Arizona Athletics

Day In Life Covering Two Arizona Wildcats Wins on Campus

The only thing better for a University of Arizona sports Sunday afternoon in February would be the Wildcats’ baseball team playing later off campus so it could have been a trifecta of coverage in one day — women’s basketball, softball and baseball.

Reporting on the women’s hoops and softball games on campus was worth the while with Adia Barnes’ team tipping off at noon and first pitch for Mike Candrea’s team at 1:30 p.m.

The Wildcats won both the games — the women’s basketball team took care of Colorado 63-51 at McKale Center and the softball team blanked Cal State Fullerton 6-0 at the newly-renovated Hillenbrand Stadium.

Arizona’s baseball team, by the way, dispensed of UMass Lowell 20-5 at Hi Corbett Field.

So a winning day all around in Tucson.

Here’s a recap of my day covering the games at McKale and Hillenbrand:

11:40 a.m.

Arriving at McKale Center, had to park on the upper level of the parking garage to the west of the arena for the decent crowd of 2,321 and others who walked over to Hillenbrand.

Gabby Giffords a special pregame guest in the locker room for Barnes’ team:

12:25 p.m.

Arizona established itself early against Colorado without sophomore sensation Aari McDonald having to take over the scoring load.

12:35 p.m.

Giffords is introduced to the McKale Center crowd as part of the school’s Rise to Win Champion of Change. She received a standing ovation.

12:50 p.m.

Arizona freshman forward Cate Reese establishes herself from the start, taking control of the game inside. Reese matched up with McDonald in the next couple of seasons will be a sight to behold.

1:15 p.m.

Arizona’s defense responded early in the second half, once again setting the tone as the Wildcats did in early in the first half.

1:33 p.m.

That kind of day for Barnes’ Wildcats — center Samaj Smith nails a 3-pointer from the corner. After the game, I asked McDonald if she has trained Smith on her perimeter shooting. Reese said with a laugh that Smith’s favorite shot is from that corner.

1:50 p.m.

The Wildcats complete their first weekend sweep in conference play since Colorado and Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011-12. Sweeping the Buffaloes this season marked only the third time the Wildcats achieved that feat since 2011-12. The other times it happened was in 2012-13 over Utah and 2016-17 against Washington State.

2:00 p.m.

Some postgame press conference highlights:

2:35 p.m.

Now shifting over to Hillenbrand, Arizona was ahead already 2-0 in the third inning and starter Taylor McQuillin had not allowed Fullerton a hit yet. And by then, second baseman Reyna Carranco had two of her team-high three RBIs.

3:20 p.m.

Arizona gains more separation from Fullerton with Alyssa Polamino-Cardoza belting her fifth home run of the season already, with a two-run shot in the fifth. Candrea has Palomino-Cardoza at the top of the lineup to increase the chance for production at the very top.

3:45 p.m.

McQuillin closes out the complete-game victory performance. She allowed only three hits in the seven innings with four strikeouts and no walks to improve to 2-3.

4:00 p.m.

Some postgame interview highlights:

Full Candrea interview … He commented about his team playing uncharacteristically especially on defense to start the season with a 6-4 start. He also talked about Arizona’s difficult schedule to start the season — the Wildcats play six games in the Mary Nutter Classic at Palm Springs, Calif., facing the likes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and the Japan national team (in an exhibition). … Other topics — the development of McQuillin to now in her career, playing at the new Hillibrand and his lineup …

4:45 p.m.

I get in my car and head home. Can’t wait to do this again with hopefully a baseball game mixed in next time.

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