Adia Barnes is working toward her program having the upperhand against archrival Arizona State when she is directly involved.
Barnes never lost in eight games against Arizona State when she played at Arizona from 1994-98. The Wildcats beat the Sun Devils by an average of 14.5 points in that span.
Since she became coach at her alma mater in 2016-17, Arizona is 5-6 against ASU. A three-game winning streak against the Sun Devils was snapped by a 66-64 overtime loss in Tempe on Feb. 28 last year.
Barnes is 9-6 as a player and coach against ASU coach Charli Turner-Thorne, who is in her 25th season with the Sun Devils. Turner-Thorne started coaching at ASU in 1996-97, when Barnes was a junior in Joan Bonvicini’s program.
The Sun Devils lead the overall series 65-37 largely because of a 26-4 run under Turner-Thorne from 2004 to 2018 and a 17-game winning streak from 1978-86. When Barnes last played ASU in 1998, Arizona was on a winning streak of 10 games against the Sun Devils that would reach 14 games.
The rivals meet again on Friday night at Arizona State (11-8, 3-3 Pac-12) at 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Network/KTUC 1400-AM) with Arizona (17-3, 7-3) winning four out of the last six games (the two losses in Tempe). The teams turn around and play Sunday at noon at McKale Center.
Arizona — Adia Barnes achieved her 100th win at Arizona last month in her sixth season at her alma mater. Her record is 106-69 (which is also her career mark). Making that record especially impressive is the fact that Barnes started 20-40 in her first two seasons of rebuilding the program. She reached 100 wins faster than any other coach in program history at 166 games. Joan Bonvicini held the former record at 181 games. Barnes trails only Bonvicini for the most wins in Arizona history. Bonvicini was 287-223 from 1991-2008.
Arizona State — Charli Turner-Thorne is 487-288 in her 25th season at ASU and is 527-328 overall in 28 seasons including three years at NAU from 1994-96 when she was 40-40. She played for Tara VanDerveer at Stanford from 1984-88. Turner-Thorne and Barnes have something in common — they began their coaching careers as assistants at Washington.
WHEN ARIZONA HAS THE BALL
— Arizona has consistently been proficient from 3-point range ranking second in the Pac-12 shooting 36.5 percent. Sam Thomas is second in the conference shooting 46.8 percent from beyond the arc.
— Cate Reese is Arizona’s most reliable offensive threat game in and game out. She ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring (15.0 points per game) and is averaging 16.9 points per game in conference play.
— Barnes can be rest assured that when Helena Pueyo enters the game as a reserve she will be efficient. Pueyo leads the Pac-12 with a 4.2 assist/turnover ratio while Thomas ranks second (3.1).
— ASU likes to play a pressuring style of defense like Arizona and the Sun Devils have two players who rank in the top 10 in steals in the Pac-12 — Jaddan Simmons (fifth/1.79 steals per game) and Mael Gilles (ninth/1.72 steals per game).
— Gilles, a graduate transfer from Rutgers, is a 6-foot-1 active post player who will likely be matched mostly against Reese. She has a career-high 23 blocked shots this season.
WHEN ARIZONA STATE HAS THE BALL
— Jade Loville, a 5-foot-11 wing who transferred from Boise State, has been ASU’s catalyst on offense this season averaging 16.5 points a game (ranking fourth in the Pac-12). Loville is the top scorer in conference games averaging 19.2 points. Loville is also fourth in the conference with a shooting percentage of 43.9 from 3-point range. Loville is the daughter of eight-year NFL veteran running back Derek Loville, who played for the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.
— Gilles keeps ASU active on the offensive end ranking fifth in the Pac-12 with 2.44 offensive rebounds a game. She is averaging 7.67 rebounds overall.
— Simmons ranks ninth in the Pac-12 with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.5.
— Arizona has the top scoring defense in the Pac-12 (55.4 points a game).
— Thomas is the Pac-12’s active career leader in steals (249) and she is second in career blocked shots at Arizona with 191. Shawntinice Polk is the leader with 222.
— Pueyo ranks third in the Pac-12 with 2.0 steals per game while Bendu Yeaney is 10th at 1.8.
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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