Arizona Women's Basketball

Arizona seeks to avenge loss to Oregon while taking over Pac-12 attendance lead

If you don’t know the highly competitive nature of Adia Barnes by now, just know being second in anything does not sit well with her.

Her team finished second in the nation last year, essentially, and although the March Madness run to the national championship game was glorious, among Barnes’ first words in the postgame press conference were, “Against great teams like Stanford, we have to be better at the small things. It never comes down to the last shot.”

We have to be better.

The heated rivalry between her eighth-ranked team and No. 19 Oregon has many subplots in which Barnes does not want to be second in anything to the Ducks and adversary Kelly Graves.

The teams meet on Friday at 8 p.m. at McKale Center three weeks after the Ducks defeated Arizona 68-66 in overtime at Eugene, Ore., in an intense game in a hostile environment with animosity reportedly occurring between Barnes and Graves after the game.

The game, dubbed as a “White Out,” encouraging fans to wear white t-shirts, will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network and broadcast live by KTUC (1400-AM).

Pac-12 Women's Basketball Attendance

Entering games of Feb. 26, 2022. In order for Arizona to pass Oregon, a crowd of at least 9,608 would have to attend today's regular-season finale against USC at noon.
Oregon State1148,6464,422
Arizona State1335,4242,725
Washington State1310,874836

The attendance at Matthew Knight Arena for the game three weeeks ago was 7,944.

Barnes wants so much more than that for the rematch at McKale Center, where the Wildcats have won 13 consecutive games.

Arizona presently is second — there’s that word again — to Oregon in average attendance among Pac-12 teams.

Graves’ program is averaging 7,609 fans a game in 11 games while Arizona is at 7,088 in eight games.

If Arizona attracts a crowd of at least 11,787 for the game, the Wildcats will pass the Ducks in average attendance. That number would increase Arizona’s average to exactly 7,610 fans a game.

Arizona athletics posted a tweet on Thursday — the day of Barnes’ 45th birthday — mentioning, “We heard the only thing Adia wants for her birthday is 10,000 fans tomorrow at McKale.”

Barnes responded, “Well, I actually want 12,000.”

As of Friday morning, 10,000 tickets was reached, according to a tweet by Barnes.

A large walkup crowd should put the attendance past the desired 11,787 mark and potentially make the game close to a sellout at the 14,454-seat arena.

The subplots of the rivalry go way beyond Arizona falling short at Eugene after the Wildcats led by 17 in the third quarter.

Arizona finished second (again, that word) to Oregon for the services of point guard Endyia Rogers when she transferred from USC last summer. Rogers made the winning shot against Arizona three weeks ago.

Former Arizona assistant coach Jackie Nared Hairston chose leave Barnes’ staff after last season to return to Oregon.

The Ducks have also owned the overall series against Arizona before the Wildcats swept them last season. Oregon won 10 straight games against Arizona with Graves as coach before last season. The Ducks are 4-1 against Arizona in the last five games at McKale Center. The Wildcats will attempt Friday to beat Oregon in consecutive games at McKale for the first time in nine seasons.

In Barnes’ favor: Last year’s sweep and Arizona reserve guard Taylor Chavez transferred to her program from Oregon.


Arizona — Adia Barnes achieved her 100th win at Arizona last month in her sixth season at her alma mater. Her record is 104-69 (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. Barnes trails only Bonvicini for the most wins in Arizona history. Bonvicini was 287-223 from 1991-2008.

Oregon — Kelly Graves is 184-68 in his eighth season at Oregon and is 566-230 in his 25th season (14 seasons at Gonzaga after three years at St. Mary’s). Graves coached Oregon to the Final Four in 2018-19 after the Ducks advanced to consecutive Elite Eight games. He also coached Gonzaga to the Elite Eight in 2010-11.


Sam Thomas is a torrid 17-of-24 ( .708) from 3-point range in her last five games. She made her only attempt from beyond the arc in the loss at Stanford on Sunday. In the first 13 games of the season before the recent stretch, she was 17 of 45 (.377) from 3-point range. She is the fourth Arizona player to reach 200 3-pointers in a career behind Lisa Griffith (285), Davellyn White (274) and Aimee Grzyb (208). Thomas has 205.

Shaina Pellington is averaging 16.5 points in Pac-12 game while shooting a phenomenal 53.7 percent from the field. Her ability to penetrate and score opens Arizona’s offense for her teammates, and Thomas and Cate Reese have benefitted greatly.

— Reese is averaging 17.1 points and 6.9 rebounds a game in Pac-12 games. She achieved her 19th career double-double — tied for fourth-most in program history — last week with 12 points and 10 rebounds against UCLA.

— Oregon is coming off an 8-1 record in January in which the Ducks forced 18.4 turnovers a game and produced 11.4 steals per game.

Sedona Prince fueled Oregon’s rally against Arizona in the previous matchup scoring 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter with a pair of blocked shots. She leads the Ducks with 21 blocked shots.


Te-Hina Paopao, Endyia Rogers and Nyara Sabally combine to average 44.6 points per game, including 47.1 in the eight games since all three rejoined the lineup following injuries. They are the only trio of teammates in the Pac-12 averaging at least 14.0 points per game in conference play, as Sabally ranks second in the league at 18.6 while Paopao is 10th at 15.3 and Rogers is 12th at 14.9. One of those three have led the team in scoring in each of the last nine games while all three have turned in multiple 20-point games since the start of January.

— Entering this weekend’s games, Oregon led the Pac-12 shooting 46.3 percent from the field while also being at 13th nationally.

— Paopao, a niece of former Arizona football standout Joe Salave’a, had a career-high 24 points against Arizona in Eugene. She reached the 20-point mark in three straight games against Cal (21), Arizona (24) and UConn (22) after posting 20 points in just one career game prior to that stretch.

— Arizona has forced 15 or more turnovers in 16 of 18 games this season and have forced at least 22 turnovers five times.

Helena Pueyo ranks second in the Pac-12 with 2.2 steals per game while Bendu Yeaney is ninth (1.8).

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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top