The spotlight was on the Arizona women’s basketball team Monday, Feb. 22, in Palo Alto, California. A win would all but put them in the driver’s seat for the conference title, and a loss would crown Stanford the Pac-12 regular season champions.
Arizona’s lowest-scoring game of the season happened and Stanford locked up the Pac-12 regular season title after defeating the Wildcats 62-48. Stanford’s defense proved to be the difference-maker.
“We don’t think we played our best game, but they make you do that,” head coach Adia Barnes said. “They make you play ugly and they make you play to your weaknesses. We were getting stops but then we couldn’t go score.”
Arizona managed to stay in the game early on due to the shooting of Sam Thomas and a great rebounding effort from Trinity Baptiste. Aari McDonald struggled early on, starting 2-11 from the field and 0/3 from beyond the arc in the first half. Meanwhile, Thomas started off hot, shooting 3/4 from three-point range in the first half to help keep Arizona competitive. Baptiste ended the night grabbing nine rebounds and adding five points in the game.
McDonald eventually got going and finished with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. The game was McDonald’s 84th straight game scoring double-digit points.
Arizona suffered from a slow night from Cate Reese, who scored just seven points, and Helena Pueyo, who went scoreless while only taking three shots.
“[Pueyo] should be confident. She’s one of our best three-point shooters,” Barnes said. “She’s shooting over 40% on threes so she should be confident. I don’t know why there’s hesitation.”
Arizona shot just 31% from the field overall and 24% from three-point range. They also finished 9/14 from the free-throw line.
“We know we’re capable of playing better,” Barnes said. “We know we’re capable of doing more … the standards are high, but I look at the stat sheet, I’m not happy with that … you can’t beat good teams like that.”
The Wildcats conclude its season against Arizona State on Sunday, Feb. 28, before starting the Pac-12 tournament on March 3.
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