Arizona Women's Basketball

Adia Barnes Wants At Least 10,000 Fans When No. 13 Arizona Wildcats Host No. 4 Stanford Tonight

One of the most significant games at McKale Center involving the Arizona women’s basketball team will be played tonight when No. 4 Stanford and legendary coach Tara VanDerveer visit.

A victory over Stanford, 24-4 overall and 13-3 in the Pac-12 with an RPI rating of No. 8, would be huge for Arizona’s aspirations to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament March 20-23.

In the eyes of the selection committee, it would allow the Wildcats (22-5, 11-5 Pac-12) to make a recovery from Sunday’s 50-38 loss at unranked Colorado. The Wildcats played that game and the one at Utah last weekend without injured All-American candidate Aari McDonald at point guard, which likely will weigh on the committee’s checklist.

Adia Barnes (Andy Morales/

Colorado has an RPI of No. 77. They are the only team in Quadrants 2-4 (No. 51 RPI or higher) to beat the Wildcats this season. Arizona is 17-1 against such teams and 5-4 against teams in top 50.

Adia Barnes has mentioned publicly she wants at least 10,000 fans tonight at 6 (Pac-12 Network/KTUC (1400-AM) at McKale Center. If that happens, the Wildcats would be less than 10,000 fans away from reaching the impressive feat of drawing 100,000 fans this season, which, of course, has not happened in Arizona history.

The Wildcats, who presently have drawn 80,555 fans, host California on Sunday in the regular-season finale.

Entering this week’s games, only nine schools nationally had at least 100,000 fans (see chart below that I put together researching each Division I conference’s attendance figures). Arizona is 13th nationally in attendance and third in the Pac-12 behind Oregon and Oregon State.

NCAA Women's Basketball Overall Attendance Leaders

Top attendance figures in women's basketball as of games on Feb. 24. chart.
1South Carolina27-114165,27211,805
3Iowa State15-1015144,7689,651
5Louisville25-312109,286 9,107
8Mississippi State23-513100,2777,714
9Notre Dame 11-1714107,5787,684
12Oregon State20-81589,1165,941

Out of the 16 teams the NCAA designated as the top 16 seeds at the beginning of February, Arizona has the ninth-best attendance (chart below). The second and final top 16 committee reveal will take place on Monday at halftime of the South Florida-UConn game on ESPN2 that tips at 5 p.m. Tucson time. 

Arizona was ranked No. 13 by the committee last month. That put the Wildcats at a No. 4 seed.

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A win tonight for Arizona will also mean the Wildcats:

— Beat a top 5 team for the first time in school history. The Wildcats are 0-27 at McKale Center and 0-50 overall against such teams.

— Will have 23 regular-season victories for the first time in 20 years and remain on track to tie the school record of 24 regular-season wins set in 1999-2000 when Arizona finished 25-7.

— Will have 12 conference wins for the first time since the 2003-04 season.

— Have an opportunity to finish third in the Pac-12, thereby avoiding playing No. 3 Oregon until the championship game of the conference tournament next week. Arizona would have to sweep this weekend and Stanford would have to get swept by the Wildcats and ASU for Arizona to finish third over the Cardinal. UCLA (12-4) would have to lose once at home to either Colorado or Stanford to be in a tie with Arizona. If the Wildcats and UCLA finish 13-5, Arizona would win the tiebreaker because it swept the conference’s No. 7 team, USC, and UCLA split that series this season.

Arizona notables:

— Arizona is also seeking to end an eight-game losing streak against the Cardinal. That run was almost broken last year at Palo Alto, Calif., when a potential game-winning shot by McDonald at the buzzer did not go in the basket.

Aari McDonald (Andy Morales/

— Arizona is 11th the country in scoring defense (54.3 points allowed per game) and first the Pac-12. The Wildcats have held all of their Pac-12 opponents except for Utah under their scoring average.

— Arizona has been ranked in the AP Poll for 14 straight weeks for the first time since the 1999-00 season.

