Five takeaways from today's Arizona WBB press conference with Adia Barnes and Sam Thomas

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Nathanial Stenchever | The Daily Wildcat

Sam Thomas, a forward on the Arizona women's basketball team, shoots free throws on Friday, Nov. 19, in McKale Center. The Wildcats lead at half 32-22.

Today, the Arizona women's basketball team's head coach Adia Barnes and forward Sam Thomas held a press conference where they spoke on a variety of topics ranging from the University of Oregon game, fixing turnovers and looking ahead at this week's games. 

1. The situation between Barnes and Oregon’s head coach Kelly Graves was blown out of proportion 

Barnes made it clear at the start of the press conference that this would be the last time she would speak on the situation and that people were making a bigger deal out of it than it was. 

“Players hear a lot of stuff and games that way, that game. So I'm probably called a lot of names. … It happens a lot. Like, if you want, I think it happens in men's games, probably every single game," Barnes said. “But it's not an issue because it's men. … If men are yelling like crazy, they're passionate. If women are yelling like crazy, they're crazy. So that's just the double standard we have in our sport, and unfortunately, that's the way it is.”

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2. Preparing for Utah

The team is prepared for a variety of different teams this weekend but they start against Utah, who leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage and points scored per game. 

“They can score from every position. They have a lot of shooters, they have some really talented young players and so they're hard to guard. I think that where we have an advantage is our defense and our pressure, and I don't think they've played someone like us this year. So, for us, we need to take care of home court,” Barnes said. 

“They always have shooters, one through probably 15. Their whole roster can shoot the ball from behind the arc, so just have to be worried about that. Be ready for shooters, run them off the line, try and get them to do something different,” Thomas said. 

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3. What to look for from Colorado

For Thomas, she said she looks forward to matchups against strong teams such as Colorado. Barnes talked about how this matchup is different than the one against Utah as they are also a very strong defensive team and will play differently than she expects Utah to play. 

“Colorado is having a really great season this year. They're always very physical. It's always hard to play at Colorado, so [we're] glad we get to have them here. But yeah, just ready for some super exciting games. It's gonna be a battle but we're ready,” Thomas said. 

4. How to fix the turnover issues that have been present in both losses this season

Barnes acknowledged the issue and talked about the impact that the new roster has had on the team. 

“I'm not gonna lie. It's an issue I've looked at and I have worked on all year. Yeah, we're turning it over more than we normally do. I think some of that's just when I look at combinations with new players. That’s usually when it is usually happening. And we typically would have been further along now without that month hiatus,” Barnes said. 

5. What the impact not playing a game in 25 days has had on the team

“I think it hurt us because that's an area we have to get better at, and I think defensively we need to get better in some areas and then just offensively still. So there's a lot of work we need to do to be a better team, but we will be better in the next month or so,” Barnes said. 

Thomas felt that the break made the team feel fresher as they do not normally have a break like that, especially so early in a season. 

“I feel like we just started [the] season just because we have that long pause with all the [COVID-19] breaks and everything. So we've only played like three games maybe since that so, I mean, we feel ready. We feel brand new like it's the beginning of the season,” Thomas said. 

The Arizona women’s basketball team hosts University of Utah in McKale Center on Friday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. They then play University of Colorado on Sunday, Jan. 23, before going on a three-game road trip.


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