Add another “first” for Adia Barnes and her Arizona program.
The No. 12 Wildcats defeated Washington State 72-57 in front of 5,658 at McKale Center today to earn a season-series sweep over the Cougars. They did the same thing against Washington on Friday night.
Its Arizona’s first season sweep of Pac-12 traveling partners since 2010-11, when the Wildcats swept the Washington and Oregon schools.
Adia Barnes talks about the importance of Sam Thomas’ aggressive, confident style for the Wildcats and why her team has not slipped up against a lesser opponent this season. pic.twitter.com/AgcWyV7kal
Arizona (21-4, 10-4 Pac-12) had not swept a Pac-12 opponent, period, since 2010-11 before this season.
The Wildcats have now swept ASU, USC, Washington and Washington State in the regular season. They play the Rocky Mountain schools (Utah and Colorado) and Bay area schools (Stanford and Cal) only once this season — in the last two weekends of the season coming up.
Adia Barnes, whose team has won eight of its last nine games, says her team is having fun because its defense creates momentum and because of the fast-paced style of play. pic.twitter.com/7bUHE0gpUz
The Wildcats, ranked No. 13 in the most recent NCAA Tournament Committee Rankings, improved to 16-0 against teams in Quandrants 2-4 (No. 51 RPI and lower).
They have not experienced a slip-up this season. They are 5-4 against Quandrant 1 teams (top 50 RPI).
Dominated the game on the defensive end on Friday, and has a game-high 17 points today for @s_thomas14.
We’ve been telling you guys…. pic.twitter.com/jl086yAdIS
Adia Barnes wanted set the tone of the game early by instituting a full court press and the Wildcats came out aggressive because of it. Aari McDonald said Arizona can’t sleep on any opponent. The Wildcats have not all season. pic.twitter.com/Osvgv18wNe
Arizona, which led from start to finish, surged past Washington State behind its early fullcourt pressure defense and the combination of Aari McDonald and Sam Thomas.
McDonald scored 21 points to increase her double-digit scoring streak to 62 games, her entire Arizona career. It is the longest active streak in the nation. She also had two steals.
Thomas did not record a blocked shot like she normally does — she ranks No. 5 in Arizona history with 124 blocks — but she was valuable in so many ways. She had four steals to go with her six rebounds, four assists and 18 points (on 6-of-9 shooting from the field).
When Washington State made things uncomfortable late in the third quarter, scoring six unanswered points to dwindle Arizona’s lead to 53-42, Thomas responded with her third 3-pointer of the game.
She also made a free throw with 3 seconds left in the quarter after getting a defensive rebound. Arizona’s lead was restored to 57-42.
The Wildcats made 10 3-pointers compared to only one for Washington State. Thomas (3 of 4 from 3-point range), McDonald (3 of 5), Helena Pueyo (2 of 5) and Amari Carter (2 of 2) combined to shoot 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.
Adia Barnes on the upcoming Rocky Mountain trip, noting that Colorado almost beat Stanford at home today: “That’s not going to be an easy trip. I’m going to see what we’re made of.” pic.twitter.com/11BbxbAmqa
Sam Thomas talks about experience of going 0-for-Oregon until her huge 3-pointer late in OT at Oregon State last week. She was thankful of people rallying behind her. She had 18 huge points today on 6-of-10 shooting against Wazzu. pic.twitter.com/2aLJKgjQE2
Washington State took only eight 3-point shots.
The Cougars were led by Borislava Hristova’s 18 points. Hristova, the 14th-leading scorer in Pac-12 history, had only six points in the second half.
Arizona, which has won seven of its last eight games, also controlled the boards 30-25 with Cate Reese tallying a team-best seven. McDonald also had six rebounds.
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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.