Arizona Wildcats’ Defense Stifles UC Riverside

For the first time since 2004, Arizona women’s basketball finds itself in the AP top 25 at 24th in the country. Being that Friday night was the first time Arizona has been a ranked team at home raised the question, would have a letdown? They came out and answered that question from the get-go, jumping on UC Riverside 22-6 in the first quarter. Arizona was led by their defense, who forced UC Riverside into eight first-quarter turnovers while holding them to just 33% shooting from the field. This sparked Arizona, allowing them to get out in transition leading to a field goal percentage of 58.8%.

The defensive theme was the driving force behind Arizona’s 70-27 victory. They held UC Riverside to 9-for-42 from the field for 21.4%, just two percentage points shy of tying a school record for lowest opponent field goal percentage at 19%. Two records Arizona broke in the 70-27 win were fewest FG makes by an opponent (9), and fewest points allowed in the PAC10/12 in program history (27). Arizona was able to force a total of 29 turnovers, which led to 27 points in transition.

Offensively for Arizona, they were able to get 39-points from its bench, which was lead by Mara Mote. Mote missed her first shot of the game; after that, she was lights out going 4-for-5 from behind the arc giving Arizona the spark from off the bench.

Arizona struggled from the three-point line in the first half shooting 21% on 14 attempted three-point shots. To give you an idea, Arizona is shooting around 36% from behind the arc on the season. Arizona was able to turn it around to end the game at 34% from the three-point line.

If you had to find an issue with a 70-27 win, it was in rebounding, which has been an issue for them this season. They got beat on the glass 34-31, the leading rebounder for Arizona was Cate Reese with seven. It seems like they are still in search of a consistent rebounder to emerge from the forward position.

Arizona will be back in action this upcoming Monday against Monmouth at 6:30 p.m. local time.

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