It has been a great year for Arizona sports teams. The women's basketball team is one of the best in the country, a pair of siblings are tearing it up in women's golf, every gymnastics meet comes down to hundredths of points and soccer is currently undefeated. Currently, the women's diving team has won a few matches, women's tennis is having a great year, cross country is putting up good numbers, volleyball had a dominant weekend against Oregon State and the beach volleyball season has started.
You are probably thinking, “wow, I had no idea the men were playing so well this year.” Except that it’s not the men doing this well, it’s the women.
People don’t realize this because men’s sports are usually noticed more than women’s sports. Even with the stellar year that all of the women’s teams are having, they don’t get a lot of coverage. This is a major disservice to the athletes, their coaches and all the fans who could be watching once-in-a-lifetime talent.
I want to break it down and share some stats about a few of the amazing female athletes here at the University of Arizona.
The women’s basketball team has a current record of 15-4 and is ranked No. 9 in the country. Star senior Aari McDonald holds the single-game scoring record for Arizona when she dropped 44 points against Texas in 2019. She also holds the season-scoring record for Arizona with 890 points. Senior Sam Thomas started in every game her freshman and sophomore year, proving she is an iron woman. In her junior year, Thomas became the only player in school history with 100 made three-pointers and 100 blocked shots. These ladies are balling hard!
Sisters Vivian and Yu-Sang Hou hailing from Taipei, Taiwan, have shown that they are standout players for the women’s golf team. Vivian was named the Women’s Golf Coaches Association Freshman of the Year in 2019, while Yu-Sang was second team WGCA All-American in 2019. Though they are far from Taiwan, they have found a home in the Wildcat family. Keep it up Hou sisters!
Gymnast Sirena Linton dazzles audiences on the balance beam at every meet with a combination of flips and spins. Keep in mind, this beam is only four inches wide. She must soar through the air and always be able to catch herself without knowing where the beam is. But even more impressive is her career average of 9.900 on the beam.
Linton is also an uneven bars magician, gliding ever so flawlessly from bar to bar. She holds a career average of 9.850. Most people cannot balance their homework schedule, let alone themselves on a four-inch beam.
Lead-off hitter and senior Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza is the star of Arizona’s top-five ranked softball team. Palomino-Cardoza has a hit in nine of the first 10 games this year and she currently holds a .433 batting average. The softball team is also being considered championship favorites this year. Go bring that title home ladies!
I’ve had the honor of watching the Wildcats from outside the Arizona stands and I’ve enjoyed watching volleyball, soccer and gymnastics. I’m also excited to be covering beach volleyball as my first sports beat! These four specific teams were mentioned for a reason. Without women, these teams wouldn’t exist; there are no men’s teams for either of them.
Much like the Hou sisters, many female athletes at Arizona are from other countries. In fact, some rosters either equal or exceed American born players.
To name just a few of these outstanding women, diver Martine Erlam and beach volleyball blocker Jasmine Safar hail from Canada, tennis player Talya Zandberg from Israel and volleyball outside hitter Sofia Maldonado Diaz from Mexico.
I know I was not able to mention all the amazing female athletes Arizona has, but that was on purpose.
Why? Because I want all of you to go read about these women and their amazing accomplishments, whether in sports or otherwise. There are so many amazing untold stories out there.
You deserve so much recognition ladies. Thank you for everything you have done for sports and keep up the good work!
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