2017-2018 schedule breakdown
San Diego State University
Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.
The Aztecs are looking to rebuild from a below-average performance last year as they finished 11-19. SDSU has more size than the Wildcats and have better rebounding ability, especially with 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Naomi Ekwedike. The Aztecs will put up a tough competition for Arizona.
@ Northern Arizona University
Thursday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.
The “school up north” is off to a rough 1-3 start this season and is looking to improve from last year’s 5-13 record. The Lumberjacks don’t have much size or experience, and shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge for the Wildcats.
New Mexico State University
Thursday, Dec. 14 at 11 a.m.
Arizona will be tested by New Mexico State. Besides Loyola, the Aggies are probably the toughest non-conference opponent Arizona faces. Last season they went 24-7 and made it to the first round of the national tournament. The Aggies brought back a lot of returners this year, which translates to experience on the court.
University of Hawaii
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.
Hawaii comes to Tucson, and like the Wildcats they are a relatively young team. Hawaii won 12 games last year, but failed to beat any Pac-12 teams on their schedule. Arizona looks to have solid wins coming into this stretch of the season, and to be ready.
Southern Utah University
Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
Last year, Arizona routed SUU 77-65 at this point in the season. So far, SU’s only win was by 3 points over Utah State — who Arizona decimated at the beginning of the season. Like Utah State, the Thunderbirds should be an easy, early season victory for Arizona.
@ Utah State University
Friday, Dec. 29 at 6 p.m.
Last year the Wildcats ousted Utah, and were one of three Pac-12 opponents that Arizona beat. This year, the Pac-12 regular season opens with the Utes, and the Wildcats will be tested.
@ University of Colorado Boulder
Sunday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m.
After visiting Salt Lake, Arizona will head to Boulder to face Colorado on New Year’s Eve. Colorado is not a perennial powerhouse, but they are one of the tougher teams the Wildcats will play in the Pac-12. Keep your eye on Kennedy Leonard, the All-Conference point guard who dropped 20 points on Arizona last year and helped the Buffaloes top the Wildcats, 65-56.
Friday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m.
The Wildcats’ toughest game every year is typically against the Cardinal. Stanford’s young Final Four team from last year has gained more experience, and has a chance at running the Pac-12. Stanford and Arizona will both be coming off winter break, so the Wildcats will need to practice hard over the six-day hiatus in order to make the upset. Last year’s game was not so favorable, and the Cardinal finished on top 77-55.
Sunday, Jan. 7 at 12 p.m.
The Golden Bears come to Tucson two days after the ‘Cats play Stanford, making the first weekend of the new year an eventful one for Arizona. Cal fields a solid team, and has a lot of returners from last year. The Wildcats will have to compete in the frontcourt in order to win, with Cal having one of the top forwards in the Pac-12 in 6-foot-4 Kristine Angiwe.
@ University of Oregon
Friday, Jan 12 at 9 p.m.
Oregon has two All-Conference returners, and is vying to make it to the final four after losing to UConn in the Elite Eight last year. Oregon knocked out the ‘Cats in the first round of the Pac-12 tourney, dominating Arizona off the glass with points in the paint and in rebounds. Forward Ruthy Hebard, who was 58 percent from the field last season, was a large part of their success. The Wildcats are going to have to defend Hebard at the front court in order to secure a win.
@ Oregon State University
Sunday, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.
OSU has one of the most productive offenses in the country, and is lethal at the three-point line. The Wildcats will have to win at the perimeter to slow down, and outscore a fast Oregon State team— and might have a tough time in doing so. Watch out for 6-foot point guard Kat Tudor, who is one of the highest scoring guards in the Pac-12.
Friday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m.
Around three weeks after playing them in Boulder, the Buffs come to Tucson for round two. This marks around the mid-point of the regular season, and both teams have been battle tested in conference, and know what to expect from each other. This game will most likely be important in deciding who stands near the middle of the Pac-12, and for seeding of teams in the Pac-12 Tournament. Both teams look to improve from last season, and get a bid into the big dance. A lot could potentially ride on this game, so tensions should be high.
