Arizona, ASU to meet as ranked teams for first time Friday

Arizona, ASU to meet as ranked teams for first time Friday
Aari McDonald. (Source: Arizona Athletics)

TUCSON, Ariz. – No. 19 Arizona will face No. 16 Arizona State in McKale Center on Friday night, with both teams coming off road sweeps of the Washington schools.

Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks and broadcast on 1400 AM.

Game Notes

  • Arizona is back at McKale for a three-game homestand starting with No. 16 Arizona State on Friday night.
  • Arizona and Arizona State will face each other as ranked teams in the AP Poll for the first time.
  • Jan. 19 is the earliest in school history that Arizona won their 15th game of the season.
  • Arizona’s 19-point comeback at Washington is the largest deficit Arizona has overcome to win a game since 2015 when Arizona came back down 15 to beat New Mexico State.
  • For the second time in three seasons, Arizona overcame a deficit of at least 15 to beat Washington.
  • Arizona is fifth the country in scoring defense (51.1) and first the Pac-12.
  • Arizona’s field goal pct. defense (34.4%) is 13th in the nation and third in the Pac-12.
  • The Wildcats have held all of their Pac-12 opponents under their scoring average.
  • Over its last six games, Arizona is shooting 88% from the free throw line (82-93) and made a combined 43 free throws against the Washington schools.
  • For the first time in school history, Arizona’s first four conference wins of the season have come on the road.
  • Arizona has been ranked in the AP Poll for nine-straight weeks for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
  • Aari McDonald has scored in double-figures in 55-straight games, her entire Arizona career.
  • 55-straight double-figure games is the longest active streak in the nation. Since the turn of the century, 55 games is the third-longest double-figure scoring streak among Pac-12 players.
  • McDonald, who is 13th on the Arizona all-time scoring list, is 15th in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (20.3).
  • 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 scored a career-high 26 points at Washington State and made all 11 of her free throw attempts.
  • Reese’s six double-doubles is the fifth-most in the Pac-12.
  • Dominique McBryde returned to action vs. Oregon State after missing six games due to injury and was back in the starting lineup vs. Washington State and Washington.
  • 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).
  • The Wildcats beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 2000.

Last Time Out

Arizona was down 27-8 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored Washington 58-31 in the last three quarters to secure the first Pac-12 road sweep since 2011. Aari McDonald led all scorers with 25 points while Sam Thomas (12), Cate Reese (10) and Helena Pueyo (10) were also in double-figures.

If Arizona Wins

  • The Wildcats will have swept Arizona State in a regular season series for the first time since 2000.
  • It will be the first time since 2004 Arizona will have beaten the Sun Devils in back-to-back games in Tucson.
  • It will be the third time in school history that Arizona has beaten a ranked Arizona State team.
  • It will be the first time since 2004 that Arizona won a game where both teams are ranked in the AP poll.
  • It will be the second-straight season the Wildcats will have beaten the Sun Devils at home while ASU is ranked in the top 20.

A Model of Consistency

McDonald has scored in double-figures in 55-straight games (her entire Arizona career), the longest active streak in the nation. 55 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. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 55

Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M): 55

3. Vivian Gray (Oklahoma State): 42

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

1. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 55

2. Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State): 27

3. Borislava Hristova (Washington State): 12

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): 55

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

9. Dana Patterson 112 1,299

10. Kirsten Smith 108 1,264

11. LaBrittney Jones 114 1,263

12. Reshea Bristol 118 1,260

13. Aari McDonald 55 1,256

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 13 of her last 15 games, including in every Pac-12 game. Reese scored a career-high 26 points at Washington State on Friday and made all 11 of her free throw attempts.

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 1.2 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.

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. The junior blocked four shots in consecutive games at the Washington schools.

Send it Back

Thomas, who has blocked 111 blocks in her career, is second on the active career blocked shot list in the Pac-12.

Pac-12 Active Blocks Leaders

1. Ruthy Hebard (Oregon): 135

2. Sam Thomas (Arizona): 111

3. Stephanie Watts (USC): 109

Spanish Smooth

Expectations were high for Helena Pueyo coming into her freshman season, and through the first 16 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 43% clip. She has made a three in 12 of her 16 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, but returned to action at Washington State last Friday. Pueyo was huge down the stretch for Arizona at Washington, scoring eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter, including six-straight at one point.

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 helped seal the game at Washington making five second-half free throws.

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 highest career three-point percentage in school history at 40.1%. 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. Alonso was clutch vs. Washington State on Friday, draining three three-pointers, including a buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter.

Most Made 3-Pointers in Arizona History

6. Julie Brase – 125 (118 games)

7. Natalie Jones – 117 (126 games)

8. Lucia Alonso – 116 (110 games)

9. Sam Thomas – 110 (85 games)

Kama Griffits – 110 (56 games)

A Comeback for the Ages

Arizona dug themselves in a hole early on at Washington (Jan. 19) as they were down 27-8 at the end of the first quarter. From then on, Arizona outscored the Dawgs 58-31 and forced them to shoot 29% after shooting 63% in the first quarter to give them a 66-58 win in Seattle. Additionally, Arizona had nine first-quarter turnovers and turned the ball over just seven more times in the game while Washington turned the ball over 18 times in the final three quarters. Since the 2013-14 season, 19 points is Arizona’s largest deficit they have overcome in a win, and it is also the second time in the last three seasons Arizona has beaten Washington while being down by at least 15 points at one point in the game.

Largest Comeback Wins (Since 2013-14)

19 – at Washington (1/19/20)

16 – vs. New Mexico State (12/2/15)

15 – vs. Washington (2/4/18)

15 – at Washington State (2/12/17)

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. 20 in the coaches poll. Arizona has been ranked in the AP Poll for nine-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 51.1 points per game, the fifth-fewest in the country and fewest in the Pac-12 and are forcing opponents to shoot just 34.4% from the field, which is the 13th-lowest in the nation and third in the Pac-12. The Wildcats are allowing 73.2 points per 100 possessions, the third-best in the country.

Tough to Score On

In Arizona’s first seven 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. Baylor: 48.8

2. Georgia Tech: 49.1

3. Campbell: 50.2

4. Princeton: 50.6

5. Arizona: 51.1

Field Goal Pct. Defense Leaders (Pac-12)

1. Oregon State: 32.8%

2. Stanford: 34.1%

3. Arizona: 34.4%

Opponent Points Per 100 Possessions (NCAA)

1. Baylor: 65.0

2. Princeton: 72.9

3. Arizona: 73.2

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 19.9 times per game this season, the second-most in the Pac-12. Six players have at least 15 steals on the season, with Aari McDonald leading the way with 45, who is second in the Pac-12 in steals per game.

Steals Per Game (Pac-12)

1. Haley Van Dyke (Washington): 2.7

2. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 2.5

3. Leilani McIntosh (Cal): 2.2