TUCSON, Ariz. — Junior Candice Warthen scored 23 points and two freshmen had career days as the Arizona women’s basketball team defeated Texas Tech 65-56 at McKale Center on Sunday.
Warthen shot 9 of 13 from the field for a season-high 23 points and also grabbed eight rebounds. It was the third game this season in which she’s scored 20 or more points.
Freshman LaBrittney Jones had a career day, posting the first double-double of her career with 12 points and 15 rebounds while going 4 for 4 from the free-throw line. Jones also added three blocks.
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Freshman Breanna Workman also the best performance of her young career, finishing with seven points and a career-high 11 rebounds for the Wildcats.
“(LaBrittney and Breanna) are capable of going to the boards and rebounding that well,” Arizona head coach Niya Butts said. “Defensive rebounds are all about toughness — rarely is it about how much talent you have. We are capable of rebounding night in and night out. It is just about your will, how bad you want it. I think our kids played like they wanted it today.”
Eight players grabbed at least two rebounds for Arizona, but the freshman duo played a big part in establishing the Wildcats’ 53-38 rebounding margin over the Lady Raiders.
Senior Kama Griffitts recorded 13 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists. Senior Carissa Crutchfield and freshman Ashley Merrill also added four assists apiece.
“It was our mindset and attitudes, and it was a total team effort. We got the win together,” Warthen said. “Coach Niya continuously kept saying that it’s about stops and rebounds, and that’s what we did today, we got stops and rebounds.”
In the first half, the Wildcats rallied from a nine-point deficit in the first minutes to execute a 20-5 run of their own and lead, 30-24 going into the locker room.
Arizona came out on an 8-2 run to start the second half, but the Lady Raiders cut it to a two-point lead with 6:51 left in the game. UA bounced back, responding with a 7-0 run and Texas Tech could not close the gap.
“What was key in that comeback was not stopping after being down,” Jones said. “In past games, we start to give up after giving up buckets. Today, we kept the mindset of just staying positive and not losing the game.”
Minta Spears and Amber Battle led the Lady Raiders with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
“It obviously feels good to get a win, to finally finish down the stretch and to get stops down the stretch,” Butts said. “I thought this was a good team and a good win for us.”