Arizona was off to the best start in program history and started the Pac-12 with a 5-0 record after sweeping a road trip from Colorado and Utah for the first time in program history last weekend.
The team looked to avoid a letdown against Idaho with No. 1 Stanford right around the corner on Jan. 1 in McKale Center. Not only did the Wildcats avoid a letdown, but they quickly put the game away with a 21-9 lead at the end of the first quarter culminating with a 96-42 rout of the Vandals.
Arizona showed off its depth with five players scoring in double digits and received a massive spark from the bench with 58 points giving star guard Aari McDonald a chance to rest with only 19 minutes played, much less than her 32.8 averaged minutes this season. McDonald finished with 11 points, five rebounds and six assists with just one turnover.
It was a record-setting game for McDonald as she climbed higher in the Arizona career scoring list now with 1,627 points, moving into fifth. Ify Ibekwe, who scored 1,653 points from 2007-11, is at No. 4.
Aari McDonald is now in the top 5 of Arizona career scoring leaders with 1,621 points at No. 5, passing Elizabeth Pickney (who had 1,620 from 1998-2002). Ify Ibekwe (2007-11) is No. 4 with 1,653 points. pic.twitter.com/AO63G04LBH
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) December 23, 2020
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With so many different players scoring for Arizona, guard Helena Pueyo and freshman Lauren Ware stood above the rest, combining for 24 points, 18 rebounds and three assists. Ware achieved her second career double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Players for Arizona have made it clear that they don’t think the team has played up to its full potential and have been displeased with turnover numbers heading into the game.
That seemed to be the focus in practice for Arizona as the team had one turnover midway through the third quarter in a lopsided game, showing no lapse in concentration. The Wildcats ended the game with eight turnovers and forced Idaho into 16, which led to 22 points.
Here are McDonald and Pueyo talking about the team’s win and their insight on what they need to do to prepare for Stanford:
Arizona won the rebounding battle 54-28 and topped Idaho 21-8 in offensive rebounds, showing the team’s work during practice trying to improve on weak spots.
Here’s coach Adia Barnes talking about how the team has more room to improve as they head into the meat of the season with conference games:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.