Arizona’s first Final Four trip and subsequent game in the national championship appearance against Stanford in April will be celebrated on Monday night at McKale Center when the Wildcats play Texas Southern.
A Final Four banner signifying the Wildcats’ historic trip to San Antonio will be revealed. Tipoff is at 6:30 p.m.
“Hoping to see everyone there as it is the game we will be raising our banner for making it to the Final Four. You won’t want to miss it!” Sam Thomas wrote in her most recent SAM’S CORNER column.
Arizona is off to a 2-0 start after Friday’s 61-59 overtime win over perennial power Louisville at Sioux Falls, S.D. The Wildcats believe that was a statement win because of their No. 22 ranking in the AP Top 25 poll coming off the national championship loss to Stanford.
“There’s a lot of promise so I’ve always been optimistic,” Adia Barnes said. “Everybody always doubts Arizona. I don’t know if it’s me. Maybe it’s me, but they always doubt what we do. I think we’re pretty good. I think that we just earned some respect (beating Louisville) and I like that. I don’t mind being the underdog.”
The Wildcats have won 12 of their last 13 games at McKale Center dating to last year’s 11-1 mark. They defeated Cal State Northridge 87-44 in the season opener last Tuesday.
Barnes’ team also plays Friday at home against Marist at 6:30 p.m. before having nearly a week off until traveling to the Paradise Jam at the Virgin Islands where the Wildcats will play Vanderbilt, DePaul and Rutgers from Nov. 25-27.
Cate Reese leads the Wildcats averaging 17.5 points a game while shooting 50 percent from the field (12 of 24) and from 3-point range (4 of 8).
Freshman post player Aaronette Vonleh did not play against Louisville after scoring 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field against Northridge.
Aariyah Copeland and Lauren Ware are each averaging 7.0 rebounds after the first two games. The two frontcourt players have also combined to average 16.5 points while shooting 15 of 23 (65.2 percent) from the field.
Bendu Yeaney has the green light taking 19 shots so far while making six (31.6 percent) including 1 of 6 from 3-point range. The one 3-pointer made was significant coming in the overtime period against Louisville.
Shaina Pellington leads Arizona averaging 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game.
Oregon transfer Taylor Chavez of Valley Vista High School has yet to make a shot (0-of-7 start) in the first two games while averaging 18.4 minutes. She does have five assists. Look for her to get uncorked at McKale Center this week.
Texas Southern is 0-1 with a 114-71 loss at DePaul last Tuesday after committing 25 turnovers and shooting 37.7 percent from the field, 15 percent (3 of 20) from 3-point range. DePaul shot 67.6 percent from the field, 7 of 12 (58.3 percent) from beyond the arc.
The Tigers’ leading scorer of the 2020-21 season also led the season opener in points as Ataiya Bridges scored 27 points with four rebounds and four steals. Alisa Knight followed with 13 points, three rebounds and three steals. Jada Perry had 11 points and seven rebounds. Ashley Austin dished out six assists.