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New coach Butts has fans excited about UA women’s hoops

Catherine Palmer has held Arizona women’s basketball tickets for a long time.

And she senses something special in the making with the Wildcats.

“I really guard my precious seats, believe me,” Palmer said. “I can’t remember when I started. But I just couldn’t wait for this season to get started.”

She’s excited about the start of a new era with new coach Niya Butts.

“I think Niya is going to make quite a change and difference,” Palmer said. “There is something very, very special about her. She has a real gift. You can see it.”

Butts and the team were at McKale Center on Saturday to push season ticket sales plus meet and greet fans.

“This allows the fans to interact with the kids,” Butts said. “It puts a personal touch on it. Now they’re coming to cheer for somebody they have a connection with.”

Fans had a chance to ask questions of coaches and players, plus shoot baskets with the players on the court.

“(Butts) is phenomenal,” said fan Chris Bruno, who is Palmer’s daughter. “She motivates the girls and fans.”

Michael Green and Kim Green brought their two daughters. Kim is an ex-Wildcat, who had the last name Conway when she played in the early 1990s.

“I am real excited that they are reaching out to the community,” Kim Green said. “I am excited about all the changes and the upcoming season.”

Peter Burnham said that Butts has to get the players to work hard.

“A good coach has to be more (coach) than pal,” Burnham said. “She really has to teach skills. She really has to be (all) business and make them work.”

UA’s Red-Blue scrimmage will be Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. at McKale. The Wildcats open their season against Toledo in Hawaii on Nov. 14.

Softball

UA beat Cypress College 13-0 and Pima 8-0 Sunday on the final day of play at the Arizona Fall Classic.

The Wildcats will host their alumni game at noon on Oct. 25.

Pima football

The Aztecs dropped to 0-6 with a 41-0 loss to visiting Phoenix College on Saturday. Pima was held to 81 yards. Pima travels to face No. 2 Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, on Saturday.

Pima men’s soccer

The Aztecs continue to win, beating visiting Mesa 1-0 on Saturday to improve to 13-1.

Luis Lanz (Salpointe) scored the game’s only goal, finding the net with 4 minutes left.

Pima hosts Chandler-Gilbert at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Pima women’s soccer

The Aztecs fell to 9-4-1 with a 2-1 loss to visiting Phoenix College on Saturday. Pima hosts Chandler-Gilbert at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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