No. 13 Arizona women's basketball will return home this weekend to compete in another top-15 matchup against No. 4 Stanford on Friday and conclude the weekend with the University of California on Sunday.
Arizona has been consistent all season until this past weekend, where the team ran into a road bump, losing Aari McDonald for their road trip against Utah and Colorado. They defeated Utah and dropped a brutal game to Colorado 50-38. The Buffaloes went on a 15-0 run to finish off the game and Arizona did not score in the final three minutes. Sam Thomas stepped up for the Wildcats and dropped a career-high 31 points Friday against Utah. Sunday against Colorado was a different story, as she scored just 7 points, shooting 2-for-9.
“Without Aari [McDonald], we were losing those 20 points, so we had to find a way to get those points or get defensive stops,” Thomas said.
Arizona was battling all sorts of adversity on the road trip. Cate Reese had unsafe blood sugar levels, which led to her being hospitalized the day before each game. McDonald was battling a leg injury and the whole team was on Tamiflu.
“There was a lot of factors,” head coach Adia Barnes said, “but that was not what I was going to talk about after the game.”
Barnes also added that with Reese having type 1 diabetes, her blood sugar numbers could have been caused by the team having the flu or the elevation as they traveled from Utah to Colorado over the weekend.
Reese is averaging 13.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game while McDonald is leading the Wildcats, scoring 20.5 points per game thus far. The last time Arizona faced Stanford while both of them were top-15 teams was Jan. 12, 1998, when the No. 9 Wildcats knocked off the No. 11 Cardinal with a historic buzzer-beating finish by Reshea Bristol.
With Arizona locking up a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Tournament last weekend, Stanford could potentially become a matchup they will see later on in the tournament if Arizona makes it to the Pac-12 championship game.
“I don’t think this is a must-win game because we’ve only lost five games all year,” said Barnes.
The Wildcats could finish third with an upset on Friday pending the results to UCLA’s games this weekend.
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