By Adam Gonzales / UA Sports
The Arizona women’s basketball team won their second and final exhibition game of the season over Western New Mexico by a score of 80-36 Monday night in McKale Center.
“We have really improved from the last exhibition game on doing things that we need to do,” Coach Adia Barnes said. “Whether it is against a 2-3 zone or penetrating the gaps; little things like that. That is hard to do. I can see freshmen carrying it over and I am really optimistic about that. We are going to have to be creative as a coaching staff and make things happen, but I am okay with that. I am giving my freshmen a tremendous amount of minutes this year. They are going to grow. That is the process of building a program.”
JaLea Bennett followed up her 35-point effort last Monday with 19 points on 9-14 shooting, seven rebounds and four steals tonight. The senior is Arizona’s leading returning scorer.
Graham recorded a double-double on the night as she scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, four of them on the offensive end.
“I think the biggest mindset is staying together,” Graham said. “Win or lose, we win together or we lose together, but make sure we’re together as a team, pushing through those hardships and celebrating everyone’s successes. I think that’s the most important thing, just staying together.”
Kyles made her money from downtown tonight as she hit four triples for 18 points after she was held scoreless against Eastern New Mexico last Monday.
The Wildcats dominated the interior as they outrebounded the Mustangs 54 with 18 offensive rebounds while outscoring Western New Mexico 32-8 in the paint.
The Arizona defense was stifling all night as they forced Western New Mexico into 30% shooting while also forcing 12 turnovers.
Arizona got out to a 16-8 lead in the first quarter on the back of Kat Wright and Sam Thomas, who scored five and four points, respectively. The Wildcats outrebounded the Mustangs by an impressive mark of 17-5 in the first 10 minutes, which included seven offensive boards. The second quarter was all Arizona as they made four three-pointers to take a 34-11 lead into the locker room. Arizona ended the quarter on a 15-0 run.
The third quarter was pretty even for the most part, until Arizona caught fire at the end of the quarter by hitting three-pointers on three-straight possessions, two of them by walk-on Lindsey Malecha. The Wildcats would take a 57-21 lead into the fourth quarter where they would outscore Western New Mexico 23-10.
With that, the preseason is in the books and the Wildcats are set to open up the regular season against Iona on Friday, Nov. 10 at Noon MT.
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