The Arizona women's basketball team defeated the University of Washington 61-54 on Friday, Jan. 27. A strong second half, led by fifth-year senior Cate Reese, helped the Wildcats come back to defeat Washington for the seventh straight time dating back to 2018.
Both teams played sloppy basketball throughout the first quarter. Washington turned the ball over six times, while Arizona turned it over five times. Both teams traded points throughout the quarter, but as the quarter came to a close, Arizona led 11-9. The Wildcats were led by Madison Conner who had three points, followed by Reese, Shaina Pellington, Esmery Martinez and Jade Loville each having two points.
Arizona scored first to start the second quarter, but Washington responded by going on a 9-0 run to take an 18-15 lead at the halfway point of the quarter. Arizona tried to regain control of the game but Washington kept their foot on the gas. At the break, the score was 23-19 Washington. Arizona’s 19 points were their lowest points total for the year in the first half. As a team, Arizona shot 32% from the field, including 1-5 from behind the arc. Helena Pueyo led the Wildcats with four points, followed by teammates Conner, Reese and Pellington with three points. Arizona also struggled with ball security, as they turned the ball over seven times in the first half.
Head coach Adia Barnes was frustrated with Arizona’s sloppy play in the first half.
“I think we need to get back to our fundamentals,” Barnes said at the break. “We need to be simple on offense, moving the ball.”
Arizona started the second half strong, scoring five quick points in the first two minutes of the quarter, to take a 24-23 lead. Washington, flustered by Arizona’s quick start, called a timeout to regroup. Both teams traded buckets following Washington’s timeout, as Arizona led 32-31 at the first media timeout of the second half. Both teams played well in the third quarter, as Arizona outscored Washington 16-13 in the quarter but they still trailed by one as the quarter came to a close. The Wildcats were led by Loville who had five points in the quarter, while Reese and Pellington each had four points in the quarter.
After trading buckets early in the fourth quarter, the game was tied 38-38 until Reese scored seven straight points followed by a 3-pointer by Martinez, giving the Wildcats a 48-38 lead. The Wildcats dominated the entire fourth quarter, outscoring Washington 26-18. As the buzzer sounded, the score was 61-54 in Arizona's favor. Reese led the team with 15 points and six rebounds, followed by Loville who contributed 13 points of her own. Martinez had a strong night of her own with 12 rebounds and 8 points and Conner had 11 points off the bench. Arizona finished the game by shooting 40.7% from the field and 14-20 from the free throw line.
Arizona is now 16-4 (6-3). They host Washington State University on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 12:00 p.m.
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