The Arizona women’s basketball team defeated Stony Brook in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 79-44. This is the first tournament win for the program since 2005.
“This is what we've been waiting for,” Aari McDonald said. “This is for all the work we have been putting in. To see a total balance today, I can’t complain. I'm excited and we gotta carry this to the next game.”
Arizona was led by McDonald, who scored 20 points. Right behind her was Trinity Baptiste, who scored 18 points and Cate Reese, who scored 16 points.
The Wildcats came out with intensity, forcing Stony Brook to make quick decisions that led to committing 11 turnovers in the first quarter. Arizona forced 25 turnovers total in the game.
"I’m really excited with the way our team competed today,” head coach Adia Barnes said. “The way we came out ready, fearless, aggressive defense. I thought we never let Stony Brook get into their offense.”
Sam Thomas filled the stat sheet and made a huge impact in this game. She scored two points, three rebounds, three assists and six steals.
Arizona shot the ball at a high clip, 58% (33-57) from the field and 67% (8-12) from the three. Helena Pueyo hit a pair of threes in the first half, scoring six points on 67% (2-3) from beyond the arc.
“When Pueyo is hitting threes, we love it,” McDonald said. “She is our best shooter on the team so any way we can get her a shot or a couple I mean take them, no one will be mad at her. We gotta keep feeding her the ball. For her, this is a confidence booster.”
Arizona will face BYU in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Wednesday, March 24.
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