Senior guard Davellyn Whyte (Phoenix, Ariz.) scored 27 points and Arizona women’s basketball team defeated Grand Canyon, 81-55, in its exhibition debut on Monday night.
In addition to her 27 points, Whyte recorded eight steals, five rebounds and four assists.
Arizona’s newcomers played a big part in the win, as junior Alli Gloyd (Phoenix, Ariz.) erupted for 14 points and four rebounds, junior Kama Griffitts (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) added seven points and three rebounds and junior Carissa Crutchfield (Ft. Gibson, Okla.) dished out four assists.
As a team, the Wildcats scored 31 points off of 33 Antelope turnovers and shot 50 percent from behind the arc.
“It’s always good to get a win and play somebody different,” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said. “I thought we played hard for the most part as a team. I thought we got out really aggressive. We were solid in the half court defensively and I think our press forced a lot of turnovers. Anytime you get 33 turnovers a game, you have to feel pretty good about that effort.”
In the first half, the Antelopes scored first, but Arizona responded with a White layup and Whyte steal and layup to go up, 4-3.
Grand Canyon scored again, but the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run sparked by a Griffitts three-pointer to give Arizona a 14-5 edge.
The half continued with short runs until Whyte hit another three-pointer to start a 8-0 to extend UA’s lead to 29-12.
In the second half, the Antelopes came out strong, scoring the first two field goals, but Whyte responded with a jumper to reignite the Wildcats’ offense.
GCU then went on a scoring surge, but Arizona’s consistent attack helped maintain the lead and finished the game, 81-55.
Chigozie Ekweozor and Deanna Daniels led the Antelopes with eight points each.
The Wildcats will travel to Bakersfield to take on CSUB for their first regular-season game on Friday, Nov. 5 at 8:30 p.m. PST.
For complete results and continued coverage of Arizona women’s basketball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com.
On telling her team to “wake up” in the second half:
“We allowed them to make some easy buckets in the second half. We weren’t denying and we didn’t have that same intensity. Then we kind of picked it up after I yelled a few times. We can’t have those moments. Great teams don’t have those moments.”
On aggressive full court defensive and will we see more of it this year:
“I certainly hope so. We did pretty well with it. Like I said, I thought there were moments when we had four people on the same page and the fifth person would get beat. We would have to help the helper a lot. For the most part overall I think it was a solid game for us defensively.”
On the bench performance:
“I think the bench gave us some positive minutes. I was very pleased with Keyahndra Cannon and Layana White’s minutes. Layana took some good shots, as opposed to last year when she took some poor shots. Overall the bench did a good job. We just need to stop turning the ball over offensively and we will be alright.”
“I had to get away for a little while to calm my nerves. As a lot of people may know, I’ve always wanted to play for the U of A, and here it is. I just had to keep calm, remember everything in practice, and come out with intensity.”
On Coach Butts’s remarks postgame:
“She talked about us needing to make sure to keep our turnovers down, be careful with the ball and have a lot of intensity on defense”
“I don’t know why, but I was nervous. I had jitters in me, I think it was because it’s my last first game here. For the first game it was pretty good. We haven’t been playing with each other for long. I think we did well for the most part, we know what we have to work on and the film will help us out with that.”
On her performance
“It went alright, just getting back into game-mode, how it feels to be in the game. I didn’t do too well on defense like how I want to, how coach wants us to play. That’s her focus this year, so we’ve got to step it up and me personally, I know that’s what I have to fix.”
On new players
“I think they were a little nervous, it’s a whole different vibe from practice. We’re finally going against somebody else. For the most part I think they did a really good job adapting.”