Oregon State and Oregon came to Tucson two seasons ago each ranked in among the top three teams in the nation and swept Arizona for the fourth consecutive year at McKale Center.
The Beavers were No. 3 and the Ducks No. 2.
The 71-64 loss to the Ducks and Sabrina Ionescu was Arizona’s eighth straight loss to the Ducks (Kelly Graves’ team would extend it to 10 games by winning at Eugene, Ore., and in the Pac-12 tournament later that season).
The Beavers ran their winning streak over Arizona to 12 games with their 63-61 escape at McKale Center two years ago. That followed a double-overtime win over Adia Barnes’ team the previous season in Tucson.
“We’re not quite there,” Barnes said after the loss to Oregon two years ago at McKale. “We’re close, but they are the better team.”
Arizona is there now.
The Wildcats have won three of the last four meetings against Oregon, including Friday’s 63-48 win over the Ducks in front of a regular-season crowd record of 10,413.
Barnes’ team has won its last three games against Oregon State. The Wildcats beat the Beavers in Corvallis, Ore., in overtime two years ago after the loss in Tucson. The win was Arizona’s first in program history over a top 10 team on the road.
Pac-12 Women's Basketball AttendanceEntering 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.
When I asked Barnes of her thoughts about turning the tables on Oregon in the last two years, she mentioned that “they had Sabrina and three top five draft picks (including Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally).”
“I think everybody lost to them for a while, but yeah, they were better,” she added. “When I got the team we were like 300 in the RPI six years ago. We were in a different place and I think now we’re in a different place.
“Back then, they had three all-stars. If you look at our team, we don’t have an all-star. We have good players. If you look at the top-10 teams, everybody has an All-American … We have good players but we don’t have one person that’s a go-to … Last year, Aari (McDonald), you know every single time we need a basket, we’re going to Aari. This year, Shaina’s (Shaina Pellington) been stepping up but we’re evolving and we can go to different people. I like that because it’s harder to guard.”
Arizona does not have the All-American that McDonald was, of course, but Cate Reese, averaging 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game, is certainly destined to be a three-time All-Pac-12 pick. She is enjoying her best individual season. By next season, which will be her fifth at Arizona, the Wildcats’ first McDonald’s All-American should garner All-American attention, especially as an honorable mention.
The Wildcats will go for their 15th straight win at McKale Center today and 10th in a row this season when the play Oregon State at noon (Pac-12 Network/KTUC (1400-AM).
Arizona’s longest winning streak at McKale Center is 34 games from Nov. 30, 2002 to Jan. 7, 2005 under Joan Bonvicini.
Arizona will also try to beat Oregon State for the fourth straight time, a feat that has not been accomplished since the Wildcats won five straight over the Beavers from 2010 to 2012.
Arizona has gone from losing 10 straight games to Oregon to winning three of the last four meetings. Adia Barnes said Arizona’s “evolving” and is “less predictable” to make that turnaround possible. pic.twitter.com/tWF2AddCG3
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) February 5, 2022
Arizona — Adia Barnes achieved her 100th win at Arizona last month in her sixth season at her alma mater. Her record is 105-69 (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 State — Scott Rueck, an Oregon State alum, is in his 12th season with the Beavers with a record of 251-119. He coached the Beavers to the Final Four in 2015-16 and the Elite Eight in 2017-18. He is 539-207 overall in 25 years including 14 years as the head coach at George Fox University in Newberg, Ore. Oregon State announced on Friday that Rueck has signed a contract extension running through the 2030-31 season.
WHEN ARIZONA HAS THE BALL
— Sam Thomas cooled down with her 3-point shooting a bit with a 1-of-4 performance against Oregon on Friday. She is still at 18-of-28 ( .643) from 3-point range in her last six games. 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 206.
— Thomas’ recent surge and the consistent shooting of Helena Pueyo and Madison Conner from beyond the arc has pushed Arizona to the Pac-12 lead with a .367 shooting percentage from 3-point range.
— Pueyo leads the league with a 4.0 assist/turnover ratio while Thomas ranks second (3.1).
— Oregon State is 18th in the nation and second in the Pac-12 in rebounding margin at 8.5 per game. The Beavers are second in the nation in defensive rebounds per game with 31.5.
— Oregon State is also seventh in the nation in blocked shots per game (6.1). The Beavers block 14.2 percent of their opponents field goal attempts, good for eighth in the nation. Five players have at least 10 blocked shots led by Kennedy Brown’s 22.
WHEN OREGON STATE HAS THE BALL
— Talia von Oelhoffen is Oregon State’s catalyst averaging 14.8 points a game as a second-year freshman (extra year of eligibility created because of COVID-19 restrictions last year). She scored a combined 52 points against the Los Angeles schools last weekend. She had 16 points and four assists in the Beavers’ 67-57 loss at Arizona State on Friday.
— Te’a Adams has started Oregon State’s last seven games and she reached 1,000 career points Friday. She is a graduate transfer from San Diego State who is averaging 3.6 points a game.
— Arizona has forced 16 or more turnovers in 17 of 19 games this season and have forced at least 22 turnovers five times. In the previous meeting last month, Oregon State had 17 turnovers.
— Helena Pueyo ranks third in the Pac-12 with 2.1 steals per game while Bendu Yeaney is 10th at 1.7. Pueyo had four steals against the Beavers last month.
— Arizona boasts the top scoring defense in the Pac-12 allowing only 55.4 points a game.
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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