Arizona Women's Basketball

No. 18 Arizona Wildcats ring in new year with game at California in busy stretch

Shaina Pellington is one of five players in the Pac-12 averaging at least 13.7 points per game with a field goal percentage of at least 56.8 percent (Stephanie van Latum/Special to


The schedule-maker was not kind to Arizona but the Wildcats literally have no time to complain.

Two days after opening Pac-12 play at home against Arizona State on Thursday night with an 84-66 win, the No. 18 Wildcats (11-1, 1-0 Pac-12) play at 8 p.m. on Saturday, New Year’s Eve, at California.

Then on Monday, Adia Barnes’ team must play at No. 2 Stanford at 12:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. at Palo Alto, Calif.).

This heavy stretch, which includes games Friday and next Sunday against Oregon State and Oregon, respectively, at McKale Center, follows an eight-day holiday layoff from Dec. 21 at UT Arlington until the Wildcats played the Sun Devils.

Barnes said in the postgame that Arizona practiced in the morning on Friday before leaving for Cal. The Wildcats then shot for about 30 minutes at Cal before its team dinner before returning to the hotel.

“There’s not a lot of downtime,” Barnes added. “We’ll do a little bit of recruiting while we’re there. It’s pretty busy.”

Arizona posted its best field goal percentage of the season against the Sun Devils, shooting 55.4 percent (36 of 65) from the field.

Barnes commented that she was pleased at how selective her team was at shooting the ball. Arizona tried only seven 3-pointers, making two. The Wildcats were 34 of 58 (58.6 percent) inside the arc.

The Wildcats totaled 30 points in the third quarter, shooting 12 of 17 (70.6 percent). It was the third time this season Arizona has had 30 or more points points in a single quarter.

Symbolic of their balance all season, four Wildcats scored in double digits against Arizona State — Esmery Martinez (21 points), Shaina Pellington (14), Cate Reese (13) and Jade Loville (12). The game marks the seventh time this season which four or more Arizona players have had at least 10 points.

Reese and Loville have each totaled nine double-digit scoring games this season.

Martinez also had 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double as a Wildcat. Her 21 points came by way of a 9-of-14 field goal shooting performance. The 21 points and nine made field goals are both season highs for the senior transfer from West Virginia

Sixth-player Helena Pueyo recorded a perfect night from field against Arizona State, making all four of her shots for eight points. She additionally got four steals, two rebounds and made four assists.

Pueyo is shooting a career-best 61.1 percent (33 of 54) from the field and 41.2 percent (7 of 17) from 3-point range 12 games into this season.


– The game against Arizona State was the highest-attended of the season so far at McKale Center with 9,495 fans. That improved the average attendance to 7,288 — the best in the Pac-12. Oregon is next at 6,123. Arizona has never led the conference in attendance.


Through games of January 20, 2023
Oregon State1251,7854,315
Arizona State718,7912,684
Washington State96,606734

– The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 and ranked seventh nationally in steals per game (13.2).

– Arizona ranks 14th nationally in scoring, averaging 82.8 points per game.

– The Wildcats are 12th in the country in scoring margin at 23.4 points.

– Arizona is the lone team in the Pac-12 with four players averaging at least 11.9 points per game — Shaina Pellington (13.7), Jade Loville (12.8), Esmery Martinez (12.7) and Cate Reese (12.1).

– Loville is tied for the best 3-point percentage in the Pac-12 and ranks ninth nationally, making 50 percent of her shots from behind the arc.

– Martinez ranks third in the conference in rebounds per game at 9.8 and leads the league in offensive rebounds with 45. She is one of two players in the Pac-12 and 24 players nationally averaging at least 12. points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

– Pellington is one of five players in the conference averaging at least 13.7 points per game with a field goal percentage of at least 56.8 percent. She has attempted only six 3-pointers without making any. Her free-throw percentage needs improvement with how many times she goes to the line — 29 of 48 (60.4 percent).

– Helena Pueyo is tied for first in the Pac-12 in steals per game with 2.5.


– In the 90-69 loss at No. 2 Stanford on Dec. 23, Cal’s Jayda Curry led three Bears in double-figure scoring with 20 points (18 in the second half) including three 3-pointers, followed by Leilani McIntosh’s 17 and Evelien Lutje-Schipholt’s 13. Cal shot 43.9 percent from 3-point range, the highest percentage allowed by Stanford, which ranks 10th nationally in field goal defense. The Golden Bears held Stanford to just 29.2 percent from 3-point range, its fourth lowest percentage of the season. The Cardinal rank 27th nationally in 3-point percentage. The 69 points the Bears put up were the third highest total allowed by the Cardinal all season.

– Cal is averaging 75.5 points per game (56th in the country), the highest average in program history since the 1999-00 season.

– Through 12 games, the Bears have done a great job distributing the ball, while keeping turnovers low. Nationally, they are 49th in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.11), 61st in assists per game (15.9) and 60th in fewest turnovers per game (14.2).

– With three 3-pointers against Stanford, Curry kept her streak of consecutive regular season games with at least one 3-pointer going at 34 games. Her streak is the longest among all active Pac-12 players and is tied for the third longest streak of any Pac-12 player since the 1999-00 season.

– Curry ranks second among all sophomores in the Pac-12 in scoring (15.8) and 17th nationally. She is averaging 19.3 points per game over her last four games.

– Lutje-Schipholt leads the team in rebounding at 6.1 per game and ranks third in scoring at 10.3 points per game, which is a career-high and the first season she is averaging double-digit scoring. She has pulled down 37 of her 73 rebounds on the offensive end, which ranks fifth in the Pac-12 and 73rd nationally. Her 50.1 offensive rebounding percentage ranks second in the Pac-12 among the top 40 rebounders.

– McIntosh is shooting a career-high 50.0 percent from 3-point range, ranking first in the Pac-12, a significant improvement from last season’s 36.2 percent. She is one of only two players in the Pac-12 shooting at least 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep.

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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