Arizona Women's Basketball

No. 12 Arizona suffers 64-46 loss to UCLA without injured Cate Reese

Arizona could not find a rhythm on offense and a pulse with its defense and rebounding against UCLA on Thursday night without injured leader Cate Reese, known for her spirited play and screams.

Reese had her right arm in a sling sitting on the bench after suffering a dislocated shoulder at Washington State on Sunday. Taylor Chavez also did not play because she and Adia Barnes mutually agreed for her to not play but return Saturday against USC, Barnes said.

The Wildcats lost 64-46 to a struggling UCLA team that came into the game on a three-game losing streak. Indicative of Arizona’s lackluster play, the Bruins (12-11, 7-7 Pac-12) outrebounded the Wildcats 48-26 and outscored them 36-20 in the paint.

The defeat, in front of 8,067 at McKale Center, snaps a 17-game home winning streak for Arizona dating to last season.

The loss for Arizona (19-6, 9-6) adversely affects the Wildcats finishing with the No. 2 seed for the Pac-12 tournament and a chance to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Arizona is No. 3 in the Pac-12 standings behind Stanford (23-3, 14-0) and Washington State (18-8, 10-5). The Cardinal and Cougars play late Thursday night (9 p.m. tip, Tucson time). A No. 2 seed would mean not playing Stanford until the Pac-12 tournament championship if the Wildcats make it that far.

Koi Love started in Reese’s place and finished scoreless, missing her four shots from the field.

Ariyah Copeland entered the game as a reserve — her first game since Feb. 4 after suffering from migraines — and she did not show signs of rust. Her six points and five rebounds in the first half were crucial to Arizona’s inside presence with Reese out.

Copeland did not score in the second half, however, in six minutes.

UCLA, led by 16 points each from Charisma Osborne and Ilmar’l Thomas, took control of the game outscoring Arizona 14-4 between the third and fourth quarters to build a 52-37 lead with 7:46 left.

The Wildcats, who made 16.7 percent of their shots from the field in the second half, could not come closer than 12 points the rest of the fourth quarter. They were 5 of 30 from the field after halftime.

They missed their last 10 shots from the field, a stretch of the final 5:15.

“It’s kind of tough to run the offense if you don’t know the plays,” Bendu Yeaney explained of Arizona having trouble getting a clean shot off before the shot clock expired.

Barnes mentioned of her team’s lack of spacing on offense and cutters getting in the way of ballhandlers, “It looked like the Bad News Bears out there. It looks like we don’t work on offense at all. Those are the things we practice. We simulate the defense in practice.”

UCLA had 16 offensive rebounds to Arizona’s 10 and the Bruins outscored the Wildcats 20-9 in second-chance points.

Arizona trailed by nine points at two different times in the first half, and rallied back each time but did not take the lead.

The Wildcats were behind 15-6 with 2:23 left in the first quarter before Sam Thomas made a jumper and Madison Conner swished a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 15-11 heading into the second quarter.

UCLA went on a 9-2 run to take a 26-17 lead with 4:52 remaining in the second quarter.

Arizona responded with a 10-2 run to close the first half.

Shaina Pellington, who had eight points in the second quarter, scored two transition baskets in the closing run. She had 10 points in the first half. She led Arizona with 14 points.

Yeaney was the only other scorer in double figures for Arizona with 10 points but shot 2 of 8 from the field.

Sam Thomas was limited to two points on three shots from the field. She also had only one steal and no blocked shots.

Thomas and Copeland will play their last regular-season game at McKale on Saturday at noon when the Wildcats host USC.

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.

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