LAS VEGAS - On Thursday, Arizona women’s basketball team lost to the University of Colorado Boulder 45-43 in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. In their third game without Cate Reese, what she brings to the team and how much they miss her consistent scoring was incredibly apparent. Here are some storylines from the first three rounds heading into the Championship game.
What Arizona is missing with Reese out
Reese has averaged 14.6 points per game and 6.2 rebounds in the games she played. She is the definition of consistency for Arizona as she scored double figures in 20 out of 24 games this season.
Since her injury, Arizona has struggled to score consistently and grab rebounds. While Lauren Ware stepped up against Colorado for a career-high 15 points and eight rebounds, the rest of the team failed to get anything going on offense.
Shaina Pellington scored 9 points but no other player had more than 4 points in the game. If Arizona wants to make a run in the NCAA tournament they will need players to step up and score more.
RELATED: Arizona WBB unable to complete late comeback, fall to Colorado 45-43 in the Pac-12 Tournament Quarterfinals
Stanford WBB showing support for Katie Meyer
Three days ago it was announced that Stanford women’s soccer player and captain Katie Meyer had passed away. On Friday it was confirmed by Meyer’s parents that her death was a suicide. Before Stanford’s first game in the tournament, the team came out wearing Stanford Soccer shirts.
The team also wore wrist tape with “KM 19” or other iterations of that written on them as a sign of support and unity for the Stanford community during the tough times.
“I think the shirts [are] just one thing that we can do to show our support to the rest of the world, I suppose. And some people wrote it on their shoes, wrote different things on wrist bands. I think it was just our way to let everybody back at home know that she was loved and that we're still with them even though we're here in Vegas and not at home with them at home in Stanford,” Haley Jones said.
“I think we just wanted to embody her spirit while playing. So I think we'll carry that through the rest of the season,” Anna Wilson said.
Utah’s historic tournament run
After ending last season with an overall record of 5-16, the University of Utah has shocked just about everyone this season. Led by freshman duo Gianna Kneepkens and Jenna Johnson, Utah has made program history twice in two days.
They advanced to the semifinals after beating Washington State University 70-59 for the first time ever and yesterday beat University of Oregon 80-73 to punch their ticket to the championship game against Stanford University on Sunday.
It was also head coach Lynne Roberts' first win against Oregon in her seven years with Utah. They also tied Pac-12 Tournament history as they join USC from 2009 as the lowest seed to make the championship game.
“I never lost confidence or lost faith in how we do things or what our culture is. We adjusted and adapted to how we can be better. But the players we have in our program are championship game-worthy,” Roberts said.
NCAA tournament hosting implications for Arizona
Arizona came into the tournament a three seed for the NCAA women’s tournament and needed a win to secure their spot as the host of the first and second rounds.
With their loss, they have moved to the four seed in the latest Bracketology rankings which should still allow them to host. Arizona’s hosting chances will depend on how the rest of the conference tournaments play out.
“We deserve a good seed and we deserve to play at home and I think the committee will recognize that and see that and those are some really smart people, so I think they know what to do and they will do the right thing,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said.
With Ohio State University's loss to Indiana University Bloomington in the Big Ten tournament, it could very well secure the four seed for Arizona and give the Wildcats a home-court advantage to start the NCAA tournament.
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