No. 18 Arizona to host No. 3 Oregon State Friday night

No. 18 Arizona to host No. 3 Oregon State Friday night
No. 18 Arizona will play its second of three straight games against top 10 teams Friday night. (Source: Arizona Athletics)

TUCSON, Ariz. – No. 18 Arizona will play its second of three straight games against top 10 teams Friday night when the Wildcats host No. 3 Oregon State a Pac-12 game.

Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. at the McKale Center in Tucson. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network and broadcast on 1400 AM.

FROM THE TIP

  • Arizona is back at home for the first time since Dec. 21 as they are set to face two top-three teams with No. 3 Oregon State up first on Friday in their Pac-12 home opener.
  • Arizona leads the country in scoring defense (47.1).
  • Arizona’s field goal pct. defense (31%) is third in the nation and first in the Pac-12.
  • In their last four games vs. the Beavers, Arizona is averaging just 4.8 turnovers per game.
  • Arizona has been ranked in the top 20 in the AP Poll for six-straight weeks for the first time since the 1999-00 season.
  • Aari McDonald was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 on Wednesday.
  • Cate Reese was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on last week for the second time in December and was the first player in the Pac-12 to be named Player of the Week twice this season.
  • Reese’s five double-doubles is the fourth-most in the Pac-12 behind Ruthy Hebard, Sabrina Ionescu and Mikayla Pivec.
  • McDonald, who is 15th on the Arizona all-time scoring list, is 15th in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (20.1).
  • McDonald has scored in double-figures in 51-straight games, her entire Arizona career.
  • McDonald’s 51-straight double-figure games is the second-longest active streak in the nation (Chennedy Carter, 53).
  • 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).
  • Thomas moved into 10th place all-time in Arizona history for made three-pointers (107).
  • Arizona is the only team in the Pac-12 to allow fewer than 50 points per game.

Last Time Out

Arizona dropped their first game since Mar. 8, 2019 as No. 10 UCLA won 70-58 on Sunday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion. Aari McDonald, Cate Reese and Sam Thomas each scored in double-figures as UCLA became the first team to score at least 60 points against Arizona.

Scoring at a High Level of Efficiency

Not only is McDonald averaging 20.1 points per game, which leads the conference and is 15th in the nation, she is shooting 48% from the field. McDonald is one of six players in the nation to average at least 20 points per game and shoot 48% or better.

A Model of Consistency

McDonald has scored in double-figures in 51-straight games (her entire Arizona career), the longest active streak among Pac-12 players and the second-longest in the nation. 51 games is also the third-longest double-figures scoring streak in conference history since the turn of the century.

Most Active Consecutive Double-Figure Scoring Games, NCAA

1. Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M): 54

2. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 51

3. Vivian Gray (Oklahoma State): 39

Most Active Consecutive Double-Figure Scoring Games, Pac-12

1. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 51

2. Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State): 23

3. Borislava Hristova (Washington State): 9

Most Consecutive Double-Figure Scoring Games Since 1999-00, Pac-12

1. Kelsey Plum (Washington): 83

2. Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon): 76

3. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 51

4. Kelsey Plum (Washington): 50

5. Dee-Dee Wheeler (Arizona): 48

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 and the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 on Jan. 8.

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

11. LaBrittney Jones 114 1,263

12. Reshea Bristol 118 1,260

13. Aimee Grzyb 123 1,227

14. Lisa Griffith 122 1,199

15. Aari McDonald 51 1,172

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.

I’ll Have a Double-Double

Last season, Reese led all Pac-12 freshmen with seven double-doubles, and has five this season after a 17-point and 11-rebound performance at Arizona State, becoming the eighth player in school history with at least 12 double-doubles and is tied with Arizona Ring of Honor member Davellyn Whyte. Reese’s five double-doubles is the fourth-most in the Pac-12 behind Oregon’s Ruthy Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu and Oregon State’s Mikayla Pivec.

A December to Remember

Reese was named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice in the month of December as the sophomore averaged 15.4 points and 10 rebounds per game while shooting 49% from the field.

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 1.0 block 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 46% (45-98) from the field and 40% from three (17-43).

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 13 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 21 triples this year at a 46% clip and is fourth on the team at 7.7 points per game. She has made a three in 11 of her 13 games played and has been the first sub off the bench 11 times so far. She played a career-high 31 minutes at Arizona State on Sunday and made three triples at USC.

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 39.4%. 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 (106 games)

Kama Griffits – 110 (56 games)

10. Sam Thomas – 107 (81 games)

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. 19 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 the 1999-00 season.

A Dream Start

For the first time in program history, Arizona started the season 13-0.

Lock It Up

Arizona’s defense has been suffocating to start the season, allowing an NCAA-best 47.1 points per game and forcing opponents to shoot just 31% from the field, which is the third-lowest in the nation. The Wildcats are allowing 67.4 points per 100 possessions, the second-best in the country. UCLA was the first team all season to score at least 60 points vs. Arizona.

Scoring Defense Leaders (NCAA)

1. Arizona: 47.1

2. Georgia Tech: 47.6

3. Penn: 47.9

Field Goal Pct. Defense Leaders (NCAA)

1. Baylor: 30.1%

2. Tennessee: 30.7%

3. Arizona: 31.0%

Opponent Points Per 100 Possessions (NCAA)

1. Baylor: 63.4

2. Arizona: 67.4

3. Princeton: 71.8

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 just under 20 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, who is second in the Pac-12 in steals per game.

Steals Per Game (Pac-12)

1. Haley Van Dyke (Washington): 3.0

2. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 2.5

3. Leilani McIntosh (Cal): 2.3

Blocks

Arizona is the only team in the Pac-12 to have three players average at least one block per game (Cate Reese, Semaj Smith & Sam Thomas)

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 14 games, Arizona is outscoring their opponents by an average of 8.5 points in the first quarter. In total, Arizona has outscored their opponents 269-150 in the first quarter. Last time out, Arizona led UCLA 17-14 after 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 – 9,836

2. Oregon State 5,451

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. Oregon State as a Player

Adia Barnes had a record of 4-4 against the Beavers during her playing career from 1995 to 1998. In those eight games, she averaged 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds, including 29 points and 8.5 rebounds her senior year. On Feb. 19, 1998, Barnes dominated with a 30-point, 11-rebound effort in a 75-74 victory where she made the game-winning layup with no time left on the clock.

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