Arizona Women's Basketball

Red-Hot Arizona Wildcats Host NAU in Final Non-Conference Game of Season

Information for this report is provided by the Arizona media relations department.

The Arizona Wildcats (9-1) are going for their ninth straight win over NAU tonight at 6:30 p.m. at McKale Center on the 127th birthday of the game of basketball.

Margaret Naismith Jonker, Dr. James Naismith’s great-granddaughter will be in attendance as well as Mayor of Tucson Jonathan Rothschild.

Friday’s game will be live streamed on ArizonaWildcats.com and can be heard on 1400 AM with Derrick Palmer on the call.

Arizona has won eight straight games for the first time since the 2003-04 season after beating UTEP in McKale Center on Monday. The Wildcats are off to their best start (9-1) since the 2011-12 season.

The Wildcats are looking to avenge their road loss to NAU last year and are going for their ninth win in the last 10 meetings against the Lumberjacks.

Aari McDonald is the nation’s third-leading scorer at 24.6 points per game. She is the only player in the country to average 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals per game and is the first player in school history to score at least 15 points in the first 10 games of the season.

Aari McDonald is one of the nation’s leading scorers (Arizona Athletics photo)

No player in Arizona history has led the nation in scoring — which McDonald is threatening to do — and only two Wildcats (Adia Barnes, now the head coach, and Dee Dee Wheeler) have led the conference in scoring.

Onl Barnes averaged at least 20 points per game in one season when she scored 21.8 per game during her senior season (1997-98). In order for McDonald to break the single-season scoring record, McDonald needs to score 408 more points. She has scored 246 through 10 games and the Wildcats have 19 more regular season games.

NCAA’s Leading Scorers (as of Wednesday’s games)
1. Cierra Dillard (Buffalo): 25.8
2. Megan Gustafson (Iowa): 24.7
3. Aari McDonald (Arizona): 24.6
4. Najai Pollard (Delaware State): 23.7
5. Kristine Anigwe (Cal): 23.6

The Arizona defense has been swarming so far through the first 10 games. The Cats are allowing just 50.4 points per game, which is first in the Pac-12 and fourth in the country and are allowing opponents to just 33.7 percent shooting, the second-best mark in the conference.

Arizona has forced the opponent to shoot below 35 percent five times this year as opposed to last year when opponents shot under 35 percent four times all season. Over the last five games, Arizona is averaging 12.8 steals per game and is second in the Pac-12 at 10.3 per game.

Arizona is the only team in the Pac-12 to be ranked in the top three in scoring defense, field goal percentage defense and 3-point percentage defense.

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