Throughout the season, No. 6 Arizona has found itself in double-digit holes against opponents UCLA, USC and Colorado but battled back to win.
The Wildcats put themselves in the largest hole of the season, trailing No. 1 Stanford by 24 points at halftime on Friday, in large part due to the team’s inability to score, shooting 19 percent from the field for the half. Arizona couldn’t climb out of this hole as Stanford never let off the gas, winning 81-54 in dominating fashion at McKale Center.
With the loss, Arizona is now 0-6 against top-ranked opponents with a scoring differential of 19 points, showing how difficult it is to beat the nation’s best.
Here’s a chart showing scores from Arizona’s games against top-ranked opponents:
Arizona Against No. 1-ranked OpponentsArizona is 0-6 against teams ranked No. 1 in the nation. Here are the results:
The second quarter was a complete disaster for the Wildcats as Stanford outscored them 24-7 while shooting just 39 percent. Arizona’s problem was its shooting, going 2-13 from the field. It couldn’t rely on star guard Aari McDonald, who finished the half shooting 2-for-12 for eight points.
Stanford went on runs of 11-0, 12-0, and 14-2 throughout the game while holding Arizona to 26 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats started the game going 3-for-4 from behind the arc, then went 3-for-21 the rest of the way as no one on the team could find a rhythm and neutralize some of the Cardinal scoring runs.
Arizona has received scoring from its bench throughout the season with the reserves averaging of 22.7 points. Against Stanford, the Wildcats’ bench struggled, scoring 13 points while going 4-for-24 from the field.
There were a few bright spots for Arizona in this game including senior forward Sam Thomas, who had 14 points, five rebounds, and a blocked shot while going 4-for-9 from the three-point line. The Wildcats also got solid minutes out of junior guard Bendu Yeaney, who scored 10 points while going 3-for-6 from the field.
Here are Thomas and Yeaney talking about what went wrong during the game and how they can learn from the lopsided loss to Stanford:
At the start of the 2020-21 season, Arizona wanted to improve its rebounding as it finished near the bottom of the conference in that statistic last season. The team showed promise in fixing its rebounding issues, averaging 42 boards per game before Friday. The problems from the past came back to haunt the Wildcats as Stanford dominated the glass 51-32 while scoring 24 points in the paint.
Arizona coach Adia Barnes gave her thoughts on her team’s performance and discussed what went wrong for the Wildcats:
Here’s a postgame report with AZ Desert Swarm’s Ryan Kelapire and myself sharing our takeaway’s for the game:
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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.