Arizona Women's Basketball

Arizona opens Pac-12 tournament against Colorado in quarterfinals

Arizona tips off against Colorado at 1 p.m. in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinal game at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Pac-12 Network will broadcast live. The game is also live on radio at KTUC 1400-AM with Brody Dryden calling the action.

Colorado beat Washington 64-52 on Wednesday in an opening round game of the Pac-12 tournament — earning the right to face Arizona in the quarterfinals Thursday — but the Buffaloes’ win may have been costly with guard Tameiya Sadler suffering an injury.

Late in the game against Washington, Sadler collided with teammate Peanut Tuitele and fell to the floor and remained there for several minutes before she was placed on a stretcher. She left Michelob Ultra Arena in an ambulance.

Colorado (21-7) did not provide details on Sadler’s injury. She has suffered from back problems before. She was kept overnight at a local hospital for observation.

“I just would like everyone to keep Tameiya Sadler in their prayers,” Colorado coach JR Payne said. “She is with her dad and our trainer, and she’s getting great care. But if you’re the praying sort, please remember Tam because she’s a very special part of our family and we know that she’ll be back on the floor soon.”

Bendu Yeaney tries to maneuver around a Colorado player (Arizona Athletics photo)

Sadler is a key role player for Payne averaging 5.0 points and 2.1 rebounds a game. She also has 25 assists, 33 steals and eight blocked shots.

Colorado led by three at the time of Sadler’s injury. It seemed as though the Buffaloes rallied for her to win their fifth straight game and seventh out of the last eight games.

The Buffs missed their first shot when play resumed, but a Frida Formann 3-pointer with 1:52 left helped continue the Colorado run and bring energy back to the Buffaloes. The Buffs nearly shut out Washington after the pause, giving up only one point at the free-throw line. 

Four different Buffaloes scored in the 12-1 run to close the victory.

Colorado had less than 24 hours to prepare for Arizona (20-6) after the win over Washington. Arizona is expected to play its third game without injured three-time All-Pac-12 first-team pick Cate Reese, who suffered a dislocated right shoulder at Washington State two weeks ago.

Payne said Colorado will prepare “as if Reese will play.”

“Until the ball goes up on the opening tip and if she’s not out there then we’ll believe it,” Payne said. “But I mean, Arizona is a great team. They are a very balanced team. Cate Reese is a great player for them, but they have a lot of weapons, and they pose a lot of problems for most teams.“

Arizona’s lone game with Colorado during the regular sesaon was a 75-56 win at McKale Center on Jan. 23. Arizona trailed the Buffaloes by 12 points early in that game.

Shaina Pellington had 28 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the field in that game. Reese added 23 points and nine rebounds. Arizona shot 53.6 percent from the field.

“We only played them one time this year so that’s a little bit of a different preparation,” Payne said. “We love the opportunity to play against a great team like Arizona and feel like it’ll be two very good teams that play.”


Arizona — Adia Barnes achieved her 100th win at Arizona in January in her sixth season at her alma mater. Her record is 109-72 (which is also her career mark). She is 89-32 (.735) since starting 20-40 in her first two seasons of rebuilding the program.

Colorado — Payne is also in her sixth season at Colorado and she has a record of 93-82 at the school. Payne is 194-195 overall in her 13th year as a head coach. She was 67-86 at Southern Utah from 2009-14 and 34-27 at Santa Clara in 2014-15 and 2015-16. She has yet to coach a team to the NCAA tournament but has four WNIT appearances (two with Colorado in 2016-17 and last season).


— The loss of Cate Reese to a separated shoulder two weeks ago showed its ill-effects on Arizona’s offensive execution in the 64-46 loss against UCLA and early in the 68-59 win over USC last week at McKale Center. Barnes needed a catalyst to try to fill the void of Reese’s 15.7 points a game in Pac-12 games. Taylor Chavez picked a fine time to have her best game in an Arizona uniform since transferring from Oregon. She finished with a season-high 18 points while making five 3-pointers against USC. Look for Chavez to get a considerable amount of playing time Thursday after playing 17 minutes against USC.

Sam Thomas is returning to her Las Vegas home and Barnes hopes her homecoming brings the best out of her. Thomas is third in the Pac-12 in three-point percentage, shooting a career-high 44.9 percent. The current single-season record for three-point percentage Is 44.2 percent by former Willcox standout Shawn Coder in 1993-94.

— Arizona must cause havoc on defense to generate its offense in transition. The Wildcats forced only 14 turnovers against UCLA but 21 against USC. Arizona thrives most when that number is close to at least 20. It had only six fast-break points against UCLA and 22 against the Trojans.

Kendyll Wetta’s 59 steals this season are the most by a Colorado freshman since Laurie Welch’s 61 in 1978-79. She passed Chucky Jeffery (58) for fifth on Colorado’s freshman leaders list. She is also the first Colorado player to be on the Pac-12’s All-Freshman Team and All-Defensive Team.

Mya Hollingshed is crucial in not allowing Arizona second chances. She had six defensive rebounds and 12 overall against Washington on Thursday.


— Hollingshed is the only Pac-12 player to lead the her team in points (14.4 a game), rebounding (7.4) and 3-point shooting (39.7 percent).

— Colorado averages 32.2 points in the paint this season. The team has scored 30-plus points in the paint 17 games this season.

Jaylyn Sherrod (108 assists and 56 turnovers) and Wetta (80 assists and 38 turnovers) do a good job of taking care of the ball.

— Arizona ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (57.3 points a game) and steals (10.5). Colorado is No. 1 allowing 56.8 points a game.

— The Wildcats rank first in the Pac-12 forcing 18.9 turnovers per game. It has forced at least 20 turnovers 10 times this season. Colorado is second forcing 18.8 turnovers a game.

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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