Arizona Women's Basketball

No. 7 Arizona visits Oregon State team playing for first time since Dec. 19


The last time Oregon State played a game was on Dec. 19, a long 25 days ago, and that game, a 70-59 win over Northern Iowa, was in Hawaii in a holiday tournament.

The Beavers (7-3) will play for the first time since Dec. 1 at Gill Coliseum on Thursday when they host No. 7 Arizona (11-1, 1-1 Pac-12).

Scott Rueck’s program has endured five consecutive cancellations and postponements because of COVID-19 protocol leading up to the game against the Wildcats, who are coming off their first loss of the season in a rescheduled game at USC on Sunday.

“Right now, I’m hopeful for close to a full team Thursday night,” Rueck told media who cover Oregon State.

Helena Pueyo is slated to start at point guard for the third consecutive game when Arizona plays at Oregon State on Thursday night (Andy Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

The first three games impacted by COVID-19 — North Carolina Central, Colorado and Utah — were from issuies within those programs. Oregon State’s games at California and Stanford last week were postponed because of the Beavers having multiple players unavailable.

“We were going to the Bay last week and we had weathered the disappointment of not getting to open at home in conference with Colorado and Utah,” Rueck said. “Everything was great then all of a sudden symptoms were arising and next thing you know we’re out, just like that. Overnight.”

Arizona is scheduled to play at Oregon on Saturday. The Ducks’ game against ASU tonight has been postponed as has the Beavers’ game Saturday with the Sun Devils because COVID-19 problems within Charli Turner-Thorne’s program.

An interesting aspect of Arizona’s games at the Oregon schools is the Wildcats are going as a top 10 team and the Beavers and Ducks are unranked. In past years, the roles were reversed.

Barnes updated the status of point guard Shaina Pellington (undisclosed) and Lauren Ware (knee) as being out for Thursday’s game and also potentially Saturday. Helena Pueyo and Ariyah Copeland have started in their place.

Pellington missed last week’s games against Washington State and USC. Ware has missed the last four games after suffering a dislocated left knee Dec. 9 against North Dakota State.

Barnes said of Ware’s injury, “Structurally, her knee is fine.”

“I didn’t feel the need to rush her back,” Barnes said about Ware. “And then we were on pause so why rush her back? For me, I’m looking at the big picture and long term so instead of having her come back in two weeks, we had that pause which gave her another three weeks. So for now she’s not ready to come back, but I’ll bring her back as soon as I feel that she’s in better shape. I’m not going to bring her back when she’s not in shape.”

Arizona as a team will look to get back in shape overall with their execution after struggling on both ends of the court against USC.

“I think you saw on Friday (against Washington State), we were tired, but just getting back in rhythm,” Barnes said about the fact that Arizona went three weeks without a game, a similar challenge as Oregon State. “And then you saw on Sunday, we were completely exhausted. Not an excuse, because USC just traveled to Colorado, but it takes I think a month or three weeks to get back into the game shape.”

COACHES

Arizona — Adia Barnes achieved her 100th win at Arizona last week in her sixth season at her alma mater. Her record is 100-67 (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. With three more wins, Barnes will trail only Bonvicini for the most wins in Arizona history. Bonvicini was 287-223 from 1991-2008 and Niya Butts was 102-147 from 2008-16.

Oregon State — Scott Rueck is in his 12th season with the Beavers with a record of 247-116. He coached the Beavers to the Final Four in 2015-16 and the Elite Eight in 2017-18. He is 535-204 overall including 14 years as the head coach at George Fox University in Newberg, Ore. Rueck is an Oregon State alum.

WHEN ARIZONA HAS THE BALL

— Arizona senior forward Sam Thomas leads the Pac-12 with a 4.1 assist/turnover ratio (33 assists and eight turnovers) while Helena Pueyo, starting at point guard in Shaina Pellington’s absence, is fourth (3.0, with 33 assists and 11 turnovers).

— The Wildcats rank second in the Pac-12 with 16.9 assists per game and third in field goal percentage (45.5).

Cate Reese is now No. 9 on the Arizona career scoring list with 1,335 points after scoring 29 points at USC.

Arizona Career Scoring Leaders

 PlayerYearsGamesPoints
1.Adia Barnes1994-981212,237
2.Davellyn Whyte2009-131262,059
3.Aari McDonald2018-21932,041
4.Dee-Dee Wheeler2001-051241,966
5.Ify Ibekwe2007-111161,653
6.Elizabeth Pickney1999-021211,620
7.Shawntinice Polk2003-05941,467
8.Ashley Whisonant2005-081221.451
9.Cate Reese2018-221071,335
10.Timi Brown1987-911141,315

— Oregon State is fourth in the nation and first in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin at 13.9 per game. The Beavers are second in the nation in defensive rebounds per game with 33.2. Kennedy Brown leads the Pac-12 with 8.7 rebounds a game.

— The Beavers are third in the nation in blocks per game at 7.0. Four different players have at least 10 blocks — Taya Corosdale (14), Brown (13), Talia von Oelhoffen (10) and Taylor Jones (10).

WHEN OREGON STATE HAS THE BALL

— Jones leads the Pac-12 and is third in the nation in shooting percentage at 64.9 percent. She has 17 career double-doubles.

— Von Oelhoffen, who joined Oregon State at midseason last year as a freshman similar to Madison Conner at Arizona, has scored at least 18 points in eight of her last 18 games. She is averaging 12.3 points per game over her 21-game collegiate career.

— As of Wednesday, Arizona ranked 10th nationally in field goal percentage defense (34.1), 12th in scoring defense (52.1), 13th in blocked shots per game (5.9) and 18th in steals per game (12.2).

Bendu Yeaney is tied for the Pac-12 lead with 2.3 steals per game. She has 27 steals. Helena Pueyo is fifth at 2.1 totaling 25. Arizona is tied atop the Pac-12 with Colorado at 12.3 steals per game.

— Thomas’ 186 blocked shots in 137 games ranks second in Arizona history behind the late Shawntinice Polk, who had 222 blocked shots in 94 games from 2003-05. Thomas is also No. 5 in steals with 237. She did not record a steal against USC.

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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

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