Arizona women’s basketball beats Colorado 63-51 to sweep mountain schools in Tucson
Arizona forward Cate Reese (25) is all smiles after the Wildcats got their first sweep of the season. Reese finished with a team high 17 points against Colorado.
There might only be one Arizona basketball team dancing in March this season, and thanks in part to their home sweep over the mountain schools, Adia Barnes and her program have the best chance. The weekend was capped off by a thorough and convincing 63-51 win over a Colorado team that beat Arizona women's basketball earlier this season.
The do-everything superstar Aari McDonald had one of her lowest scoring totals of the season, but the 13 points she contributed were accompanied by creative playmaking and relentlessness on the defensive end of the court. She finished the game with nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals, with just three turnovers.
The all-around performance McDonald displayed had a lot to do with Colorado’s 2-3 zone. It limited McDonald's greatest strength, which is blowing by her defender and getting to the basket and getting bigger defenders into foul trouble.
Instead, the guard from Fresno, Calif., bobbed and weaved through Colorado’s zone, forcing the Buffaloes to collapse on and send multiple defenders to her, clearing the way for her teammates to get cleaner looks, which they took advantage of.
Freshman Cate Reese was the biggest beneficiary of McDonald’s unselfishness, finishing as the game-leading scorer with 17 points, while adding nine rebounds as well.
The former McDonald's All-American was not only handling herself under the basket, but was also a threat on the fast break, as she raced through the Buffaloes defense on more than one occasion.
Reese wasn’t the only Arizona post to have a big night. Purdue-transfer Dominique McBryde also pitched in 13 points, not missing a single shot, finishing five for five from the field – hitting both three-point attempts – and making the sole free throw she attempted.
The balanced and efficient attack from the Wildcats was a welcoming sight, as Barnes' team struggled in the middle of their Pac-12 slate, finding itself entirely too reliant on their potential All-American guard to do their bidding.
Teams around the league started to game-plan solely to stop McDonald, and it took Arizona a couple games to find the right balance between being one dimensional and getting the best out of their best player.
The Wildcats seemed to have found the antidote for their problem at exactly the right time, as they look to finish out the grueling Pac-12 schedule on high note and prepare for the postseason, just one calendar year after going 6-24.
Barnes and her crew head up to the Bay Area next weekend to take on No. 10 Stanford and Cal, both teams that are also going to be joining Arizona in the postseason.
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