No. 21 Arizona hits the road to battle Washington State Friday

No. 21 Arizona hits the road to battle Washington State Friday
University of Arizona basketball coach Adia Barnes. (Source: Mike Mattina)

TUCSON, Ariz. – Coming off three-straight games where they faced top-10 opponents, No. 21 Arizona Wildcats are back on the road again, this time to face Washington State.

The game will tip-off at 8 p.m. Friday. The match-up will on the Pac-12 Network on 1400 AM.

FROM THE TIP

  • Arizona is back on the road this weekend and will head to the Pacific Northwest to face the Washington schools. First up is Washington State on Friday at 8 p.m. MST.
  • Arizona is third the country in scoring defense (49.6).
  • Arizona’s field goal pct. defense (32.7%) is fifth in the nation and first in the Pac-12.
  • Over its last four games, Arizona is shooting 93% from the free throw line (39-42).
  • Arizona has been ranked in the AP Poll for eight-straight weeks for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
  • Aari McDonald was named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25.
  • Cate Reese was named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice in December and was the first player in the Pac-12 to be named Player of the Week twice this season.
  • Reese’s six double-doubles is the fifth-most in the Pac-12.
  • McDonald, who is 14th on the Arizona all-time scoring list, is 16th in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (20.1).
  • McDonald has scored in double-figures in 53-straight games, her entire Arizona career.
  • McDonald’s 53-straight double-figure games is the second-longest active streak in the nation (Chennedy Carter, 55) and longest in the Pac-12. Since the turn of the century, 53 games is the third-longest double-figure scoring streak among Pac-12 players.
  • Dominique McBryde returned to action vs. Oregon State after missing six games due to injury.
  • 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 is the only team in the Pac-12 to allow fewer than 50 points per game and is one of three teams in the nation to do so.
  • The Wildcats beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 2000.
  • Arizona started the season 13-0 for the first time in school history.
  • Arizona’s 19-game winning streak was broken by UCLA. At the time, it was the longest active winning streak in the nation.

Last Time Out

Then-ranked No. 2 Oregon hung on to beat Arizona in McKale by a score of 71-64 thanks to some late free throws by the Ducks. Aari McDonald scored 25 points to lead all scorers.

If Arizona Wins...

  • The Wildcats will have snapped a two-game losing streak vs. Washington State.
  • It will be the first time in school history that Arizona’s first three conference wins will have come on the road.

A Model of Consistency

McDonald has scored in double-figures in 53-straight games (her entire Arizona career), the longest active streak among Pac-12 players and the second-longest in the nation. 53 games is also the third-longest double-figure 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): 55

2. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 53

3. Vivian Gray (Oklahoma State): 40

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

1. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 53

2. Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State): 25

3. Borislava Hristova (Washington State): 10

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): 53

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 11 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

10. Kirsten Smith 108 1,264

11. LaBrittney Jones 114 1,263

12. Reshea Bristol 118 1,260

13. Aimee Grzyb 123 1,227

14. Aari McDonald 53 1,212

I’ll Have a Double-Double

Last season, Cate Reese led all Pac-12 freshmen with seven double-doubles, and has six this year after a 15-point and 11-rebound performance vs. Oregon State, becoming the seventh player in school history with at least 13 double-doubles. Reese’s six double-doubles is the fifth-most in the Pac-12. She has scored in double-figures in 11 of her last 13 games, including her last five.

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 1.7 steals and 0.9 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% (52-114) from the field and 37% from three (19-51).

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 14 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 22 triples this year at a 49% clip. She has made a three in 12 of her 14 games played and has been the first sub off the bench 12 times so far. She played a career-high 31 minutes at Arizona State and made three triples at USC. She missed second half of the Oregon State game and the entire Oregon game due to an ankle injury.

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 has scored at least seven points in four of Arizona’s five Pac-12 games.

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. She played over 20 minutes for just the second time this season against Oregon and made two big three-pointers vs. the Ducks.

Most Made 3-Pointers in Arizona History

6. Julie Brase – 125 (118 games)

7. Natalie Jones – 117 (126 games)

8. Lucia Alonso – 113 (108 games)

9. Kama Griffits – 110 (56 games)

10. Sam Thomas – 109 (83 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. 21 in the AP poll and No. 22 in the coaches poll. Arizona has been ranked in the AP Poll for six-straight weeks for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

Lock It Up

Arizona’s defense has been suffocating to start the season, allowing 49.6 points per game, the third-fewest in the country and first in the Pac-12 and are forcing opponents to shoot just 32.7% from the field, which is the fifth-lowest in the nation and first in the Pac-12. The Wildcats are allowing 71.4 points per 100 possessions, the second-best in the country.

Tough to Score On

In Arizona’s first five Pac-12 games, they have held their opponents below their scoring average in each game. Not only that, against Arizona State and the Oregon schools, Arizona held them below their scoring average by more than 10 points.

Scoring Defense Leaders (NCAA)

1. Georgia Tech: 47.8

2. Baylor: 48.8

3. Arizona: 49.6

Field Goal Pct. Defense Leaders (NCAA)

1. Baylor: 29.6%

2. Tennessee: 30.6%

3. Rutgers: 32.5%

4. South Carolina: 32.6%

5. Arizona: 32.7%

Opponent Points Per 100 Possessions (NCAA)

1. Baylor: 64.7

2. Arizona: 71.4

3. Georgia Tech: 72.9

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 19.7 times per game this season, the second-most in the Pac-12. Six players have at least 14 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): 2.9

2. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 2.6

3. Leilani McIntosh (Cal): 2.1

A Tough Stretch

Arizona’s last three games were against teams that currently ranked in the top eight in the nation (UCLA 7, Oregon State 8 & Oregon 6). At the time of the games, UCLA was ranked No. 10, Oregon State was No. 3 and Oregon was No. 2.

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 16 games, Arizona is outscoring their opponents by an average of 7.3 points in the first quarter. In total, Arizona has outscored their opponents 304-187 in the first quarter. Last time out, Arizona led Oregon 20-18 after the first period. Arizona and UCLA are the only two teams in the Pac-12 to allow fewer than 200 total points in the first quarter this season, with Arizona leading the way at 187.

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. Against the Oregon schools last weekend, there was a combined attendance of 13,374, the most Arizona has ever had in a conference weekend.

Pac-12 Average Attendance

1. Oregon – 9,836

2. Oregon State 5,451

3. Arizona – 5,102

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

Barnes’ Numbers vs. Washington State as a Player

Adia Barnes has a record of 3-5 vs. Washington State as a player and averaged 15.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Her best game against the Cougars came on Feb. 3, 1996 when she scored 17 points and brought down 13 rebounds.