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UA’s play keeps improving, Butts says

Citizen Staff Writer



If Arizona is to make a move up in the Pac-10 standings, this is the weekend to get it done.

The Wildcats, picked to finish last in the Pac-10, are eighth in the conference at 3-11 – just ahead of Washington State (3-12) and Washington (2-13). The Wildcats host both teams this weekend, starting with WSU Thursday.

UA ends its regular season on the road at Stanford and Cal.

Although Arizona lost 60-53 to Arizona State last week, the Wildcats didn’t walk away hanging their heads. Arizona led much of the way before ASU regrouped in the second half for a comeback.

“Every day, we are growing and getting better,” said first-year UA coach Niya Butts. “I hope we can carry this over next week and into the Pac-10 Tournament.”

Arizona showed improvement in turnovers, committing only nine against ASU.

“Our team did a better job of taking care of the basketball than we’ve done all year. We were solid in a lot of areas,” Butts said.

Sophomore forward Ify Ibewke continues to hold up her end. Ibewke leads the team in scoring and rebounding. She ranks first in the Pac-10 in rebounding, averaging 11.5 per game, and is second in scoring averaging (15.6).

Senior forward Amina Njonkou is seventh in rebounding (7.8) and 23rd in scoring (9.3). Njonkou has been coming off the bench in recent games. She has been more effective in that role.

“Every single game we grow and we learn. That helps us as a team,” Ibewke said.

Thursday: Washington St. (10-16, 3-12) at UA (10-15, 3-11), 7 p.m., McKale Center Radio: 1400 AM

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