— McDonald, set to return this weekend, has scored in double-figures in 62 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. She is eighth on the Arizona career scoring list. She is eighth in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 (20.5 points a game). She also leads the Pac-12 in steals per game (2.6). She was named a Naismith Defensive Player of the Year semifinalist on Tuesday.

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Sam Thomas scored a career-high 31 points and was 13-of-13 from the line at Utah last Friday. Thomas became the only player in Arizona history to have six blocks and four steals in one game against Washington two weeks ago. The junior is second in the Pac-12 in blocks per game (1.6) and third in steals per game (1.8). Thomas is the only player in school history to have 100 career made 3-pointers and blocks. She is fifth in career blocked shots (131) at Arizona and sixth in made threes (126). She passed former Catalina Foothills standout Julie BraseLute Olson’s granddaughter — in made 3-pointers last week. Brase made 125 in her career. Thomas is second in the Pac-12 in career blocks and fifth in steals among active players. She is also one of two Power 5 players with 40 blocks and steals this season (Natasha Mack of Oklahoma State is the only other player).

Arizona Career Blocked Shot Leaders

1.Shawntinice Polk2003-0594222
2.Sam Thomas2017-20123167
3.Ify Ibekwe2008-10116166
4.LaBrittney Jones2013-17114161
5.Elizabeth Pickney1999-2002121147
6.Marte Alexander1995-98109121
7.Dana Patterson1985-8811291
8.Anne McFadden1979-8210287
9.Margo Clark1991-948468
10.Erica Barnes2011-1411254

Arizona Career 3-point Field Goals Made Leaders

1.Lisa Griffith1997-00122285
2.Davellyn Whyte2009-13126274
3.Aimee Grzyb2001-04123208
4.Brenda Pantoja1992-96114190
5.Dee-Dee Wheeler2002-05124186
6.Sam Thomas2017-20118162
7.Julie Brase1999-2003118125
8.Lucia Alonso2016-20122120
9.Natalie Jones2003-06126117
10.Kama Griffits2012-1456110

Cate Reese was named to the Katrina McClain Power Forward Award Watch List. She has seven double-doubles this season (seventh in the Pac-12), matching her total from last season. Her 14 career double-doubles ties her with Margo Clark (1991-94) for seventh-most in school history.

Arizona Career Double-Double Leaders

Ify Ibekwe2008-11 11655
Shawntinice Polk 2003-05 9446
Adia Barnes 1995-98 12136
Amina Njonkou 2006-09 10119
Dana Patterson 1985-88 11219
Cate Reese2018-206615
Margo Clark1991-94 8414
Davellyn Whyte2009-13 12612
Elizabeth Pickney 1999-02 12111
Tatum Brown 1999-00 4510
Bonnie Dove1993-945310
Brenda Pantoja1992-96 11410

Dominique McBryde set season-highs in points (19), rebounds (eight) and blocks (four) at Oregon State. Arizona is 17-2 when McBryde is in the starting lineup and 10-0 at home. McBryde averages 3.3 steals per game in her last four games and is fifth in the Pac-12 in steals per game.

Stanford notables:

— The Cardinal owns a 69-13 lead in its series with the Wildcats. They have won 33 of the last 34 in the series. Before Stanford’s 56-54 win last season at Palo Alto, it had defeated Arizona by at least 15 points seven straight meetings.

Embed from Getty Images

Kiana Williams’ 214 career 3-pointers are good for fifth in school history. She was was named one of 10 finalists for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award. Williams will likely play against McDonald in what would be a matchup worth the price of admission.

— VanDerveer has a 1,091-251 (.813) record as a college head coach and is eight victories shy of passing Pat Summitt (1,098) as the winningest coach in women’s college basketball history. VanDerveer has a record of 510-81 (.864) in the regular season of the Pac-12. She became the first women’s basketball head coach with that many wins in a single Division I conference with a home win over California this season.

— In the 74-66 loss to Oregon at home Monday, Lexie Hull made a career-high six 3-pointers en route to 27 points. She was joined in double figures by 14 from Williams.

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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