Arizona Women's Basketball

Former Arizona starter Bendu Yeaney returns to McKale Center with Oregon State


Former Arizona starter Bendu Yeaney returns to McKale Center for the first time with Oregon State on Friday night (Oregon State Athletics)

Bendu Yeaney’s stat line in Oregon State’s win over No. 12 UCLA on Sunday indicates how well she has fit into the Beavers’ system while playing back in her home state after a two-year run with Arizona that included playing in the 2021 national title game.

Yeaney, who started 53 games for the Wildcats, had 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Beavers in their 77-72 win over the visiting Bruins on Sunday.

The separation of the Portland, Ore., native from Arizona’s program and coach Adia Barnes was amicable with Barnes understanding that her former defensive ace at guard wanted to close out her college career playing in front of family and friends.

He older brother Jonathan Dunbar was shot to death in early October, so her move to be closer to home eventually meant she could be with her family during this difficult time.

“I think everything happens for a reason and God works in mysterious ways to do things to put you in the right place at the right time,” Barnes said during her weekly press conference. “So, I think for her that was what she needed. To go home and play near home for the first time in a long time in her career.”

Yeaney was received well by Arizona fans after her transfer from Indiana in 2020 because of her energy and hustle, especially on defense.

She told The Arizona Daily Star’s P.J. Brown that “I’m always going to be a Wildcat at heart.”

“I have a lot of great memories,” said Yeaney, who earned a bachelor’s degree at Arizona. “I met a lot of great people. Hopefully the crowds will be excited to see me and I don’t get booed.

“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a competitive game. I love everybody there. I’m excited to see everybody from the staff to the players, to the support staff to people who are helping out during the games — the security staff. I’ve made really good connections with everybody there.”

Yeaney is averaging 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game with the Beavers.


— No. 15 Arizona leads the Pac-12 in attendance averaging 7,288 fans a game. The Wildcats will host the two schools that are next on the list this weekend — Oregon is next at 6,113 a game and Oregon State is at 4,183. According to this week’s Pac-12 release, Arizona is eighth in the nation in average attendance.


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

— Defense continues to be Barnes’ staple. The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 in steals and rank eighth nationally at 12.6 per game..

— Arizona is the lone team in the Pac-12 with four players averaging at least 11.6 points per game — Shaina Pellington (12.8), Jade Loville (12.4), Cate Reese (11.6) and Esmery Martinez (11.6).

— Arizona is 12-0 when it shoots 40 percent or better in games. The Cats are additionally 12-0 when scoring more points in the paint that their opponents. Those two elements did not happen in the loss at Stanford on Monday. Arizona shot 36.4 percent from the field and were outscored 36-30 in the paint.

— A significant key for Arizona is getting off to a strong start. The Wildcats are outscoring opponents 276-181 in the first quarter this season and have held the lead going into halftime in all 12 of their wins.

— Loville is fourth in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage, making 47.4 percent of her shots from behind the arc.

— Martinez is tied for fourth in the conference in rebounds per game at 8.9.

— Six players in the Pac-12 are averaging at least 11.6 points per game on 54.7 percent or better shooting. Arizona is the only school with two players in that group — Pellington and Martinez.

Helena Pueyo is first in the Pac-12 and 38th nationally in steals per game with 2.6.

– Arizona forced 17 Stanford turnovers, the Cardinal’s third-most this season. However, Stanford only committed 12 after the first three minutes of the game. Arizona has forced 14 or more turnovers in every game this season, including 10 games with an opponent committing 20 or more.

— The Wildcats can take solace they outscored Stanford in points off turnovers with 19 to Stanford’s 10. Arizona additionally held the edge in points off the bench with 26 to the Cardinal’s 16.

— Loville had her 10th double-digit scoring performance with 12 points against the Cardinal.

— Pueyo had a solid performance against Stanford off the bench, totaling 10 points, four steals, seven rebounds and one assist.

Madison Conner was also a vital reserve, recording her second double-digit scoring game of the season with 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting. She additionally grabbed two rebounds and one steal against Stanford.


— Oregon State is attempting to knock off back-to-back top-15 teams for the first time since the 2018 NCAA Tournament (No. 12 Tennessee and No. 2 Baylor) and the first time in the regular season since beating No. 20 California and No. 10 Stanford in 2016-17.

— Third-year sophomore guard Talia von Oelhoffen, who joined the program in 2020-21 midway through the season after graduating from high school early, leads the Beavers with 16. 6 points per game and 3.4 assists per game. Arizona’s Montaya Dew did the same thing last month, enrolling at Arizona after being an early graduate from Las Vegas Centennial High School, but Barnes has mentioned she won’t play her this season. She wants Dew to adapt to college life and her system first.

Raegan Beers, a 6-foot-4 forward, is the only freshman in the nation with eight double-doubles this season, double that of the next-closest first-year player. She is also the only true freshman in the country to score 20 points in a double-double four times this season. She is averaging 14.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

Noelle Mannen, a junior guard, transferred to Oregon State four years ago and walked on after not playing basketball for a year at San Francisco. Since then, she’s become an important on and off-court leader for the Beavers, earning a scholarship before last season. Mannen is second on the team in plus-minus (+122).

— Oregon State does a good job of keeping opponents off the free-throw line. Over the last 12 seasons under Scott Rueck, only 13 major conference teams have averaged less than 13 fouls per game over the course of a single season. Oregon State is the only team to do it four times (2016-17, 17-18, 19-20, 21-22). So far this season, the Beavers are fourth in the nation with just 12.4 fouls per game. and first in foul rate with fouls on just 14.9 percent of possessions.

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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