Arizona WBB goes 2-0 on the weekend before they play in the USD Thanksgiving Classic

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Nathanial Stenchever | The Daily Wildcat

Kailyn Gilbert and Maya Nnaji of the Arizona women's basketball team double team an opponent on Nov. 18, in McKale Center. The Wildcats would win the game against Loyola Marymount University 87-51.

The Arizona women's basketball team played two games this weekend and won both by at least 20 points, here is a breakdown of each game. 

Friday: Arizona beats LMU 87-51

The Arizona women's basketball team defeated Loyola Marymount University 87-51 on Friday, Nov. 18. After a slow start, the University of Arizona was able to dominate on both sides of the court and pick up their third win of the season. The Wildcats also snapped their two-game losing streak against LMU (2017, 2018).

“I thought we played a good game,” head coach Adia Barnes said. “I thought showed some really good things today.”

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Led by fifth-year senior forward Cate Reese, the Wildcats jumped out to an early 8-4 lead. However, LMU responded with a run to take a 13-12 lead before the first media timeout. The Wildcats did not seem flustered by LMU’s hot start because they came out of the first media timeout with an 11-0 scoring run. 

The run was sparked by Helena Pueyo and Maya Nnaji, who combined for nine of the Wildcats' 11 points. 

“I think after that timeout, we were able to execute a lot better and just calm down” guard Shaina Pennington said. 

At the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats were winning 23-13, thanks to seven different Wildcats contributing to Arizona’s point total.

The second quarter was all Arizona, as they outscored LMU 22-12 in the quarter. Reese led the Wildcats in scoring with 10 points at the break, with Pellington, Pueyo and Kailyn Gilbert close behind, each having seven. As a team, Arizona shot 56% from the field but struggled from deep, going 2-8 from behind the arc in the first half. The Wildcats forced twelve turnovers in the first half, while only committing three of their own. After trailing 13-12 with four minutes left in the first quarter, Arizona outscored LMU, 33-12 over the next 14 minutes of the half. At halftime, the score was 45-25 Arizona. 

The Wildcats opened the third quarter by going on an 18-2 run. Both Esmery Martinez and Reese highlighted the run with fabulous shots from behind the arc. Pellington also shined during Arizona’s hot start in the second half as she contributed to six of Arizona's 18 points. LMU responded by going on a 10-7 run to close the quarter, but they trailed 70-37 at the end of the quarter. 

Both teams traded buckets throughout the fourth quarter, with Arizona outscoring LMU, 17-14. As the buzzer sounded and the game came to a close, the score was 87-51 Arizona. The Wildcats shot 52.5% from the field and 40.4% behind the arc, the Wildcats were led by Pellington (19 pts) and Reese (15 pts). Martinez also picked up her second double-double of the season, as she finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

“It’s gonna be really hard to beat her for player of the game,” Pellington said. “It’s great to have a player like Esmery [Martinez] on our team, she’s a rebounding force; it’s like she has magnets in her hand.”

-Nathaniel Levin 

Sunday: Arizona beats Long Beach State 86-64

Arizona women’s basketball beat California State University Long Beach 86-64 in McKale Center on Sunday, Nov. 20. 

Arizona appeared to be flustered in the first quarter by LBSU. Arizona made a few silly mistakes resulting in LBSU taking the ball and capitalizing on it. 

Lauren Fields was able to secure five points for Arizona in the first quarter, followed by Helena Pueyo with three and Esmery Martinez with two. Out of those points, four were in the paint and three were bench points. The score at the end of the first quarter was 16-10 LBSU. 

At the beginning of the second quarter, the free throws for Arizona were just not going in. With 6:40 left in the second quarter, Kian Hamilton-Fisher on LBSU committed an intentional foul on Shaina Pellington. It resulted in Arizona player Jade Loville shooting for two, missing both. Many substitutions were made, with Coach Adia Barnes trying to pick up the momentum with fresh legs. 

Esmery Martinez sank a beautiful three-pointer with 3:30 left in the second quarter. Shaina Pellington later steals the ball from LBSU taking it all the way down the court for a layup. This was a turning point for Arizona, snapping the team back into it. The crowd got louder and the team started putting points on the board. Martinez sank another three putting Arizona only behind by one point. Arizona steals the lead in the last couple of seconds of the second quarter making the score 40-39 Wildcats. At the half, Arizona made 5 out of 13 of their three-pointers versus LBSU who made 5 out of 7. In the second quarter, the Wildcats had 14 points in the paint and two bench points. 

Going into the third quarter the score was tied 50-50 at the first media break with 5:04 left. The score stayed 50-50 for a minute and a half until Fields made two free throws making the score 52-50 Wildcats. By the end of the third quarter the score was 58-52 Arizona. 

Cate Reese made a three-pointer in the fourth quarter with 7:29 left, followed by Martinez making another three with 6:45 left in the game. This helped Arizona pull ahead 70-55. Pellington took over the fourth quarter scoring seven points. Madison Conner sank a three with 16 seconds left in the game. There were 14 points in the paint, three rebounds, and five bench points. Arizona won 86-64 against LBSU. 

“The score is not an indication of how the game was. Obviously, it’s a really good team. I thought that they disrupted us," Barnes said. “It’s hard to teach a team to score and shoot, it’s easier to teach defense, so we will get there.” 

Arizona will be competing at the USD Thanksgiving Classic on Friday, Nov. 25 at 5:00 p.m. against California Baptist.

-Delaney Penn


Follow Delaney Penn and Nathaniel Levin on Twitter 



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