No. 18 Arizona to begin 2020 on road at Southern Cal

No. 18 Arizona to begin 2020 on road at Southern Cal
No. 18 Arizona will look to start 2020 on a high note as it heads to Los Angeles to face Southern Cal on Friday, Jan. 3. (Source: Arizona Athletics)

TUCSON, Ariz. – No. 18 Arizona will look to start 2020 on a high note as it heads to Los Angeles to face Southern Cal on Friday, Jan. 3.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.

Friday, Jan. 3 at 8 p.m. MST

TV: Pac-12 Network (Brian Webber & Tammy Blackburn)

Radio: 1400 AM (Derrick Palmer)

Twitter: @ArizonaWBB

#MadeForIt

Adia Barnes Press Conference | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5s8l6JnK8ng

FROM THE TIP

  • Arizona goes back on the road this weekend to Los Angeles and will face USC on Friday night at the Galen Center.
  • The Wildcats are 12-0 for the first time in school history.
  • Dating back to last season, Arizona has won a school-record 18-consecutive games, the longest active streak in the nation.
  • Arizona has been ranked in the top 20 in the AP Poll for five-straight weeks for the first time since 2000.
  • Arizona leads the country in field goal percentage defense (29.1%) and scoring defense (44.4).
  • Arizona’s scoring margin of 28.1 is the eighth-highest in the nation.
  • Cate Reese was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday for the second time in December and is the first player in the Pac-12 to be named Player of the Week twice this season.
  • The Wildcats beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 2000 on Sunday.
  • Arizona is the only team in the Pac-12 to allow fewer than 50 points per game.
  • The Wildcats haven’t haven’t allowed 60 points in a game all season and allowed 50 on Sunday for the first time since Nov. 17.
  • Aari McDonald, who moved to 17th on the Arizona all-time scoring list, is 16th in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (19.9).
  • McDonald has scored in double-figures in 49-straight games, her entire Arizona career.
  • Sam Thomas is the only player in school history to have 100 career made threes and blocks and is one of two current Pac-12 players with 100 career threes and blocks (Stephanie Watts – USC).
  • Arizona finished the month of December undefeated for the second-straight season.

Last Time Out

Arizona beat rival Arizona State 58-53 in Tempe for the first time since 2000. Cate Reese recorded her fourth double-double of the season in a performance that won her Pac-12 Player of the Week while Aari McDonald scored a game-high 20 points.

Scoring at a High Level of Efficiency

Not only is McDonald averaging 19.9 points per game, which leads the conference and is 16th in the nation, she is shooting 50% from the field. Of the 28 players in the nation who average at least 19 points per game, she is one of five to do so while shooting at least 50%. McDonald is also a model of consistency as she has scored in double-figures in 49-straight games, the entirety of her Arizona career.

A Historic Week

McDonald broke the Arizona single-game scoring record on Nov. 17 with 44 points on the road vs. No. 22 Texas, becoming the 11th player in Pac-12 history to score at least 44 points in a game. She was incredibly efficient, making 14 of her 18 attempts while making all 14 of her free throws. The junior was named Player of the Week by ESPNw, the USBWA and the Pac-12 after averaging 34 points per game on 79% shooting from the field vs. Chicago State and Texas. 44 points is the second-most any player in the country has scored this season and only 10 other players in the country have scored 40 in one game. The last Pac-12 player to score 44 points in a game was Kelsey Plum (Feb. 25, 2017).

National Recognition for Aari

McDonald garnered a ton of preseason attention this season, as she was named preseason All-Pac-12 and was named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List, Wooden Award Preseason Top 30 and the Wade Award Watch List. She was named to the first Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Watch List of the season on Dec. 5.

Flirting with the Trip-Dub

McDonald was one rebound shy of her first-career triple-double against Prairie View A&M on Nov. 20. She finished the game with 15 points, a career-high 14 assists and nine rebounds. 14 assists is tied for the fifth-most in school history, while McDonald is the first Wildcat since Reshea Bristol to have at least 14 assists in a game (2001).

Arizona Single-Game Scoring List

Points Opp. Date

1. Aari McDonald 44 Texas Nov. 17, 2019

2. Aari McDonald 39 LMU Nov. 13, 2018

Davellyn Whyte 39 Cal Jan. 16, 2009

4. Candice Warthen 36 GSU Nov. 13, 2011

5. Aari McDonald 35 UCLA Jan. 27, 2019

Arizona All-Time Scoring List

GP Points

13. Aimee Grzyb 123 1,227

14. Lisa Griffith 122 1,199

15. Natalie Jones 126 1,149

16. Yolanda Turner 111 1,144

17. Aari McDonald 49 1,129

Cate the Great

Cate Reese, who had one of the best freshman seasons in Arizona history, will look to take another step in her career after averaging 11.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last year. During the 2018-19 season, Reese was named Pac-12 All-Freshman and was a three-time Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, the first in Arizona history. She led all Pac-12 freshmen in scoring and rebounding and also had the most double-doubles of all Pac-12 freshmen. During Arizona’s run to the WNIT Championship, Reese averaged over 14 points per game. Before this season started, she was named to the Katrina McClain Award Watch List, which recognizes the top power forward in the country.

