Arizona women's basketball prepares for emotional game in Seattle
This weekend, Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball heads to Washington for a rare Thursday/Saturday series, against Washington on Thursday, Feb. 7, and Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 9.
The trip will be a good chance for the Wildcats (14-7), who are 1-5 in their last six games, to get back to their early season winning ways.
Both Washington and Washington State are at the bottom of the conference, with records of 8-15 and 7-15, respectively. Their records, however, are no reason to take them lightly, according to head coach Adia Barnes.
“I think that’s one of the most dangerous things is when they are lower-ranked teams,” she said. “They are still good enough to beat people, and they’ll surprise some people. So we don’t overlook anybody; we’re not at the point in the program where we can overlook people.”
The series is more than just a good opportunity for the ‘Cats to string together some wins. There are numerous ties between Arizona women’s basketball and Washington women’s basketball, in particular.
Barnes played professionally in Washington, for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, from 2002-2004. After that, she joined Washington’s coaching staff, before being promoted to recruiting coordinator.
In that role, she would recruit numerous players, including Aari McDonald, who transferred to Arizona after her freshman year at Washington and is currently the second leading scorer per game in the nation.
“It’s gonna be a game with a lot of emotions, a trip with a lot of emotions,” Barnes said. “I lived there for 14 years, a lot of ties to Seattle with the Storm and different things. Aari played there, [Assistant Coach] Morgan [Valley] coached there. So I think it’s going to be an exciting game, but a game we definitely have to try to win.”
For Washington, the reason for its struggle is obvious. They have just one player, junior guard Amber Melgoza, who averages more than nine points per game, with Melgoza averaging 17.9.
The Cougars come into the game with three players averaging double-digit points per game, including redshirt junior Borislava Hristova, who averages 20.8 ppg.
After this weekend’s games, the Wildcats will only have six games left on their regular season schedule, with four of those games against ranked opponents, three in the top 11. The clock is ticking for the ‘Cats, who at one point in the season were a tournament team, to get back on track.
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