Double-digit scoring contributions from four Arizona Wildcats helped Adia Barnes’ team to push past Florida Atlantic 77-67 on Thursday night at McKale Center.
Reserve guard Taryn Griffey led the Wildcats with 19 points, five rebounds and four assists. Guards Lucia Alonso and Malena Washington had 15 and 13 points, respectively. Forward LaBrittney Jones added 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Having versatile players who can play at either guard spot is a strength for the Wildcats (4-1) that was shown in the win with the play of Griffey, Alonso and Washington.
“Anybody can step in at any time and pick up right where we left off,” said Griffey, daughter of baseball star Ken Griffey Jr.
Taryn Griffey was quick to praise Washington for her offensive performance. Washington, Griffey and Alonso were a combined 16 of 37 (43.2 percent) from the field.
“Malena is one of our guards that scores the most,” she said. “We definitely need her out there.”
While Griffey thinks that her team needs to work on “defensive rotations and communication”, Alonso, a freshman, wants the Wildcats to lock in mentally from the start.
Florida Atlantic’s Sasha Cedeno had 16 of her game-high 24 points in the first half. Her scoring gave the Owls (3-4) a 39-38 lead at the half.
The Wildcats held Florida Atlantic to 38.9 percent shooting in the third period and only 23.5 percent (4 of 17) in the final period.
“We need to start the game more focused,” Alonso said.
Griffey explained that her team’s style of play is changing under Barnes, who is in her first season as a head coach.
“We are trying to go back and forth between shooting and driving,” Griffey said.
Barnes reaffirmed her philosophy of penetrating the lane after the game.
“I don’t want us to live and die by the three,” she said.
Barnes said that during halftime she noticed a maturity in her team.
“They wrote on the board what they wanted their goals to be,” she said. “This team would not have done that a couple months ago.”