The Arizona Wildcats finished non-conference play on a high note as they defeated Portland State 75-52 Tuesday Night at McKale Center.
They enter Pac-12 play with a 9-2 record. Arizona coach Adia Barnes is pleased with her team’s progress thus far into the season.
“We are getting better,” she said. “I am happy with the way we finished the non-conference (schedule). We took care of what we needed to.
“We hit the goals that we wanted to. We got better game by game even if it was in one area we did continue to get better.”
Barnes pointed to senior Lauren Evans‘ performance. The Phoenix native scored a career-high 13 points in 26 minutes off the bench against Portland State. She added three of her team’s season-high 20 assists on their 32 field goals.
“She played some great basketball tonight,” Barnes said. “What I love about what Lauren is doing is that she is consistent. I know what she is going to bring day in and day out. She has done a great job for us.”
Barnes was also complimented Evans’ character off the court.
“She is a great teammate,’ Barnes said. “Everyone needs a player like Lauren on their team.”
Evans is motivated to keep improving.
“I am a senior,” she said. “I need to step it up and show a little bit more.”
Barnes, who is in her first season as a head coach after spending five seasons at Washington as an assistant coach, has learned about herself as a coach this season.
“I am learning patience,” she said. “Learning how to win is a process.”
She knows that there is a tough road ahead but Barnes is confident in her team.
“There is not a team that is easy (in the Pac-12),” she said. “Every game is tough but we are getting better too.”
Barnes noted the challenges her team will have when it opens conference play against California on Thursday.
“They are big and they are athletic, but we are playing at home so that is a good thing,” she said.
The Wildcats split with Cal last season. Their 57-52 win last January at McKale Center snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Golden Bears.
They must look to contain California’s Kristine Anigwe. The sophomore center scored 19 points against Arizona last year at McKale.