No. 16 Arizona is not only out to get a win that has eluded the Wildcats against No. 8 UCLA the last 13 games with Bruins, they are chasing a victory against a top 10 team for the first time since 2004.
The Wildcats have lost 52 consecutive games against teams ranked in the top 10.
Added spice for fans who are attending the 6 p.m. game tonight at McKale Center (Pac-12 Network/KTUC 1400-AM): the matchup is the only game in the country this week featuring two top 16 teams.
Come and watch these two play. Tomorrow night at McKale!! pic.twitter.com/23TghRXOBw
UCLA (18-1, 7-1) handed Arizona (16-3, 5-3) its worst loss of the season, 70-58, on Jan. 5 at Pauley Pavilion. The teams played a classic triple-overtime game last year at McKale Center, won by the Bruins 98-93.
The last time Arizona beat UCLA at McKale was way back on March 7, 2012, in a 61-57 victory, the Wildcats’ last win in the series.
More fans will be on Arizona’s side this time at McKale. Arizona coach Adia Barnes announced this morning 6,000 tickets have been sold. The Wildcats are third in the Pac-12 in average attendance at 5,608. Oregon tops the Pac-12 at 10,363 and Oregon State is next at 6,005.
Adia Barnes previews Friday’s home game vs. No. 8 UCLA and what Arizona needs to do to beat the Bruins this time. pic.twitter.com/zN4vqoQhcL
— A victory would mean the Wildcats will have won back-to-back games vs. ranked opponents for the first time since the 1997-98 season.
— Arizona is one of five teams in the nation to have their only losses be to current top 10 teams. The other programs are Baylor, UConn, DePaul and Gonzaga.
— The Wildcats are 22-3 in their last 25 games. Only four teams in the nation have won more than 22 games in their last 25 (Baylor, UConn, Louisville and Princeton).
— Arizona is fourth the country in scoring defense (51.2 points allowed a game and first the Pac-12. Arizona’s field goal percentage defense (34.5 percent) is 15th in the nation and second in the Pac-12. The Wildcats have held all of their Pac-12 opponents under their scoring average.
— Arizona has been ranked in the AP Poll for 10 straight weeks for the first time since the 1999-00 season.
— Aari McDonald has scored in double-figures in 56 straight games, her entire Arizona career. It is the longest active streak in the nation. Since the turn of the century, 56 games is the third-longest double-figure scoring streak among Pac-12 players. McDonald, who is 10th on the Arizona all-time scoring list, is 14th in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (20.5 points a game). She is the only player in the country to average at least 20 points, six rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. She was named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Midseason Team last week.
— Cate Reese was named Pac-12 Player of the Week twice in December and was the first player in the Pac-12 to be named Player of the Week twice this season. Reese scored a career-high 26 points at Washington State two weeks ago and made all 11 of her free throw attempts. Reese’s six double-doubles is the sixth-most in the Pac-12.
— Dominique McBryde returned to action vs. Oregon State after missing six games due to injury and has started the last three games. The Wildcats are 11-0 when McBryde is in the starting five.
— Sam Thomas is the only player in school history to have 100 career made threes and blocks and is one of two current Pac-12 players with 100 career threes and blocks (Stephanie Watts of USC is the other). Thomas is second in the Pac-12 in career blocks among active players.
— The road trip for the Bruins will mark the first and only time all season that the Bruins will face back-to-back AP top 25 teams on the road. They face No. 19 ASU on Sunday. “It’s all about mindset, preparation, toughness and togetherness,” coach Cori Close told the Daily Bruin. “Arizona and Arizona State are playing at a really high level right now. They’re much improved from the first time we played them and our job is to rise up in our own improvement.”
— Freshman guard Charisma Osborne will draw the defensive assignment against McDonald, a fourth-year junior All-American. “I think she is an elite defender, she’s been able to keep people in front of her,” Close said of Osborne. “(McDonald is) an elite player and it’s going to be a great challenge.”
— Since league play began, UCLA is leading the conference in offensive rebounds (16.5 a game) and steals per game (10.1). The team is also second in the league in assists per game (16.9) and is averaging the second-fewest turnovers per contest (11.0).
— With her 100th career steal against Arizona earlier this month, junior forward Michaela Onyenwere became the 23rd player in UCLA history to register 1,000 career points, 500 career rebounds, and 100 career steals (1,238 points, 603 rebounds and 105 steals).
FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER!
ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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 CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, 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.