Sunday, Jan. 21 at 12 p.m.
One area in which Utah could compete and beat the Wildcats is defensive rebounds. Their All-Conference 6-foot-6 forward Kelsey Potter is coming into her last season averaging nine rebounds and 13 points a game. Arizona players including Destiny Graham and JaLea Bennett will need to step their game up. Wins at this point in the year are crucial in determining how well Arizona can do in the post-season.
Friday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m.
The Wildcats will head to California to take on the Bears for the second time during their season. The Wildcats were unable to bring home a win last season from Cal, but with Arizona’s strong lineup this season, they will look to bounce back.
Sunday, Jan. 28 at 6 p.m.
With the Stanford’s experience on the court, the Wildcats will have to come to the court with full force in hopes to come back from last seasons loss.
Washington State University
Friday, Feb. 2 at 6 p.m.
Wazzu was one of three Pac-12 opponents the Wildcats beat last year, so WSU will be looking for revenge. They have a strong dynamic forward in 6-foot Borislava Hristova from Bulgaria, who averaged 14 points a game last year. She can shoot from the perimeter, drive effectively and has a very similar playing style to that of Arizona’s Bennett. The Hristova and Bennett matchup should be a defining factor of that game.
University of Washington
Sunday, Feb. 4 at 12 p.m.
The Huskies took a fall from grace since last year, losing key players and most of their coaching staff during the preseason. After losing Kelsey Plum, Aarion McDonald and their very successful head coach Mike Neighbors, the Huskies are a deprived team in the Pac-12 and are still trying to recover. Unlike last year, Washington doesn’t have the depth, size and experience they once had, so the chances of a Wildcat win this game are much higher than they were in the past.
@ University of California Los Angeles
Friday, Feb 9 at 9 p.m.
Monique Billings and Jordin Canada return for their last season to lead what may be one of the best teams in the country. Thirteen out of 15 players on their roster are six-feet and above, and head coach Cori Close has been developing this UCLA team for around two years. With Billings in backcourt at point, and Canada at center, they are one of the most well-rounded teams in the nation, not to mention one of the deepest. UCLA is most likely to run the table in the Pac-12, and go deep into the NCAA tournament.
@ University of Southern California
Sunday, Feb. 11 at 2 p.m.
USC shouldn’t be the stiffest competition Arizona faces in the Pac-12, but playing them won’t be a cake walk either. They are another West Coast team with a lot of size and young talent. The Trojans can play off the glass well with senior forward Kristen Simon, who averaged 14 points and eight rebounds a game last season. Destiny Graham, playing defense against Simon, should be an interesting matchup to look for.
@ Arizona State University
Friday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 18 at 4 p.m.
The ASU rivalry weekend is always the biggest two-game stretch of the year for Arizona, and this season it’s no different. ASU started off this season at No. 25, however lost a key player in the front court with the graduation of All-Conference forward Sophia Brunner. The Sun Devils still have a lot of size, with two players over 6-foot-3, so the Wildcats will have to win at the perimeter with lots of ball movement and at least compete off the glass if they want a chance to get the sweep.
Friday, Feb. 23 at 8 p.m.
That following weekend the ‘Cats face one of the toughest teams in the conference for a second time, Oregon State. An upset at home against the Beavers this late in the season could benefit the ‘Cats seed in the Pac-12 tournament, and could potentially help their case for a spot the NCAA tournament.
Sunday, Feb. 25 at 12 p.m.
The last game of the regular season is against the team that knocked Arizona out of the Pac-12, and a win at home could mean sweet revenge for the Wildcats. Oregon of course boasts a well-rounded offense, and can compete with the ‘Cats backcourt. Sabrina Ionescu is one of the best driving guards in the country, so in order to pull off an upset win to cap off the regular season, Arizona is going to need to make sure those lanes are closed.
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