Coming into Thursday night’s game, Arizona had been struggling, losing two out of its last three games with losses to No. 1 Stanford 81-54 and Washington State 71-69 on the road in overtime.
Against No. 10 Oregon on national television (ESPN), No. 11 Arizona got off to a hot starting going on a 17 to 2 run to open up the game. The Wildcats took the early momentum to help finish off the Ducks 57-41 to improve to 9-2 on the season.
Arizona hadn’t beaten Oregon since 2015-16, when the Wildcats won a 74-68 game in the Pac-12 tournament.
Arizona star guard Aari McDonald led the team in scoring during the first half with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting and went 2-for-5 from behind the arc. McDonald finished with 16 points going 6-for14 from the field and had two rebounds, two assists, and collected four steals.
Forward Sam Thomas has been struggling on offense for most of the season, trying to find her rhythm. Against Oregon, Thomas found her groove in the second half by scoring six points and collecting five critical rebounds.
Arizona’s defense held Oregon to 33 percent shooting from the field and shut down the Ducks’ three-point shooting watching them go 3-for-11 from behind the arc.
After the fast start, Arizona never looked back and led in the game for a total of 39 minutes and 42 seconds. The other 18 seconds of this game saw both teams tied at two points a piece, showing how much of a dominating performance was for the Wildcats.
Here are McDonald and Thomas talking about beating Oregon for the first time in their careers and what the win means for the program:
Arizona showed up on defense, getting 14 steals and creating 23 Oregon turnovers causing havoc with its full-court press. The Wildcats capitalized off of those turnovers by scoring 26 points while having ten fast break points for the game.
However, the key to the game for Arizona was the ability to limit its turnovers. In the game versus Washington State, the team had 15 turnovers; against Oregon, the Wildcats finished with 11 turnovers showing that they can take care of the ball.
Here’s coach Adia Barnes talking about what this win means to her program and gave insight on why they were successful this time around against the Ducks:
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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.