Arizona won four straight games coming into Friday night’s matchup with Washington State, with its last loss taking place against the Cougars in a 71-69 overtime game in which the Wildcats had a 16-point lead.
Arizona played in another gritty contest and struggled to find the bottom of the net, yet found a way to secure a 60-51 victory against the Cougars on Friday night at McKale Center.
Sweet revenge. pic.twitter.com/daEtyq0YNb
— Arizona Women’s Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) February 13, 2021
Both teams struggled to shoot the ball, with Arizona going 22-for-66 from the field. Washington State was a little better, going 19-for-50. The teams combined for field goal percentage of .350 for the game.
Arizona found a way to win this game in large part to its rebounding effort. The Wildcats outrebounded Washington State 43-35, which led to 12 second-chance points and 36 points in the paint for Adia Barnes‘ team.
In a game where offense came at a premium, Arizona forward Cate Reese led the way with 17 points on 5-for-14 shooting while collecting six rebounds and an assist in 32 minutes.
Star guard Aari McDonald struggled mightily to find her rhythm after scoring the team’s first seven points of the game. She ended with 14 points going 5-for-21 from the field while gathering five rebounds, three assists, and three steals in 34 minutes.
This makes two straight games in which McDonald has struggled to find her touch, going a combined 9-for-37 and 2-for-9 from beyond the arc. Still, the team has managed to win both games in which she has gone ice cold.
The unsung hero of the game was guard Helena Pueyo, who had her hands all over the court. Although Pueyo finished with just three points, she made her impact by leading the team in rebounds with nine and managed to cause havoc defensively, stealing the ball four times in 29 minutes.
Here are Thomas and Pueyo talking about the team’s gritty win and discussing why it was so difficult to find a groove on offense:
On defense, Arizona forced Washington State into 20 turnovers to its nine and had 15 points off the Cougars’ turnovers. This is the fifth straight home game in which the Wildcats forced more turnovers than allowed field goals made.
Arizona was lights out from the foul line going 14-for-17, while Washington State couldn’t find a way to get to the line with only seven attempts for the game.
Here’s Barnes talking about what went wrong in the third quarter and how her team was able to overcome a quiet shooting night:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.