Arizona Women's Basketball

Arizona wins rematch with ASU behind Phoenix-area product Madison Conner

Madison Conner, from Chandler, said a “Bear Down” during the postgame press conference when asked if ASU recruited her early in her high school career (Andy Morales/


Phoenix-area talent on the men’s side has made ASU envious of Arizona through the years with the likes of Mike Bibby, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, Jerryd Bayless, Nick Johnson and Nico Mannion choosing to play for the Wildcats.

The Arizona women now have that with Madison Conner, who hails from Chandler.

The second-year freshman guard fueled Arizona rallies throughout and finished with a career-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field in the Wildcats’ 62-58 win Sunday over ASU in front of 8,480 fans at McKale Center. The win came two days after ASU prevailed 81-77 in Tempe on Friday.

Conner was the “Bang the Drum” honoree because of her pivotal performance in a game in which Shaina Pellington had only three points because of foul trouble, and she banged it 18 times with No. 6 Arizona improving to 18-4 overall and 8-4 Pac-12.

Cate Reese led Arizona with 17 points and five rebounds while Koi Love had 11 points, six rebounds and two steals.

Arizona outrebounded the Sun Devils (12-9, 4-4) by a 27-22 margin after ASU won the rebouding battle 42-27 Friday.

ASU (12-9, 4-4) scored six unanswered points to tie the game at 57 with 1:33 left.

Love, again instrumental in being an x-factor off the bench, made a layup with 1:22 remaining to put the Wildcats ahead 59-57.

The Sun Devils then committed a turnover when Katelyn Levings was ruled to step out of bounds while moving to the basket.

After Adia Barnes called a timeout with 52.3 seconds left, Reese drew a foul and made one of two free throws with 32 seconds left to give Arizona a 60-57 lead.

Koi Love and Sam Thomas made it more difficult for ASU to get rebounds this time (Andy Morales/

Bendu Yeaney corralled the offensive rebound off the miss of Reese’s second attempt and she was fouled. After Arizona inbounded the ball, the Wildcats turned it over but then Yeaney stole it right back.

Pellington made one of two free throws with 22 seconds left to put Arizona ahead 61-57.

ASU’s Mael Gilles was forced into making a turnover while defended by Love, who was fouled on the other end and made one of two free throws to increase the lead to 62-57 with 16 seconds left.

Jaddan Simmons, who led ASU with 16 points, made one of two free throws for ASU with 9 seconds left to conclude the scoring.

Gilles finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

Jade Loville, the leading scorer in the Pac-12 in conference games averaging 21.5 points, was held to only eight points with Sam Thomas blanketing her most of the game. Loville also played in foul trouble most of the game.

ASU’s biggest lead, 46-40, with 5:02 left in the third quarter was erased after Conner helped ignite an 11-3 run with a steal and layup.

Pellington and Thomas each made their first shots from the field in the game during that pivotal stretch.

Pellington made a layup with 1:19 left in the third quarter and Thomas drilled a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to give Arizona a 51-49 lead.

Neither team led by more than six points in the first half. There were seven ties with two lead changes.

After ASU took its biggest lead of the first half, 17-12, with 47 seconds left in the first quarter, Arizona went on a 10-2 run with eight of the points from Conner.

Her second 3-pointer in that stretch game Arizona a 22-19 lead with 8:29 left in the second quarter.

The Wildcats took their biggest in the half, 32-26 with 3:14 remaining in the second quarter, following consecutive layups by Reese.

ASU outscored Arizona 10-4 the remainder of the quarter capped by Levings’ last-second putback to tie the game at 36 at halftime.

Both teams managed to find scoring with each of their leading scorers on the bench with two fouls in the first half.

Pellington picked up her second foul three minutes into the game and Loville was assessed her second foul with 2:08 remaining in the first quarter.

Pellington was scoreless in six minutes and Loville had five points in 10 minutes.

Entering the game, Pellington produced scored 16.1 points a game in Pac-12 games.

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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