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Senior’s play off bench may be weapon for Wildcats

Citizen Staff Writer



Has Arizona women’s basketball coach Niya Butts uncovered a new weapon by bringing Amina Njonkou off the bench?

Njonkou was effective coming off the bench against Oregon last week. She finished with 16 points and nine rebounds in a 68-44 win, UA’s second in the Pac-10 this season.

The Wildcats play at UCLA at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Njonkou stepped up her game when the Wildcats’ leading scorer and rebounder, Ify Ibekwe, was injured and missed the last 10 minutes of the contest.

“I can say it worked pretty well,” Njonkou said. “I had energy coming off the bench. When I saw Ify go down, I knew we needed more energy to win the game. I tried to play harder.”

When Njonkou is playing to her capabilities, Arizona is a much better team.

“I told her any time we can get production like this, we are going to start bringing you off the bench,” Butts said. “She was more focused than she has been.

“She was really active on the offensive boards. . . . That’s what I’ve been looking for the most part.”

Butts hoped bringing Njonkou off the bench would motivate the 6-foot-1 senior.

“She had been struggling, so it was something to get her going, Butts said.

“One or two things were going to happen from this. She was going to tank further or she was going to step up and play basketball like she knows how to play.”

Ibekwe is expected to be fully recovered from her sprained ankle injury soon.


Arizona (9-13, 2-9)

at UCLA (14-7, 5-5)

When: 8 p.m., Thursday

Where: Los Angeles

Radio: 1400 AM

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