A December to Remember

Reese was named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice in the month of December, with the latest coming this past Monday after her 17-point, 10-rebound performance in a road win over Arizona State. In December, the sophomore averaged 15.4 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting 49% from the field.

I’ll Have a Double-Double

Last season, Reese led all Pac-12 freshmen with seven double-doubles, and has four this season after a 17-point and 10-rebound performance at Arizona State, becoming the ninth player in school history with at least 11 double-doubles.

Season Openers Are Good to Cate

Reese scored a career-high 22 points in the season-opener vs. North Dakota on Tuesday. Last season, she scored 21 points in the opener.

I’m Coming Home Again

Reese played in her home state for the first time in her college career against No. 22 Texas and showed out in front of tons of family and friends. In 30 minutes, she scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had three steals. She was dared to shoot the three, so she went 3-4 from behind the arc, which is a new career high.

Sam I Am

Known as one of the best defenders on the team, Sam Thomas was the only player in the Pac-12 to average at least 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game last year and currently averages 1.8 steals and 1.1 blocks per game, the only player in the Pac-12 to do so. Throughout a game, you can find Thomas guarding the opposing team’s point guard or center. She became a threat from long distance last year, making 47 threes, the second-most on the team. Her percentages are up this year as she is shooting 48% (39-81) from the field and 41% from three (14-34)

100-100

Thomas became the 11th player in school history to make 100 career triples at Montana and blocked three shots against UTEP to become the sixth player in school history with 100 career blocks. She is the only player in school history with 100 three-pointers and blocks and is one of two current Pac-12 players with 100 career threes and blocks (Stephanie Watts – USC). 102 of Watts’ blocks came while she played at North Carolina.

Spanish Smooth

Expectations were high for Helena Pueyo coming into her freshman season, and through the first 11 games of her career, she has not disappointed. Pueyo has brought a spark off the bench all year, especially from behind the arc as she has made 18 triples this year at a 45% clip and is fourth on the team at 8.1 points per game. She has made a three in 10 of her 11 games played and has been the first sub off the bench nine times so far. She played a career-high 31 minutes at Arizona State on Sunday.

Amari Joins the 1K Club

Amari Carter decided to spend her fourth year of eligibility in Tucson after grad transferring from Penn State this past summer, and she will certainly play an important role for Barnes and the Wildcats. After only playing in one game during her freshman season due to injury, she went on to average over 10 points per game over her next three, including 14.2 per game during her junior season. She scored her 1,000th-career point vs. UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 21 and scored eight crucial points at Arizona State on Sunday.

Buenos Dias, Lucia

Senior guard Lucia Alonso was Adia Barnes’ first recruit back when she took over the Arizona program for the 2016-17 season, and her senior season is now upon us. Known as a knockdown three-point shooter, Alonso has the second-highest career three-point percentage in school history at 39.6%. She became the 10th player in school history to make 100 three-pointers in a career last season and is currently in eighth place all-time.

Most Made 3-Pointers in Arizona History

6. Julie Brase – 125 (118 games)

7. Natalie Jones – 117 (126 games)

8. Lucia Alonso – 110 (104 games)

Kama Griffits – 110 (56 games)

10. Monika Crank – 106 (118 games)

11. Sam Thomas – 104 (79 games)

Tee Tee is Back

At the beginning of last season, Tee Tee Starks had made the decision that this would be her final year playing college basketball. On senior day, she announced that she will be returning for her final year of eligibility and will be a fifth-year senior for the 2019-20 season. It’s no secret that Starks causes absolute havoc on the defensive end, and the numbers show it. In the 15 games against Pac-12 teams she played at least 10 minutes in last season, opponents averaged 64.5 points per game while shooting 40% from the field. In the five Pac-12 games she either missed or played fewer than 10 minutes, opponents averaged 74 points per game and shot 47% from the field.

Ranked

For the first time since the 2004-05 season, the Arizona Wildcats were ranked in both the AP poll and the coaches poll on Nov. 26. This week, the Wildcats check in at No. 18 in the AP poll and No. 18 in the coaches poll. Arizona has been ranked in the top 20 in the AP Poll for five-straight weeks for the first time since 2000.

A Dream Start

For the first time in program history, Arizona has started the season 12-0.

Going Streaking

Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 18-straight games, which is the longest active streak in the country and is a school record.

