Arizona Women's Basketball

No. 21 Arizona Wildcats Coming Off Win But Hope To Rebound Against Washington Huskies

Five rebounds by Cate Reese in the last two games against Oregon and Washington State is indicative of the kind of struggles Arizona has endured with rebounding in general.

Reese is fifth in the Pac-12 with her six double-doubles and she is averaging 8.1 rebounds a game. She generally gets five rebounds in a half but has generated that many over the last 66 minutes against the Ducks and Cougars.

To wit: No. 21 Arizona (14-3, 3-3 Pac-12) has not had more offensive rebounds than its opponent in the six Pac-12 games to date. In conference games, the Wildcats are getting outrebounded by an average of 38.7 to 30.5. In the last four games, the rebounding disparity has been UCLA 47-33, Oregon State 38-27, Oregon 39-23 and Washington State 31-24.

Dominique McBryde in yesterday’s practice at Washington (Arizona Athletics photo)

The Wildcats were outscored by 34 points combined in the paint in the loss to Oregon and win over Washington State.

What is interesting about those two games and the one against Oregon State before them: Arizona beat the Cougars and took the Beavers and Ducks to the final seconds before losing.

Imagine if Adia Barnes‘ team produced better rebounding numbers in those games?

The Wildcats next face Washington (10-6, 2-3) today at 1 p.m. at Seattle (Pac-12 Network/KTUC 1400-AM). An interesting note: Former Washington standout Kelsey Plum, whom Barnes recruited from San Diego to Washington, will be the analyst for Pac-12 Network for the game. Plum and Aari McDonald were teammates at Washington in 2016-17. Both were recruited there by Barnes.

The Huskies are not as dominant on the boards as others in the conference. They are getting outrebounded by an average of 36.6 to 33.8 in conference games.

None of the Huskies are averaging more than 4.2 rebounds a game in Pac-12 games. The Wildcats have three players who average more — Cate Reese at 7.3, McDonald 6.0 and Semaj Smith 4.3.

Arizona notables

— Barnes makes her third return to Seattle, where she was an assistant coach for the Huskies for five seasons until she was hired by her alma mater Arizona in 2016.

— McDonald, who transferred from Washington after Barnes relocated to Tucson, is making her second return. She finished with a game-high 24 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in last February’s 69-59 win at Washington. When Barnes made her first return in the 2016-17 season, Washington beat Arizona 91-55 and McDonald had 13 points, three assists and two steals as a starter for the Huskies. McDonald transferred to Arizona following that season and sat out 2017-18.

Aari McDonald playing against Arizona in the 2016-17 season as a freshman (Washington photo)

— For the first time in school history, Arizona’s first three conference wins have come on the road (ASU, USC and Washington State).

— Arizona is third the country in scoring defense (50.6 points allowed per game) and lead the Pac-12. The Wildcats’ field goal percentage defense (34 percent) is 11th in the nation and third in the Pac-12.

— Over its last five games, Arizona is shooting 94 percent from the free throw line (60-64). The Wildcats made 21 of 22 attempts at Washington State on Friday night.

— Arizona has been ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll for eight straight weeks for the first time since the 2002-03 season, when the Wildcats were ranked 15 times.

— McDonald has scored in double-figures in 54 straight games, her entire Arizona career. It is the second-longest active streak in the nation (Chennedy Carter of Texas A&M is at 55) and longest in the Pac-12. Since the turn of the century, 54 games is the third-longest double-figure scoring streak among Pac-12 players. McDonald, who is 13th on the Arizona career scoring list, is 19th in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (20.1 points a game).

— Reese scored a career-high 26 points at Washington State and made all 11 of her free throw attempts. Reese’s six double-doubles is the fifth-most in the Pac-12.

Dominique McBryde (foot) returned to action vs. Oregon State after missing six games due to injury and was back in the starting lineup vs. Washington State on Friday. Helena Pueyo (ankle) also returned against the Cougars and played nine minutes after missing most of the Oregon State game and all of the Oregon game last week.

Sam Thomas is the only player in school history to have 100 career made 3-pointers and blocks and is one of two current Pac-12 players with 100 career threes and blocks (Stephanie Watts of USC is the other).

Amber Melgoza (Washington photo)

Washington notables

— Washington has held eight of its opponents under 60 points (including five under 50 points) and ranks 42nd in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 57.8 points per game.

— Washington leads the Pac-12 and ranks 20th in the NCAA in turnovers forced, turning teams over 21.0 times per game. The Huskies also lead the conference and rank 18th nationally in steals per game (11.3) and UW’s opposing turnover rate of 24.4 percent is 16th best in the NCAA.

— The Huskies rank 29th in the country with 16.7 assists per game.

— Senior Amber Melgoza scored 31 points at Cal last week, marking the fifth time she has scored 30-plus points in a game in her career. Melgoza leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game and is fifth in the conference with an 18.4 average in Pac-12 play. She currently ranks 16th on UW’s career scoring list with 1,439 points.

— Sophomore Haley Van Dyke leads the Pac-12 and is 30th in the NCAA with 2.7 steals per game. She also leads the team with 6.0 rebounds per game and is second in scoring at 9.0 points per game.

— Junior Missy Peterson leads the team with 49 assists (3.1 assists per game) and has a 2.0 assist to turnover ratio– which is 10th-best in the Pac-12. She is also averaging 8.6 points a game this season.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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