Senior Davellyn Whyte (Phoenix, Ariz.) led the Wildcats with 16 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and three steals, but Arizona women’s basketball (12-16, 4-13) fell to No. 16 UCLA (23-6, 14-4), 68-57, on Sunday afternoon at McKale Center.
“She (Whyte) has meant a lot to what we are trying to do,” Arizona Head Coach Niya Butts said. “If you look at her complete body of work aside from post-season play, that’s all you can really ask for in a player.”
Junior Alli Gloyd (Phoenix, Ariz.) added nine points and eight rebounds, while senior Cheshi Poston (Chicago, Ill.) finished her last game in McKale with five points on 2-of-2 shooting and three rebounds.
As a team, the Wildcats forced 17 Bruin turnovers, while only committing 14 and went to the free throw line 24 times, to UCLA’s 12.
Arizona came out strong in the first half, starting the game on a 7-0 run, but UCLA soon followed with an 8-0 run. The Bruins controlled most of the scoring from that point, but the Wildcats stayed close and UCLA went into the locker rooms with a 35-27 edge.
In the second half, Whyte and Barnes scored the first six points for Arizona to narrow the score to within five, but the Bruins answered with a 10-2 run. The Wildcats responded with a 7-0 run of their own, but could not close the gap all the way and UCLA took the game, 68-57.
“In the second half, we did better with offensive rebounds and were able to catch up a little, whether it was because they were missing more shots, or we were making more,” Butts said. “It’s a tough go--I wanted our seniors to go out with a win. We just have to continue to push forward.”
Senior Alyssia Brewer and freshman Nirra Fields led the Bruins with 22 and 21 points, respectively.
Arizona will begin postseason play when it travels to Seattle, Wash. for the Pac-12 Tournament, beginning on Thursday, March 7 and continuing through Suinday, March 10.
For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona women’s basketball, please visit www.ArizonaWildcats.com, or follow @ArizonaWBBall on Twitter.
“They were too much in the paint for us today. I think it was 40-24 paint points and that’s going to make a big difference. I think in the second half, we did better with offensive rebounds and were able to catch up a little, whether it was because they were missing more shots, or we were making more. It’s a tough go-- I wanted our seniors to go out with a win. We just have to continue to push forward.”
On Davellyn Whyte’s influence on the program:
“She has meant a lot to what we are trying to do. If you look at the stat sheets, even from today, she didn’t have the best day scoring but she had all of our assists, she is an all-around player. And if you look at her complete body of work aside from post-season play, that’s all you can really ask for in a player.”
“She came in and worked. She has done a lot of good things. She is the second all-time leading scorer and those stats aren’t something you can take away.”
“She has played through injuries and through the pain, she has really toughed it out a lot of days. There are times when it’s tough for her to move around but she still gives it her all.”
“I think she did a lot of the things we thought she would. She has grown a lot as both a player and a person.”
“She’s a complete player, she knows the game--she thinks the game. Having the ability to give a girl a ball who wants it and wants to make those plays is always great. She takes charges and throws her body into it.”
On Whyte’s ability to play in the WNBA:
“I think she’ll be even better at the next level. She sees things before her teammates and when you have a bunch of young athletes ready to do that you get to show what you’re best at.”
On the message to the team going into the tournament:
“Keep pushing. Things haven’t gone the way we wanted but we know that anything can happen in March. We just have to keep working and where we are today be better tomorrow.”
On UCLA’s runs:
“It happens in basketball. We started out hot out of the gate and then they got a run. And [Nirra] Fields came in and picked them up we weren’t able to answer.”
“I’ve grown a lot as a player and a person just by being here. Cheshi [Poston] is a senior too, but I came in here by myself. I’ve seen people go and I’ve seen people stay. I’ve been here through everything, all the ups and downs. Like I’ve said before, I don’t regret anything. It was fun. It was a nice ride.”
On transitioning throughout her four years with new players and coaches:
“It was hard because when I came in, I was playing for a whole new coaching staff. And coaches have gone too. You just have to adjust. I think that’s what has made me the person that I am and being able to adjust to new coaches and new players.”
On impacting the team through ways besides points:
“If your offense isn’t working, you can always have defense every night. I just focus on my defense and look for my teammates and then things opened up.”
On senior night:
“It felt like just another game. It hasn’t hit me that I won’t be playing in McKale anymore because I’ll still be walking around here every day. It would have been nice to get the win, but I think my team still went out there and played hard. My best memory was beating ASU.”
On message to team:
“I think you have to put it all out there. Coach (Butts) said today that you don’t really know what you don’t have until it’s not there. You can’t ever go back on something. I think that even though we haven’t had the season that we’ve wanted to, as long as you put everything out on the court, you shouldn’t have any regrets. You shouldn’t want to go back and do things over. Just play hard always I honestly think this program is on the rise up.”
“I just focused on finishing as much as I could. Davellyn [Whyte] makes plays a lot and defense sucks to her. We tried to make sure we finished.”
On senior night:
“It’s cool for me to see the seniors, especially Davellyn, because throughout high school and playing her when she was at St. Mary’s High School, just knowing her as a basketball player, I’ve always thought she was really good. I’ve always admired her game. It was very cool for me to be able to play with her for at least one season. It was nice. In the locker room, Coach Butts had some really nice words for both Davellyn and Cheshi.”