Arizona’s LaBrittney Jones led the Wildcats with 24 points but it was not enough as 21st-ranked California won 74-64 at McKale Center on Thursday night.
She spent most of the game defending California’s 6’4″ forward Kristine Anigwe. The Wildcats (9-3 overall, 0-1 Pac-12) held Anigwe to 16 points (shooting 7 of 10 from the field). Last year in two games against Arizona, Anigwe scored 24 and 19 points.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes had high praise for Anigwe. She had to implement a strategy to slow her down.
“The game plan was to crowd Anigwe,” Barnes said. “Our game plan on Anigwe was effective. We respect her so much. We knew we had to make it very hard for her to score. She had to work for her baskets.”
Jones found out firsthand how Anigwe can affect a game.
“Our goal tonight was to double her and try not to let her get anything easy,” Jones said. “We knew she was going to score points because she is just big and she is a great player. We did not get to (the) other players. That is how they kind of beat us tonight.”
Despite her team’s loss Jones was happy with her team’s mentality.
“I am not disappointed in our team’s effort,” she said.
Barnes explained that California’s size was a problem for her team.
“They were using their length and they were spread out,” she said. “I think the difference in the game was the boards.”
The Golden Bears also held freshman Lucia Alonzo to seven points. She went 1 of 3 from beyond the arc.
“Usually Lucia is able to hit some of those shots”, Barnes said.
Barnes thinks that her team did some things well.
“We played hard,” she said. “At times we did not do some smart things But I thought we played really hard in our press. They did what I asked them to do and stuck with the game plan.”
Malena Washington had 13 points while dishing out a game-high seven assists, which is a season high and also ties her career high.
The Wildcats will be back in McKale on Sunday afternoon when they take on Stanford.
Barnes pointed out the importance of having a short memory. She expressed that there will always be challenges in the Pac-12. Arizona’s next opponent will not be an exception.
“(Stanford has) Erica McCall inside,” she said. “We will see more man to man… They always have great shooters. We cannot get to high or too low.”