In the landscape of Pac-12 women’s basketball, any team – no matter their record – can compete with any team on any given night.
On Friday night, Arizona served up a bittersweet reminder of that, as its upset of No. 7 Stanford fell just short, with the Cardinal coming out on top 56-54. Against a team who, a little over a month earlier, trounced them at home by 30 points, the Wildcats seemed to be in control of the game leading by seven with 4:39 remaining.
From that point on, the ‘Cats wouldn’t score a single point, and Stanford would go on a 9-0 run, highlighted by a pair of 3's from senior Alanna Smith, one coming with 23.7 seconds remaining after a 3-pointer from redshirt junior Dominique McBryde was just off the mark.
With 16.7 seconds left, redshirt sophomore Aari McDonald went to the line, but would end up missing both free throws. After a steal from sophomore Sam Thomas gave the Wildcats one more chance, a step back three from McDonald rattled as far into the net as it possibly could, before bouncing out, and the buzzer sounded on an impressive effort from both teams.
The game was relatively close in the beginning, when compared to the teams’ first meeting, UA found itself down by 28 points at halftime. Going into the half Friday night, Arizona trailed by only eight.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats, through a combination of good shooting and tremendous defense, outscored the Cardinal 20-10, giving them a two point lead heading into the fourth frame.
McDonald finished with 20 points, to go along with seven rebounds, six assists, and four steals in a game in which she didn’t hit the bench, playing all 40 minutes.
The only other scorer in double digits for Arizona was senior Destiny Graham, who had 11 points, nine of which came from beyond the arc.
The Wildcats will look to put this tough loss behind them, as they get set for a game at California on Sunday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m.
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