Coming into the Pac-12 tournament semifinals, Arizona had been struggling on offense but found a way to get past Washington State to play UCLA for a chance to go to the championship game.
The shooting woes played a pivotal part in Friday’s game as Arizona went on a couple of slumps throughout the contest that UCLA capitalized on, helping the Bruins take a 58-49 victory against the Wildcats to advance to the title game Sunday against Stanford.
Arizona struggled to find the bottom of the net throughout the game, and at one point, the Wildcats went nine minutes without making a field goal. The drought ended at the start of the second half.
Although Arizona limited UCLA guard Charisma Osborne to seven points, the Bruins got a boost from star forward Michaela Onyenwere, who shined in the game’s biggest moments, scoring 24 points and went 10-for-11 from the foul line with four rebounds.
Star guard Aari McDonald left everything she had on the floor for the Wildcats with 24 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals in 36 minutes. McDonald was the only Arizona player in double-digits, and the team had just six players score.
Here’s McDonald talking about the tough loss and discussing why the offense went cold throughout the game:
Arizona hasn’t been a top rebounding team throughout the season, but it has held its own against the conference’s top half. Against UCLA, rebounding became an issue as the Bruins outrebound the Wildcats 41-35 and had a total of 11 offensive boards.
The biggest difference from the first matchup to now is at the free-throw line, where in the first game, UCLA shot a horrendous 47 percent on 21 attempts. In the semifinal game, the Bruins shot an impressive 83 percent on 23 attempts to hold off the Wildcats.
Here’s Barnes talking about what went wrong for her team and discussing what needs to happen to fix the offensive issue before the NCAA tournament:
FOLLOW TROY HUTCHISON ON TWITTER!
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.