Kailyn Gilbert had a team-high 16 points with nine rebounds and Maya Nnaji added 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting to lead Arizona to a season-opening 68-57 win at New Mexico State on Monday night.
Freshman post player Breya Cunningham had five of Arizona’s seven blocked shots and finished with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field with 10 rebounds.
Arizona will play its home opener Friday against NAU at 6:30 p.m.
— Arizona Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) November 7, 2023
Gilbert was also 6-of-11 from the field. The Wildcats shot 49.2 percent from the field, including 24-of-39 (61.5 percent) from inside the 3-point line. They were 5 of 20 beyond the arc.
Arizona outscored New Mexico State 40-20 in the paint, an essential development inasmuch as the Wildcats committed 26 turnovers.
Arizona held New Mexico State to 35 percent shooting from the field. The Aggies made 7 of 15 from 3-point range but were 12 of 40 (30 percent) inside the arc.
The Wildcats never trailed in the game after taking an early 13-3 lead.
They led 19-6 at the end of the first quarter.
After New Mexico State cut the lead to 23-18 with 4:54 left in the second quarter, Arizona outscored the Aggies 12-5 the rest of the half to take at 35-23 lead into halftime.
Arizona led by at least eight points the rest of the game.
Fifth-year senior guard Helena Pueyo played the most minutes (37) in Monday’s win. She had only two points on 1-of-8 shooting from the field, but she had three steals and two blocked shots.
Freshman guard Jada Williams led the Wildcats with four assists.
Adia Barnes is in her eighth season at her alma mater.
She is 133-84, which is even more remarkable considering she was 20-40 after her first two seasons. She is 113-44 since. That’s a winning percentage of 71.9.