Sweet victory for Loyd
UA women's basketball assistant coach Curtis Loyd marked last night's date on the calendar as soon as the team's 1999-2000 schedule came out.
Loyd, a former assistant coach for Colorado State (5-2) was able to sit back and relax while the post players he was hired to work with combined for 52 points, en route to an 89-75 Arizona (6-0) victory.
Senior forward Tatum Brown set a career-high scoring mark for the second straight game, but that can be partially credited to Loyd, who helped construct plays that would allow Arizona to dominate in the paint.
"We knew the advantage we had was in the post play and we really had to exploit that," Loyd said. "You could really tell the difference because our posts came out to play."
The game had special meaning for Loyd.
"I was going into the game with mixed emotions, because a lot of the players there I have pretty good relationships, and I still do," he said.
Loyd added that, win or lose, the evening would have been the same - a night that featured memories of the past and the reality of the present.
Brown's 30 points and sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney's 16 points were too much for Colorado State's three-point aptitude.
For the past two years, Colorado State has led the nation in three-point field goals, which was evident in its 31 attempts last night. The Rams, though, only made 12 (38.7 percent) of those shots.
Despite the Arizona post players making impressive statements in the box score, the effort over Colorado State was a collaboration between the frontcourt and the backcourt.
Sophomore guard Julie Brase scored 17 points, all of which came in the second half, and senior guard Lisa Griffith added another 10 points.
"Coach told me that I need to shoot more and plus my teammate, Lisa Griffith was yelling at me (to shoot the ball) too," Brase said. "So I came out mad (at not scoring in the first half) and that anger helped me out."
The Wildcats can give credit for the win to their performance in the second half where they outscored Colorado State 50-31, after entering the locker room with a five-point deficit.
"We were allowing them to shoot the three, I don't think that our defense was really committed, I don't think that we were moving the ball enough on offense," UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "We made a big adjustment at half-time by taking off the press, we played man (defense) and put posts on guards."
The game turned around just as the seconds began to tick off the clock when UA came out with a 20-4 run.
"I am glad that we started the way we did in the second half, we came out hard, Julie a bunch of threes, we got the ball inside to Tatum," Bonvicini said. "I was really disappointed in the first half, but I am really pleased that we made adjustments and it was a great team effort."
Brown agreed that the half-time conferences with the team and Bonvicini motivated them to come out on fire.
"She just told us that we weren't playing up to par, up to our potential and we talked about it amongst ourselves before she got in (to the locker room)," Brown said. "We were like, defensively, we've got to pick it and come out the first five minutes and just chip our way back. The offense will flow and that is exactly what happened."
Brown added that once the Wildcats opened up their lead, their momentum wouldn't allow them to stop.
She also said that the tandem between the guards and forwards confused the Rams' defense, which is why Arizona was able to go on a 50-point assault after half-time.
"Once they collapsed on (the post players), we had Julie Brase coming out for 17 in the second half," she said.
According to Bonvicini, this was nearly a "complete game" for the Wildcats, as she noted that the UA team has a number of goals they would like to accomplish in each outing.
"We want to have under 17 turnovers, to score over 80 points, to shoot over 48 (percent) from the field, 75 (percent) from the free throw line and the other goal is to win the first half," Bonvicini said. "We did everything, but win the first half."