The word “payback” and “revenge” were used by Arizona players Tuesday when asked about the possibility of playing California again in the Pac-12 tournament today at Las Vegas.
The loss to the last-place Golden Bears on Sunday still stings, especially happening on Senior Day at McKale Center.
But what lies ahead today for Adia Barnes and Arizona is much more greater than proving they can beat a 12-18 team at 12:30 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The game will be on Pac-12 Networks and broadcast on KTUC (1400-AM).
The No. 4-seeded Wildcats (23-6), who are ranked No. 13 in the AP Top 25, need to exhibit in the Pac-12 quarterfinal game against No. 12-seed Cal what they have shown for a vast majority of the season — that they are strong enough and worthy enough to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament.
Time to work pic.twitter.com/fCJJyVl3Ai
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 6, 2020
That’s paramount to the NCAA tournament selection committee, which put Arizona in position to be a host school with a No. 14 ranking in Monday’s top-16 seed reveal for March Madness.
— Arizona earned a first-round bye at the Pac-12 Tournament for the first time since the conference moved to 12 teams in 2011-12. Arizona won 12 conference games for the first time since 2004.
— An Arizona win means the Wildcats will have won 24 games for the first time since 2003-04, they will play in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals for the first time since 2010-11 and they will have won their first conference tournament game two straight years for the first time since 2011-12.
📍Mandalay Bay Events Center pic.twitter.com/oIuVkE98Uk
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 5, 2020
— Aari McDonald was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and was named All-Pac-12. She was also named a Naismith Trophy Player of the Year semifinalist on Tuesday. McDonald has scored in double figures in 64 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. She is 13th in the country in scoring and led the Pac-12 in scoring for the second straight season (20.3 points per game). McDonald leads the Pac-12 in steals per game (2.5). McDonald is eighth on the Arizona all-time scoring list with 1,439 points. She is only 13 points from passing Ashley Whisonant (1,451 points from 2005-08) for No. 7 on the list. The late, great Shawntinice Polk is at No. 6 with 1,467 points from 2003-05.[table “57” not found /]
— Cate Reese was named All-Pac-12. Reese was named a Katrina McClain Power Forward Award Finalist. Reese has eight double-doubles this season (seventh in the Pac-12), after a 14-point, 10-rebound game against Cal on Sunday. She has 15 double-doubles in her career which ranks sixth in school history:
Arizona Career Double-Double Leaders
Photoshoot fresh 📸 pic.twitter.com/0BAdccOaHl
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 5, 2020
— Sam Thomas, playing in her native Las Vegas, was named Pac-12 All-Defense and Honorable Mention All-Pac-12. Thomas became the only player in Arizona history to have six blocks and four steals in one game against Washington on Feb, 14. The junior is second in the Pac-12 in blocks per game (1.6) and fourth in steals per game (1.8). She is also the only player in the Pac-12 with 40 blocks and steals this season. Thomas is the only player in school history to have 100 career made threes and blocks. She is fifth in Arizona history in blocked shots (135) and sixth in made 3-pointers (129). Thomas is second in the Pac-12 in career blocks and fifth in steals among active players.
Arizona Career Blocked Shot Leaders
Arizona Career 3-point Field Goals Made Leaders
— Helena Pueyo was named Honorable Mention Pac-12 All-Freshman.
— Dominique McBryde set season-highs in points (19), rebounds (eight) and blocks (four) at Oregon State on Feb. 9. Arizona is 18-3 when McBryde is in the starting lineup and 5-3 when she is not. McBryde averages 10.3 points per game on 57 percent shooting from the field in her last seven games. She is fifth in the Pac-12 in steals per game and averages 2.6 steals per game in her last eight games.
— Barnes was named a Naismith Women’s Coach of the Year semifinalist.
Blue Man Group pic.twitter.com/jI1DeGrGdr
— ADIA BARNES 🐻⬇️🌵🌞 (@AdiaBarnes) March 4, 2020
— Arizona has won 23 regular-season games for the 1999-00 season when the Wildcats earned a school-record 25 wins in a 25-8 season that ended with a second round loss in the NCAA tournament at Tennessee.
— The Wildcats have beaten three top 10 teams (No. 9 Oregon State, No. 8 UCLA and No. 4 Stanford) in one season for the first time in school history.
— The Wildcats are 29-6 in their last 35 games, the best stretch in school history. Arizona won six games in the month of February for the first time in 16 years.
— Arizona is 14th the country in scoring defense (55.0 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.
— Something to keep track of: Arizona is 14-0 when they score 70 points of more. The Wildcats have won 26 straight games when leading by at least 10 points at some point during the game.
— Arizona has been ranked in the AP poll for 15 straight weeks for the first time since the 1999-00 season.
In the story, California’s comments in its press conference following the upset over ASU today in the Pac-12 tournament. The Golden Bears talk about their late-season push and facing Arizona again after last week’s upset win. https://t.co/PlPQCdJlU5
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) March 6, 2020
— Senior Jaelyn Brown led Cal with 22 points and six rebounds, Cailyn Crocker had 20 points and six rebounds, and freshman Jazlen Green finished with 14 points and four steals in Cal’s 71-67 upset of No. 5-seeded ASU on Thursday.
— Using a suffocating full-court press midway through the second quarter, the Bears erased a 15-point deficit, and used a 20-0 run that spanned 3 minutes, 35 seconds over the third and fourth quarters to steal momentum and seize control of the game.
— C.J. West and Crocker, another freshman, combined to hit five of six free throws down the stretch
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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.