Information from Arizona’s media relations department contributed to this report.
The Arizona Wildcats (18-12) reached plenty of unparalleled success in their 76-48 win Thursday afternoon over USC (17-13) in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Arizona’s 28-point victory is its largest in conference tournament history and it was also the first time since the 2008 Pac-10 Tournament that Arizona held an opponent to fewer than 50 points.
The Wildcats’ field goal percentage of 57.4 percent is also the highest in their history of Pac-12 tournament games.
Freshman forward Cate Reese recorded a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds in her first-career conference tournament game. She now has six double-doubles this season. It was her first since Jan. 27.
Aari McDonald scored 19 points to go along with seven assists and four rebounds. She reached the 1,000-career point mark tonight and also cracked the Pac-12’s top 10 single-season scoring list.
Tee Tee Starks knocked down four 3-pointers to give her a career-high 14 points while Sam Thomas, a former Las Vegas Centennial High School standout returning home, made all four of her shots to give her 10 points.
Is 57% good? Seems good. pic.twitter.com/Y8AKn4yf2u
Arizona held USC to 26 percent shooting. The Wildcats are now 13-0 when winning the rebounding battle as they outrebounded the Trojans 41-28.
Not only did Arizona control the boards, they outscored the Trojans 40-20 in the paint.
Arizona shot 53 percent in the first quarter and got a combined 15 points from Starks and Destiny Graham to give the Wildcats a 21-14 lead.
.@ArizonaWBB recorded its largest margin of victory in a Conference tournament game to advance to the second round! Watch the Wildcats face No. 1 seed @OregonWBB tomorrow at 2pm PT on @Pac12Network! #Pac12WBB More: https://t.co/C21Jxio9Ix pic.twitter.com/49sejFZ4v5
Reese went off in the second quarter and outscored USC 13-7 by herself as Arizona opened a 44-21 lead heading into the second half. The Cats shot 60 percent from the field in the second quarter and held USC to 1-of-16 shooting.
Arizona extended their lead to 33 in the fourth quarter and cruised to victory, giving coach Adia Barnes her first career Pac-12 Tournament Win.
Today, Arizona will face top-seeded Oregon in the quarterfinals at 3 p.m., Tucson time. Arizona was routed by the Ducks last week at McKale Center.