Arizona Women's Basketball

Lino Strong: Please bring unopened Kleenex boxes to Arizona’s game

Adia Barnes’ longtime friend Lino Cordova, who has battled leukemia for most of his young life, asked Barnes on Thursday for help with having fans donate Banner-University Medical Center new boxes of Kleenex.

Cordova mentioned to Barnes that the tissues used at the hospital, where he is being treated, are small, not soft and lack absorbency.

Barnes hopes fans bring at least 5,000 boxes of Kleenex to the game Friday against Marist at 6:30 p,m.

“I want to be greedy and get more because I think that’s something small and something we can do,” Barnes said.

She added the game for the 11th-ranked Wildcats (2-0) will be dedicated to Cordova with the use of #LinoStrong on social media.

Arizona graphic

“He’s a fighter, and he’s fighting really hard right now,” she added. “It’s the least we can do is get those 5,000 Kleenex boxes. It’s something special to me and I really want to make him happy to do that.

“He’s gonna FaceTime in (during Friday’s game). Just a great kid with a huge heart thinking about other people during his hardest time.”

Lino Cordova with Adia Barnes and Salvo Coppa (Cordova photo)

While Barnes wants the community to go beyond with this meaningful effort, reserve guard Derin Erdogan earned the Go Beyond award in practice this week.

Barnes and her staff awards the Go Beyond award — more commonly known as the Gold Jersey winner — at the beginning of each week to the player who makes the most winning plays during practice. Erdogan earned that distinction this week.

The totals this season:

Cate Reese – 3
Aaronette Vonleh – 2
Anna Gret Asi – 1
Derin Erdogan – 1

Barnes mentioned that she “never had a gold jersey in college … I wish I would have.” Thanks to Joan Bonvicini recruiting her to Tucson, Barnes wore an Arizona jersey and that’s just fine for many of the fans.

Arizona is off to a 3-0 start for the third straight season under Barnes, who is in her sixth season as head coach.

The Wildcats have yet to allow a team to score 60 points. In the win last week against Louisville, the Wildcats held the Cardinals to just 28.6 percent shooting from the field while blocking six shots and forcing 17 turnovers.

“Defense wins games,” said Bendu Yeaney, who has six steals. “Our offense is really good but I think our defense is getting better every day.”


— Arizona ranks 24th nationally in assist-turnover ratio (1.51), 22nd in total assists (62) and 21st in
assists per game (20.7).

Cate Reese is one of just three Pac-12 players to average at least 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per
game. She is the 15th player in program history to score at least 1,200 career points. She is at 1,205. Sam Thomas is approaching at 1,153.

— The Wildcats finished second in the Pac-12 in average attendance during the 2019-20 season, the last time fans were allowed to attend, with an average of 5,044. All of Arizona’s top 10 attended games have come during the Barnes era. The 14,644 fans that attended the WNIT Championship game is a Pac-12 record for single-game attendance. Currently, the Wildcats rank fifth in the NCAA for average attendance averaging 6,208.

Arizona attendance records

  1. 14,644 – Apr. 6, 2019 vs. Northwestern (WNIT title game)
  2. 10,160 – Jan. 24, 2020 vs. Arizona State
  3. 10,132 – Apr. 3, 2019 vs. TCU (WNIT)
  4. 8,542 – Nov. 20, 2019 vs. Prairie View A&M
  5. 8,442 – Nov. 22, 2016 vs. North Texas
  6. 7,838 – Feb. 28, 2019 vs. Stanford
  7. 7,717 – Mar. 31, 2019 vs. Wyoming
  8. 7,680 – Jan. 12, 2020 vs. Oregon
  9. 7,558 – Dec. 14, 2017 vs. New Mexico State
  10. 7,407 – Jan. 31, 2020 vs. UCLA

— Marist includes two players from the Chandler Seton Catholic dynasty coached by former Arizona State player Karen Self. They are seniors Sarah Barcello and Kendall Krick. Barcello is a younger sister of former Arizona men’s player Alex Barcello, who is now starring at BYU. Their younger sister Amanda, who also played at Seton Catholic, is a freshman at BYU. Last season, Alex and Sarah each played in the NCAA tournament. Oldest sister Julia played at Colgate.

— Sarah Barcello has yet to play this season reportedly because of a foot injury. Barcello and Krick were teammates at Seton Catholic who Arizona was recruiting when they were seniors according to reports. Krick is averaging 3.7 points and 3.7 rebounds as a starter.

— Marist (2-1) is coming off the trip to March Madness after winning the MAAC title. The Red Foxes lost to Louisville 74-43 in a first-round game as a 15th seed.

— Syracuse transfer Kiara Fisher, a guard, leads Marist averaging 17.0 and 4.0 rebounds a game.

— The Red Foxes won at Drexel (52-50) in the opener and split the last two games at home against American (59-52 loss) and Vermont (67-50 win).

— Through three games for both teams, Arizona is allowing opponents only 47.0 points a game while Marist is giving up only 53.0.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District

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