With No. 12 Arizona having one of its most successful seasons in school history, Adia Barnes’ objective is to have her team close the regular season with the hunger for more, not thinking they have to preserve what they started.
The mental toughness of the Wildcats will be challenged, as they were against Washington on Friday, to take care of business against teams they should beat. That goes for Washington State (No. 100 RPI) today at noon at McKale Center, at Utah (No. 99) and Colorado (No. 73) next week and against Cal (No. 141) in the last home game of the season.
Washington State is in the Quadrant 2 (teams that are rated in the RPI No. 51-100). Arizona is 15-0 against teams in Quadrants 2-4. Important for the Wildcats is they have not had a slip-up.
BANG THAT DRUM pic.twitter.com/UrGzmTfz9r
Hosting Stanford (No. 11) in the last weekend of the regular season is the one opponent in which Barnes’ team can drastically elevate its potential seed for the NCAA tournament. Beating the others will likely not improve Arizona’s RPI of No. 23 a great deal.
What matters most is Arizona’s opportunity to finish in the top four of the Pac-12 standings to guarantee a bye in the conference tournament. A secondary goal to that: The chance to finish No. 2 or No. 3 would mean avoiding Oregon until the championship game.
The Ducks top the conference at 12-1. Stanford is 11-2 and UCLA is 10-3. Arizona stands at 9-4 with an overall record of 20-4.
BANG THAT DRUM pic.twitter.com/UrGzmTfz9r
Arizona has achieved a lot of “firsts” this season, such as the Wildcats reaching their 20th win the fastest in a season since 1999-2000 — before most of them were born.
The Wildcats can also strengthen their chance to become the first team at Arizona since 1997-98 to crack the AP top 10 with a win today. No. 11 Oregon State lost at USC on Friday and must face No. 7 UCLA today. No. 4 North Carolina State lost to No. 9 Louisville last week and hosts a decent Georgia Tech team today.
— Aari McDonald was named an Ann Meyers Drysdale Award Top 10 Finalist for the best guard in the nation on Tuesday. She was also named to the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year Midseason Team on Tuesday. McDonald has scored in double-figures in 61 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. McDonald is eighth on the Arizona career scoring list. She is ninth in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (20.5 points a game). McDonald also leads the Pac-12 in steals per game (2.7).
Arizona Career Scoring LeadersList of the top scorers in Arizona history. Note: Aari McDonald played one year at Washington before transferring to Arizona. Her overall career scoring total is 1,793.
|No. Player||Years||GP||FGM (3FG)||FTM||Pts|
|1. Adia Barnes||1995-98||121||881 (3)||472||2,237|
|2. Davellyn Whyte||2009-13||126||668 (274)||449||2,059|
|3. Dee-Dee Wheeler||2002-05||124||762 (186)||256||1,966|
|4. Ify Ibekwe||2008-11||116||628 (35)||362||1,653|
|5. Elizabeth Pickney||1999-02||121||570 (8)||472||1,620|
|6. Aari McDonald||2018-20||66||507 (103)||335||1,486|
|7. Shawntinice Polk||2003-05||94||604 (0)||259||1,467|
|8. Ashley Whisonant||2005-08||122||537(50)||327||1,451|
|9. Timi Brown||1987-91||114||531 (16)||237||1,315|
|10. Dana Patterson||1985-88||112||541 (0)||221||1,299|
— Cate Reese was named a Katrina McClain Power Forward Award Top 10 Finalist on Thursday. Reese has scored in double-figures in all but one Pac-12 game this season. She scored a career-high 26 points the last time Arizona played Washington State. Reese has seven double-doubles this season, matching her total from last season.
Arizona Career Double-Double Leaders
Sam did something yesterday that has never been done in Arizona history.
6️⃣ blocks & 4️⃣ steals in one game.
— Sam Thomas became the only player in Arizona history to have six blocks and four steals in one game on Friday against Washington. The junior is second in the Pac-12 in blocks per game (1.5). Thomas is the only player in school history to have 100 career made threes and blocks. She is also fifth in Arizona history in career blocked shots (124). She is one of two current Pac-12 players with 100 career threes and blocks (Stephanie Watts of USC the other). Thomas is second in the Pac-12 in career blocks among active players.
Arizona Career Blocked Shot LeadersA list of the top career shot blockers in Arizona history:
— Dominique McBryde set season-highs in points (19), rebounds (eight) and blocks (four) at Oregon State last week. Arizona is 15-1 when McBryde is in the starting lineup with the only loss coming at Oregon.
— Arizona is eighth in the country in scoring defense (53.8 points allowed a game) and first 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 12 straight weeks for the first time since the 1999-00 season. No. 12 is Arizona’s highest ranking since the 1997-98 season, Barnes’ senior year.
The best two-way player in the conference. pic.twitter.com/fNoJPemq91
— Arizona has beaten two top-10 teams (UCLA and Oregon State) in one season for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
— Arizona assistant coach Jackie Nared was an assistant coach at Washington State last season. She has also worked at Oregon and Washington as the Director of Creativity and Video for the Ducks and Director of Player Development for the Huskies.
Washington State notables:
— Currently, the Cougars are tied with No. 1 South Carolina and No. 3 Oregon for the most games played against top 25 teams this season at 10 games. Neither the Gamecocks or Ducks are playing a top 25 team today. Four of the last five opponents for Washington State this season all rank inside the top 15
— WSU is still seeking its first win over a top 25 opponent this season. The Cougs are currently 0-10 against ranked opponents in 2019-20, which includes contests against No. 1 South Carolina, No. 2 Baylor, No. 7 UCLA and No. 8 Stanford. The Cougs have dropped 32 straight games against ranked teams. The last WSU victory over a ranked foe came on Jan. 6, 2017, when the Cougars knocked off No. 9 UCLA, 82-73, in Beasley Coliseum..
— Redshirt senior Borislava Hristova needs one more double-digit scoring performance to move into a tie with Camille Thompson for the third-longest double-digit scoring streak by a senior in WSU women’s basketball history at 20 straight games. Hristova has scored at least 10 points in her last 19 games, and has posted double figures in scoring in all but one game this season — nine points nst No. 1 South Carolina. She recently moved into 14th on the Pac-12 women’s basketball career scoring list. The Washington State all-time leading scorer has amassed 2,166 career points, and she is now 49 points away from moving into 13th place on the Pac-12 scoring list, which is currently held by Stanford’s Katie Starbird (1994-97) at 2,215 points.
— Senior Chanelle Molina moved into 10th on the Washington State career scoring list on Friday at Arizona State. The Kailua Kona, Hawaii native passed Jazmine Perkins (2008-12) on Friday to slide into 10th on the WSU career scoring list with 1,302 career points. She needs 32 points to surpass Thompson (1990-94) for ninth.
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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.