Lock It Up

Arizona’s defense has been suffocating to start the season, allowing 44.4 points per game and forcing opponents to shoot just 29.1% from the field, which both lead the nation. The Wildcats are allowing 63.8 points per 100 possessions, the second-best in the country. Additionally, no team has reached the 60-point mark against the Cats this season.

Field Goal Pct. Defense Leaders (NCAA)

1. Arizona: 29.1%

2. Tennesse: 29.2%

3. Baylor: 29.6%

Scoring Defense Leaders (NCAA)

1. Arizona: 44.4

2. Georgia Tech: 45.6

3. Baylor: 47.4

Opponent Points Per 100 Possessions (NCAA)

1. Baylor: 62.1

2. Arizona: 63.8

3. Texas Tech: 66.7

Most Games in a Season Opp. Scores <50 (since 1978)

1. 2018-19: 11 games

2. 2019-20: 8 games

Cooking Up Some Turnovers

The Wildcats are turning over their opponents 20.3 times per game this season, the second-most in the Pac-12. Six players have at least 13 steals on the season, with Aari McDonald leading the way with 28. Arizona has three of the top six players in the Pac-12 in steals per game.

Steals Per Game (Pac-12)

1. Haley Van Dyle (Washington): 3.2

2. Leilani McIntosh (Cal): 2.4

3. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 2.3

4. Amber Melgoza (Washington): 2.0

5. Natalie Chou (UCLA): 1.9

6. Sam Thomas (Arizona): 1.8

Winning Big

Arizona’s scoring margin of +28.1 is second in the Pac-12 and eighth in the nation. Through the first 12 games of the season, Arizona has won just one game by single digits (Arizona State) and have seven wins by at least 30 points. The Cats’ 52-point victory vs. Monmouth was their largest margin of victory since Dec. 4, 2004.

Sharpshooters

The Wildcats average seven made three-pointers this season, and are getting good shooting from many different players. All in all, five players shoot at least 40% from deep.

Helena Pueyo – 18-40 (45%)

Sam Thomas – 14-34 (41%)

Tara Manumaleuga – 8-17 (47%)

Mara Mote – 7-13 (54%)

Cate Reese – 6-11 (55%)

Give me 80

For the first time since December of 2000, Arizona won three-straight games while scoring at least 80 points in each of those games.

82 – Chicago State (Nov. 12)

83 – Texas (Nov. 17)

83 – Prairie View A&M (Nov. 20)

Coming in Hot

Through 12 games, Arizona is outscoring their opponents by an average of 9.8 points in the first quarter. In total, Arizona has outscored their opponents 236-119 in the first quarter. Last time out, Arizona trailed at the end of the first quarter as ASU led 12-10 at the end of one.

A November to Remember

For the first time in school history, Arizona won seven games in the month of November.

A Defensive Performance for the Ages

Against UC Riverside on Nov. 29, Arizona put up one of the best defensive performances in school history. For starters, the Highlanders scored just 27 points in the entire game, the fewest an Arizona opponent has scored since joining the Pac-10. Additionally, UC Riverside made just nine field goals, which is also the fewest Arizona has allowed since joining the Pac. The Highlanders did not make a basket in the second quarter.

Tucson Loves Their Cats

The WNIT run captivated the city of Tucson last spring as the average attendance for the six games was 7,600, capped off by a sellout crowd of 14,644 for the WNIT Championship on April 6, 2019, breaking the Pac-12 attendance record. Arizona’s game against North Dakota broke the program record for attendance at a home opener (3,450).

Pac-12 Average Attendance

1. Oregon – 9,595

2. Oregon State 5,446

3. Arizona – 4,650

Arizona Non-Conference Average Attendance

2019 – 4,650

2018 – 1,718

2017 – 2,427

Bang That Drum

Arizona started a new tradition at the beginning of the season. After a home victory, a player bangs a customized Arizona drum the number wins the Wildcats have on the season.

Drum Standings

Cate Reese – 2

Sam Thomas – 1

Aari McDonald – 1

Mara Mote – 1

Helena Pueyo – 1

Semaj Smith – 1

We’re Back

Arizona returns 95% of it’s scoring from the 2018-19 season, which is the fourth-most of any power five team in the country.

Power Five Conference Returning Scoring

100% - Boston College

100% - Florida State

100% - Purdue

95.3% - Arizona

94.7% - Duke

94.4% - Texas A&M

Barnes’ Numbers vs. USC as a Player

Arizona head coach Adia Barnes averaged 18.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game against USC during her playing days. Her best game came on Jan. 4, 1998 when she scored 30 points and brought down eight rebounds in a winning effort. The Wildcats had a record of 5-3 against USC during her playing days (1995-98).

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