punching back. We struggled with coming back last year, but this year, we just tell ourselves that if they go on a run then who cares. We just have to keep fighting, and we’re getting pretty good at that.”
Freshman forward Breanna Workman
On winning second straight game:
“It feels really good. Like coach Sean [LeBeauf] tells us, it only takes one to start a winning streak, so it feels good to win our second straight game.”
Freshman guard Ashley Merrill
On her general thoughts about the game:
“It feels good to win. We practiced hard every day and worked on fixing our mistake and to improve from them.”
On what was key in starting the big run in the first half to extend their lead:
“The pivotal moments were on the defensive side. Anytime you play good defense, you can go out and run the ball and that’s what creates a good offense.”