Cate Reese is having a week to remember. The Arizona senior forward is averaging 16.7 points a game while helping lead the Wildcats to a 3-0 record, including a game-high 21 points to knock off previous No. 6 Louisville (61-59) on Friday. The Pac-12 honored Reese for her efforts by naming her Pac-12 Player of the Week on Monday morning. It was her fourth weekly honor of her career and she celebrated her latest award by pouring in a game-high 15 points to help defeat Texas Southern 93-38 Monday night at McKale Center.
— Andy Morales (@AndyMorales8) November 16, 2021
Arizona started that week ranked No. 22 in the AP media poll but logical heads prevailed and the Wildcats entered the night against Texas Southern (0-2) ranked No. 11 and the Tigers had the misfortune of being the text team up with the Wildcats riding a wave of emotion. On top of that, there was a brand new Final Four banner hanging in the rafters, waiting to be unveiled.
Texas Southern lost to DePaul 114-71 last Tuesday, so it’s clear the Tigers could score, but the Wildcats led 24-9 after the first quarter, 48-15 at the half and 65-21 after the third quarter. The Wildcat bench scored 55 points in this win and the Tigers were limited to 23.4 percent shooting from the floor including 0 for 10 night from 3-point range. Welcome to McKale Center.
Texas Southern did have some success with Niya Mitchell scoring 12 points to lead the Tigers but it took a lot of minutes to do so. Reese scored her 15 points in just 17 minutes of work and she collected 11 rebounds in the process. Lauren Ware added 12 points and 6 rebounds, Madison Conner collected 10 points, Aaronette Vonleh had 10 points and Gisela Sanchez had 8 from the bench. Vonleh played a game-high 18 minutes.
Adia Barnes used all 15 players she had on her roster and 14 scored. Her bench is so deep, Ariyah Copeland didn’t score in 13 minutes of game time but the senior pulled down 7 rebounds and she picked up a blocked shot in the process.
Reese became the 15th Wildcat to score more than 1,200 points in a career and Sam Thomas breaks career playing records every time she steps on the court. Thomas led the Wildcats with 3 blocked shots.
Reese banged the drum after the game and then Barnes gathered her team together so the team could join 6,261 fans to watch the unveiling of the Final Four banner from last April when the Wildcats knocked off Indiana 66-53 to reach that promised land. Arizona blew past Connecticut 69-59 in the Final Four before falling to Stanford 54-53 in the National Championship game.
Arizona will host Marist (2-1) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Texas Southern will travel to play Rice (1-1) on Wednesday. Marist sophomore Kiara Fisher transferred in from Syracuse after her freshman season and the 5-foot-7 guard is leading the Red Foxes with 17.7 points a game.
The Red Foxes also have former Chandler Seton Catholic standout Sarah Barcello on the roster. The senior was an All- Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection last year and a preseason All-MAAC selection this year but Barcello has not seen the floor this fall and the centerfieldmarist is reporting Barcello is recovering from “off-season surgeries.” Her brother, Alex Barcello, played for Arizona before transferring to BYU.
Andy Morales was recognized by the AIA as the top high school reporter in 2014, he was awarded the Ray McNally Award in 2017, a 2019 AZ Education News award winner and he has been a youth, high school and college coach for over 30 years. He was the first in Arizona to write about high school beach volleyball and high school girls wrestling. His own children have won multiple state high school championships and were named to all-state teams. Competing in hockey, basketball, baseball and track & field in high school, his unique perspective can only be found here and on AZPreps365.com. Andy is the Southern Arizona voting member of the Ed Doherty Award, recognizing the top football player in Arizona, and he was named a Local Hero by the Tucson Weekly for 2016. Andy was named an Honorary Flowing Wells Caballero in 2019, became a member of the Sunnyside Los Mezquites Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2021 and he was a member of the Amphi COVID-19 Blue Ribbon Committee and he earned a Distinguished Service Award from Amphitheater. Contact Andy Morales at email@example.com