Some of Oregon’s press conference yesterday after the Ducks beat Utah and advanced to the Pac-12 tournament semifinals against Arizona focused around the third-ranked Ducks’ inability to win the championship last year against Stanford.
“Obviously it would be awesome to cut down nets here,” Oregon senior All-American Sabrina Ionescu said. “We weren’t able to do that last year. You know, we have Arizona in front of us, and we need to take care of them first before looking too far ahead.
“Of course, it would be a blessing and awesome to be able to come back in my last year and win it here. “
— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 7, 2020
Ionescu has 26 triple-doubles in her career — a record for women and men — with three coming against No. 13 Arizona. She had one last season and two this season in the regular-season sweep. She has yet to achieve one in the Pac-12 tournament although she came two assists shy of one yesterday in the win over Utah (19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists).
Under ardent coach Adia Barnes, fourth-seeded Arizona (24-6) is not the type of team that is just happy to be in the position of playing Ionescu and the top-seeded Ducks (29-2) tonight at 7 p.m. at the Mandalay Bay Events Center at Las Vegas.
After taking Oregon to the last minute at McKale Center and getting routed at Oregon — as part of the Ducks’ current 17-game winning streak — the teams will play on a neutral court.
A mood 😼 pic.twitter.com/8YOCNze8mU
— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 6, 2020
Don’t think for a second that Arizona’s players are not fueled in part by playing for Barnes against Oregon’s Kelly Graves, who got the Pac-12 Coach of the Year nod over Barnes by a vote of the conference coaches.
The Wildcats have lost nine consecutive games against Oregon dating to March 3, 2016, the season before Ionescu enrolled at the Eugene, Ore., school. One of those losses was in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals last year at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“We’re going to have fun,” Barnes said. “We’re going to play basketball and try to win. If we don’t win, our season is not over. It doesn’t matter. I think that’s our take on it. We know they’re a very good team.”
— Arizona is in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals for the first time since 2011, when the Wildcats lost to Stanford 100-71. Arizona has not advanced to the tournament championship game since 2004, when it also lost to Stanford 51-46.
Another one bites the dust.
— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) March 6, 2020
— The Wildcats shot 54.7 percent from the field on Friday in the 86-73 win over Cal, the seventh-best percentage in conference tournament history.
— Arizona’s 24 wins is tied for the second-most in program history, matching the team that went 24-9 last season. The 2003-04 team also went 24-9. The Wildcats are a win shy of tying for most wins in school history. The 1999-2000 team holds that distinction with a 25-7 record.
— The Wildcats have beaten three top 10 teams (No. 4 Stanford, No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Oregon State) in one season for the first time in school history.
— Arizona is 15-0 when it scores 70 points of more. The Wildcats have won 27 consecutive games in which they take a double-digit lead.
— Fourth-year junior guard Aari McDonald, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pac-12 selection, moved to seventh on the Arizona career scoring list Friday with 1,452 points. She has scored in double-figures in 65 straight games, the longest active streak in the nation, spanning her entire Arizona career. She is 13th in the country in scoring and leads the Pac-12 in scoring for the second straight season (20.1 points per game). McDonald leads the Pac-12 in steals per game (2.4).[table “57” not found /]
— Sophomore forward Cate Reese, an All-Pac-12 selection, had a career-high 30 points on 13-of-15 shooting from the field against Cal on Friday. Reese has eight double-doubles this season. She has 15 double-doubles in her career which ranks sixth in school history.
Arizona Career Double-Double Leaders
— Junior forward Sam Thomas, a Pac-12 All-Defense team selection playing in her hometown of Las Vegas, finished second in the Pac-12 in the regular season 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 became the only player in Arizona history to have six blocks and four steals in one game against Washington on Feb, 14. 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 (136) and sixth in made 3-pointers (130).
Arizona Career 3-point Field Goals Made Leaders
Arizona Career Blocked Shot Leaders
— Senior forward Dominique McBryde brings a winning feel to Arizona’s lineup. The Wildcats are 19-3 when McBryde is in the starting lineup and 5-3 when she is not. McBryde has averaged 10.4 points per game on 59 percent shooting in her last eight games. She is fifth in the Pac-12 in steals per game and averages 2.6 steals per game in her last eight games.
— Helena Pueyo, an honorable mention Pac-12 All-Freshman selection, had a career-high eight assists against Cal. She also had two blocked shots and a steal and only two turnovers.
"It felt like everybody here was an Oregon fan." – @ErinnSB21
— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) March 7, 2020
— Oregon has advanced to the Pac-12 tournament semifinals for the fourth straight year and sixth time in program history. Oregon is 2-3 in semifinal games.
— Ionescu has 2,511 career points, 1,072 career assists and 1,023 career rebounds — the only player in NCAA history in the 2,000/1,000/1,000 club. She moved past Barnes to No. 9 in Pac-12 history in career field goals (887). Barnes made 881 for the Wildcats from 1995-98.
— Satou Sabally moved into the top 10 on Oregon’s career scoring list with 1,492 points, passing Shaquala Williams (1,478, 1998-02).
— Ruthy Hebard is averaging 17.5 points per game with a team-best 9.8 rebounds per game during the 17-game win streak while shooting 67.2 percent (131-of-195) from the floor.
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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.