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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Trinity Baptiste leads Arizona women’s basketball to victory over WSU in first found of Pac-12 tournamnent

Ana Beltran
Cate Reese (25) and Sam Thomas (14) blocking during the game vs Washington on February 14. The Wildcats won the night with a score of 64-53.

The Arizona women’s basketball team dominated Washington State 60-44 in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday, March 4. 

In the regular-season matchups between them, the Wildcats and the Cougars split the matchup at a game apiece. Both teams won their games at their home court. Which made this game decide the season matchup. 

“We don’t want to go home, it is as simple as that,” Trinity Baptiste said. “We are just taking it one game at a time. But that was the intensity from the start of the game. We haven’t played how we should be playing. You are going to see a better Arizona team.” 

The Wildcats were led by Baptiste, who had 17 points shooting the ball at a stellar rate of 73% (8-11) from the floor. Right behind her was the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Year Aari McDonald. She had 13 points on 35% (6-17) shooting.

Coming off their last game losing to Arizona State last week, the Wildcats had the sense of urgency to play with tremendous energy. They jumped out to an early lead which grew to 11-0 where Baptiste had seven of the first 11 points. 

“This is [Baptiste’s] first Pac-12 tournament, she was phenomenal,” head coach Adia Barnes said. “We got on her back and got going. She did everything, hitting threes, rebounding, brought us muscle inside.” 

Arizona had their hands in the pocket all night as they forced 26 turnovers and had 16 steals. Baptiste had a career-night on the defensive end of the ball as she had her career-high in steals and recorded six. She was not the only one as Helena Pueyo had five steals, McDonald had three and Cate Reese had two. 

“Coming out with that fire,” Barnes said. “I think we really did that by forcing 20 turnovers in the first half that means we were on point defensively.”

Arizona got back on the right track shooting the ball 42% (26-62) from the field and 25% (4-16) from the three-point line. Arizona had 11 assists in the game and nine of them came from McDonald.

“I’m proud of her,” Barnes said of McDonald’s performance. “Plus-6 assist to turnover ratio, three steals, five rebounds I think that is a great stat line. She played a really good game, you don’t have to score 20 to impact the game and make a difference to help us win and she did that tonight.”

Arizona will play UCLA in the second round of the Pac-12 tournament Friday, March 5 at 9 p.m. MST.

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