Arizona improves in defeat
Two straight losses to ranked opponents diminished an otherwise productive weekend for the Arizona women’s basketball team.
No. 4 Stanford beat the Wildcats (4-13, 0-6 Pac-12) 96-52 on Friday, and No. 19 California (13-4, 5-1) beat Arizona 79-64 on Monday.
Arizona was more effective against the Golden Bears, both offensively and defensively, after being blown out on Friday.
On the offensive end, the Wildcats increased their assists from seven in the Stanford game to nine against Cal. On the defensive end, the Wildcats paid extra attention to 3-point shooters, as they allowed California to shoot only 4-for-14 from 3-point territory.
Carlos Herrera / The Daily Wildcat UA freshman forward LaBrittney Jones taks it hard to the basket duirng the UA vs. California basketball game at the McKale Memorial Center Monday. UA lost to California, 79-64.
Leading Arizona was the trio of senior forward Erica Barnes, senior guard Carissa Crutchfield and freshman forward LaBrittney Jones. The trio produced 48 points, grabbed 19 rebounds and dished out four assists.
However, the Wildcats could not contain the duo of California guard Brittany Boyd and forward Reshanda Gray. Boyd and Gray combined for 44 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.
“Those two obviously present a problem,” UA head coach Niya Butts said. “With all of that said, we’re still right in the ballgame with the chance to go down the stretch and win it.”
A jump shot by Barnes capped off a 15-7 Arizona run and cut California’s 15-point lead down to seven with 2:44 left in the second half. However, the Cal lead would only increase from that point on.
An essential component was California’s free throw shooting, as the Golden Bears converted 10-12 from the line in the last two minutes of the game.
On Friday the Wildcats lost to Stanford (16-1, 5-0) for the 23rd consecutive time, 96-52.
The Wildcats started the Stanford game with energy and effort, as they stayed close to the Cardinal for about five minutes. At that point, Stanford was up 15-11 and the Arizona players had plenty to be excited for.
However, that excitement faded quickly as the Cardinal went on a quick 14-7 run and the lead grew significantly. By halftime the lead was 52-31, and it would only increase.
“I feel like we pretty much gave our all in the first half,” Barnes said. “Mentally, we just weren’t there in the second half.”
The second half saw a 21-point halftime lead more than double and reach a high of 46 points. Stanford maintained control throughout the game en route to the victory.
Stanford senior forward Chiney Ogwumike showed why she was a consensus preseason All-American candidate by putting up 24 points and 12 rebounds on 12-for-13 shooting.
“Anytime you get out of position and you got a one-on-one versus Ogwumike, it’s difficult,” Butts said. “She only missed one shot in the first half, and she got her own rebound and put it back in.”
The consistent problem throughout the season for the Wildcats had been a lack of offensive production. In this game, defense was the main issue. The Cardinal made 18 3-pointers, shot 46.9 percent from the 3-point line and made 63.5 percent from the field.
Despite the team’s struggles, the Arizona offense was led by Barnes and senior guard Kama Griffitts, who combined for 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
The defensive issues were further compounded by a lack of ball movement on offense for the Wildcats. Arizona had seven assists for the entire game, only one of which came in the second half. On the other hand, Stanford finished with 28 assists.
In what was the worst loss of the season so far, the Wildcats were exposed defensively. Stanford capitalized on those mistakes and blew the game open with its inside-out combination.
Looking forward, Arizona hits the road next to take on Colorado on Friday at 7 p.m. The game can be streamed live on pac-12.com.
“We’re just going to go to practice and prep for [Colorado] like we do every team and play hard,” Jones said.
Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555