Arizona Women's Basketball

No. 11 Arizona Wildcats overwhelm Marist to improve to 4-0


No. 11 Arizona showed its versatility with its bigs making 3-pointers and going coast-to-coast with the ball for layups and its ability to be deadly from 3-point range in the Wildcats’ 78-36 win over Marist on Friday night at McKale Center.

That went with the Wildcats’ customary tough defense, limiting the Red Wolves to 25.5 percent shooting from the field in the game played in front of 6,787 fans.

The crowd was entertained with Native American performers from the Tohono O’odham Nation in honor of Native American Heritage Month.

The community also came together with thousands of Kleenex boxes donated to support the #LinoStrong movement, helping to supply Banner-UMC hospital with softer, more absorbent tissue for patients. Lino Cordova, a Leukemia patient in the pediatric ward, requested that Adia Barnes and the team make a push for Kleenex to help patients.

Marist (2-2) did not have a scorer in double figures. Arizona tallied 13 steals and 10 blocked shots.

Lauren Ware, a 6-foot-3 forward, was one of four Arizona players with at least two 3-pointers made in the game.

The Wildcats (4-0) finished 11-of-24 from beyond the arc led by Bendu Yeaney’s 3-of-3 performance (she was 2 of 7 in the first three games). Yeaney finished with 11 points.

Sam Thomas, who had a team-high 14 points, made 2 of 4 shots from beyond the arc and also had two blocked shots and two steals.

Arizona turned an eight-point lead in the third quarter into a rout behind its shooting in the second half. The Wildcats made 50 percent of their shots including 7-of-12 from 3-point range after halftime.

Their 10-0 run in the third quarter gave the Wildcats the separation they needed.

Sam Thomas was all hustle for Arizona (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Cate Reese’s layup with 6:49 left in the quarter capped the run and gave Arizona a 42-24 lead.

Ware made her second 3-pointer of the game — matching her career total from last year and three games previously this season — and Thomas added a shot from beyond the arc in that stretch.

Arizona ended the last 9:07 of the third quarter outscoring Marist 26-3. Yeaney’s two 3-pointers punctuated Arizona’s 10-of-14 shooting from the field and 6-of-8 from 3-point range in the quarter.

Lauren Ware, who finished with nine points, posts up a Marist defender (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Marist took a 14-12 lead into the second quarter after the Red Foxes heated up from the field after missing their first four shots.

They went 6-of-11 after that start and took advantage of the error-prone Wildcats, who committed four turnovers that led to five points for Marist.

Arizona outscored Marist 16-4 to take a 32-20 lead with 1:26 left in the first half.

Koi Love, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds, made two layups and Madison Conner hit a 3-pointer in that stretch to ignite the crowd. Love was honored with being the “Bang That Drum” player after the game.

Thomas also got fans out of their seats with two blocked shots, a steal and two rebounds in the second quarter.

Reese got in the fun with a coast-to-coast layup after a defensive rebound.

Former Chandler Seton Catholic standout Sarah Barcello, the state’s top player as a senior in 2017-18, missed the game game because of an injury. A sister of former Arizona guard Alex Barcello, she has not played in the Red Foxes’ first four games.

Arizona is off until playing against Vanderbilt — Love’s former team — on Thursday in the Paradise Jam at the Virgin Islands. The Wildcats also play DePaul on Friday and Rutgers next Saturday in the holiday event.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com 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 CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, 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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