Arizona Women's Basketball

No. 18 Arizona Wildcats Sweep No. 16 ASU Sun Devils for First Time in 20 Years

The biggest regular-season crowd at McKale Center in the history of the Arizona women’s program became louder by the quarter, reflecting how the No. 18 Wildcats increasingly played well against No. 16 ASU.

In the end, the 10,160 at McKale were delighted by the 59-53 win and the Bang-the-Drum finish with Ari McDonald pounding the drum 16 times (Arizona’s victory total).

If UConn or South Carolina can top this, more power to them.

Arizona (16-3, 5-3 Pac-12) ended ASU’s six-game winning streak and swept the Sun Devils for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

McDonald had 24 points and 11 rebounds. Sam Thomas added 13 points, three steals and three blocked shots (most of the emphatic variety). Penn State graduate transfer Amari Carter continued her upward swing in the second half the season with 11 points, eight in the pivotal third quarter.

ASU (15-5, 5-3) is the team that swept No. 2 Oregon and No. 3 Oregon State just two weeks ago in Tempe. The Sun Devils had 25 points from Robbi Ryan but that was about all who threatened the Wildcats. No other player finished in double-figure scoring. Eboni Walker had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Arizona finally came to life in the third quarter, awakening in the second half much like the second half on Sunday at Washington when the Wildcats erased a 19-point deficit and forged ahead for the win.

McDonald’s 40-foot jumper at the buzzer to end the first half set the alarm for Arizona’s wakeup call in the third quarter.

McDonald’s backcourt mate Carter had eight points and three rebounds in the third quarter to help the Wildcats outscore the Sun Devils 19-10. Her three-pointer at the buzzer of the quarter gave the Wildcats a 39-33 lead.

Aari McDonald makes a long-range 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer (Arizona Athletics photo)

The Wildcats, who trailed 23-20 at halftime, were cold from the floor in the first half shooting 25 percent and they had eight turnovers. McDonald had 10 points and the next highest scorer for Arizona was Sam Thomas with four.

Cate Reese had no points and only three rebounds. She finished with five points and seven rebounds

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