Arizona’s losing streak at Maples Pavilion reached 20 games over the last 22 years with No. 2 Stanford taking advantage of its size inside to come away with a 73-57 victory Monday.
The much more-active Cardinal outrebounded No. 15 Arizona 53-33, including 23 offensive rebounds that led to 20 second-chance points.
Stanford also took 34 free throws compared to nine for the Wildcats (12-2, 2-1 Pac-12).
The Cardinal (15-1, 3-0) made 20 free throws compared to seven for Arizona, which at times looked lethargic playing its third game in only five days.
Asked during the Varsity Network postgame show if the Wildcats can take a moral victory from the game losing by 16 points when a rout seemed imminent after Stanford took a 19-point lead early in the second half, Arizona coach Adia Barnes said, “No … not at all.”
“I think it was a tough week. It’s a tough place to play the third game in five days, but that’s not an excuse. As players, you’re used to playing AAU, you should want to play. I just think some of our effort and execution of the game plan was very poor.”
Part of that game plan was trying to trap Stanford into turnovers. The Cardinal had 17 turnovers but only 12 after the first three minutes of the game. Opponents were averaging 21.3 turnovers entering the game.
“We were a step slow, a day late and a dollar short,” Barnes said about creating those traps.
Barnes, who is now 0-10 at Maples Pavilion as a player and coach at Arizona, also lamented her team’s transition defense and being able to rebound after Stanford’s misses.
“Not consistently doing the things we normally do, that hurt us,” she said. “They got at least probably eight to 10 free-throw rebounds. Those are just effort things, getting outhustled, muscled … I think they were playing really strong inside and we were fading on everything. It’s hard to win in those situations.”
Arizona, which last won at Stanford in the 2000-01 season, actually matched the Cardinal in field goals made — 24 — and the Wildcats shot 37.5 percent from the field compared to Stanford’s 38.7 percent.
It is the first time Arizona (12-2) has shot less than 40 percent from the field this season.
Arizona appeared to be in good shape early, taking a 6-0 lead after Stanford committed five turnovers and All-American guard Haley Jones was whistled for two fouls.
After those first three minutes of the game, it was all Stanford.
The Cardinal had four players with at least 12 points — Jones (18 points with 17 rebounds), Francesca Belibi (14 points with 10 rebounds), Hannah Jump (13 points on 4-of-13 shooting, all from 3-point range) and Cameron Brink (12 points and six rebounds).
Jones, Belibi, Jump and Brink are at least 6-feet tall with lengthy arm spans with Brink towering inside at 6-4. Tara VanDerveer also starts 6-3 Kiki Irafen, who had eight points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field.
Arizona has three comparable players, but one is 6-4 true freshman Maya Nnaji, who played 17 minutes.
Cate Reese (6-foot-2) and Esmery Martinez (6-2) were outnumbered. They combined for 12 points on 6-of-19 shooting from the field with only six rebounds. Neither attempted a free throw.
Madison Conner and Helena Pueyo came off the bench to each score 10 points. Conner was 3 of 4 from the field and 3 of 3 from the free-throw line and Pueyo led the Wildcats with six rebounds and four steals.
Arizona’s leading scorer, Shaina Pellington (13.5 points a game entering Monday), was held to five points while taking just five shots in 21 minutes.
Her backup, freshman Kailyn Gilbert, had four fouls in eight minutes of playing time.
Martinez had a season-low three rebounds and Reese’s four points are her lowest of the season, breaking a six-game streak of double-digit scoring.
Jade Loville led the Wildcats with 12 points but struggled from the field, shooting 4 of 12.
“We were not able to execute offensively,” Barnes said. “I think that not understanding what we’re running, coming out of a timeout … you can’t have a lack of execution against a good team.”
Arizona next hosts Oregon State on Friday at 6 p.m. and Oregon on Sunday at 5 p.m. The game against the Beavers is on Pac-12 Networks. ESPN2 is televising the game against the Ducks.
Arizona leads the Pac-12 in attendance heading into next weekend’s games:
2022-23 PAC-12 WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ATTENDANCESOURCE: PAC-12
Through games of January 20, 2023
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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.