The Arizona women's basketball team looks to close out the regular season with a home sweep as it hosts Washington State tonight at 7 in McKale Center.
The Wildcats (18-9, 10-6 Pacific 10 Conference) find themselves in a must-win situation if they hope to receive a high seed in the Pac-10 tournament in San Jose, Calif., on March 4-8.
Arizona is tied for fourth in the Pac-10 with in-state rival ASU, behind Stanford, Oregon and Southern California.
"I think our team and everyone knows that these are huge games for a number of reasons - for finishing the regular season very strong, for going into the Pac-10 Tournament for a high seed and for NCAA purposes," said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini.
The Wildcats are coming off a disappointing performance Saturday in Eugene, Ore., as they fell to the Ducks, 69-51.
Bonvicini called Arizona's performance disjointed but said the team's problems can be fixed.
"Well I think two things (will help): by practice (and) working on our offenses better and together," Bonvicini said. "Part of it is because people have been out because of injuries. The bottom line is there needs to be a sense of urgency."
The Cougars (6-19, 2-14) fell short to in-state rival Washington Saturday, 76-72, committing 19 turnovers to the Huskies' 10. Washington State hit 80 percent of its free throws in the loss.
"Washington State has improved (and is) playing very, very good defense," Bonvicini said. "Watching their game Saturday versus Washington, particularly No. 4 (junior guard Ariana Scales) was extremely hot."
Scales paced the Cougars with 22 points.
"They're just playing very hard," Bonvicini said. "I think they are an excellent defensive team. They play extremely hard and (are) very disciplined."
Arizona defeated Washington State in Pullman, Wash., 54-51, on Dec. 29, without the help of junior center Shawntinice Polk and freshman guard Jessica Arnold, who were both out with injuries.
"It was an ugly game," said senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler. "We fought really hard but we were without Polkey and Jess. I think the team came together as a whole despite the look of the game.
"They've improved since the last time that we've played them," she said. "They're a team that likes to get up and down (the court) and transition. They have quick guards."
"I think they're an even improved team since we've last played them," said senior guard Katrina Lindner. "They have better team chemistry. They're a young team still that is learning to play together."
Lindner, Wheeler and forward Danielle Adefeso will be honored after Saturday's 4 p.m. game against Washington, also the team's senior night.