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Arizona women's basketball: Whyte, Cats get 2 tries to end futility vs. ASU

2013-02-19T00:00:00Z Arizona women's basketball: Whyte, Cats get 2 tries to end futility vs. ASUDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 19, 2013 12:00 am  • 

As a Phoenix native and the state of Arizona's best high school player in 2009, Davellyn Whyte could have been an Arizona State Sun Devil.

"Everyone is always like, 'Dav, why didn't you go to ASU? Why didn't you go to ASU?'" Whyte said.

The UA senior guard was one of the most coveted recruits in the state as a high schooler; she attended Phoenix St. Mary's, just 10 miles from the ASU campus.

She chose the Wildcats anyway.

"I'm not bashing (the Sun Devils), but I've never regretted coming here," Whyte said. "So, getting a win my senior year against them would feel really good."

Whyte, who has beaten ASU only once, and Arizona (12-13 overall, 4-10 Pac-12) will get two chances to beat the Sun Devils this week.

The UA will host ASU tonight at 7 p.m. The two rivals will hook up again in Tempe on Sunday at 1 p.m. The programs are billing the back-to-back in-state games as "Rivalry Week."

"Never has that happened," Wildcats coach Niya Butts said. "I think it will be fine. Any time you are playing your rival, it's interesting anyway, and certainly it will be when you go Tuesday and right back again Sunday."

Two games in a week means double the story lines. Here are our three favorites:

1. Whyte's last stand. The senior's career numbers rank among the best in Wildcats history. Still, Whyte has struggled against the Sun Devils.

In her first three seasons, Whyte, who is averaging 16.2 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per contest, is 1-6 in her career against ASU. She and the UA went winless in three tries against the in-state rivals a year ago.

This week likely marks her last crack at the Sun Devils. Whyte said she's hopeful she can finally stop the, "Why didn't you go to ASU?" questions after a couple of wins this week.

"We haven't had a lot of success against them," Whyte said, "but if we focus and play hard, I think we have the better team."

2. The trash talk. Butts will enjoy the home game more than Sunday's road contest. When she takes the McKale Center floor for tonight's game, she'll likely be greeted by cheers and smiles from Wildcat fans.

That won't be the case Sunday in Tempe.

"I get some interesting things said to me," Butts said. "For ASU-Arizona, it's amazing the things you hear, some of which I cannot share here. People are so passionate about this rivalry, and I enjoy that. I appreciate the love for their school that fans have."

Butts won't be the only one to hear insults flung her way. The players will try to use that to their advantage tonight at McKale and try to ignore it Sunday in Tempe.

"I know it's a rivalry game and I know it's intense," said junior point guard Carissa Crutchfield, who is in her first season with the UA. "I'm ready for it all and want to come out of there with two wins."

3. The back-to-back factor. Butts isn't sure what it will be like to play the Sun Devils twice in a row.

"We've never done it before, so it's hard to say," Butts said. "All I know is I'll enjoy having the home court advantage on Tuesday and I'll think about the other game when it comes up."

Added Whyte: "I think it's hard to beat a team twice - especially in the same week."

Both teams could use a win.

The Wildcats snapped an eight-game skid Sunday with a 61-52 win over Utah. The Sun Devils (11-15) have lost seven in a row; at 3-11 in Pac-12 play, they sit one game behind the Wildcats in the standings.

If there's ever been a time for Arizona to pick up a couple of wins against its rival, it's now.

"It should be a fun week," Butts said.

Today

• Who: Arizona State at Arizona

• When: 7 p.m.

• Radio: 1400-AM

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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