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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s basketball routs NAU, faces ASU next

Claudio Cerrillo
Forward Cate Reese (25) goes for the jump ball that kicks off the match against the Loyola Marymount Lions. UA lost the match 66-64 Tuesday night in the McKale Center.

On the 127th birthday of the sport of basketball, the Arizona women’s basketball team put on a performance that would have made Dr. James Naismith proud. 

The Wildcats faced off against in-state foe NAU in their last non-conference game of the season, winning by a score of 71 to 47. 

For Arizona head coach Adia Barnes, Christmas came early. The Wildcats wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a 10-1 record, winning their ninth straight game for the first time since 2003-04, all while having their best start to the season since 2011-12. 

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“These are the toughest games of the year,” said Adia Barnes. “Everybody is thinking about Christmas, thinking about their families, what time their flight is … We lost focus at some points in the game, but I’m really glad to come out with a win because they beat us badly in Flagstaff last year.”

Asked if it was a revenge game at all for Arizona, Barnes said it was “a little bit.”

“I knew that we wanted to get revenge because I felt like we had no chance against them last year and they just put us away, and kind of embarrassed us,” Barnes said. “This is a in-state game, and we want to beat every team that is in this state.”

Arizona, a team that finished last year 6-24, looks like a completely different program. Not only are the Wildcats beating teams, they are obliterating them. Aari McDonald and Cate Reese contributed mightily once again, with 20 points and eight rebounds from McDonald, and 21 points and eight rebounds for Reese. 

The stars are shining, but its the rest of the Wildcat team growing alongside them that has allowed the Wildcats to find their seemingly unbreakable rhythm as Dominique McBryde contributed 12 points on 5/8 shooting, while Lucia Alonso pitched in five points and five assists.

   RELATED: Women’s basketball wins seventh-straight game

Arizona dominated from the opening tip, as the Lumberjacks lack of size in their front court created a nightmare scenario for the visitors as the McDonalds All-American Reese got to any spot she wanted on the low block, opening the rest of the court for the Wildcats as NAU was forced to double-team the uber-talented freshman. 

Arizona’s offense ran smoothly all night, but it was the defense that stole the show. Arizona forced 22 turnovers and scored 21 points off those mistakes. The Wildcats full-court press was too much for NAU’s guards — leading to picking up their dribble and forcing ill-advised passes — equalling open buckets for Arizona. 

Asked if she had fun being the lead attacker in Arizona’s press defense, McDonald didn’t mince words.

“It was really fun,” McDonald said. “Especially since they came in here talking smack, and when we locked them down on the press it felt good, it was like our own way of talking smack.”

The Wildcats return to action after the Christmas break, and will be back on Jan. 30 to take on in-state rival and nationally ranked Arizona State Sun Devils in the McKale Center. 

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