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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Power in the paint too much as Cal overpowers Arizona in women’s basketball Pac-12 opener

Caelum Gay
Arizona guard LaBrittney Jones drives the ball down the court against Northern Texas on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball team struggled against the tall and athletic front court of the California Golden Bears losing their Pac-12 home opener Thursday, 74-64 in McKale Center.

Cal center Kristine Anigwe was thought to be the primary force the Wildcats would have to concern themselves with coming into the game, but it was the work of forward Penina Davidson that wreaked havoc for Arizona in the game. Davidson along with Anigwe combined for 25 rebounds, the Wildcats as a team had only 27. Davidson also contributed 12 points as one of four Golden Bears in double-figures.

“We weren’t doubling off the post and so we had to do a better job of playing one-on-one and boxing out Penina [Davidson],” said Arizona head coach Adia Barnes. “We did not do a good job of that, then she was in better position, she crashed hard, then she got real confident.”

The Golden Bears as a team scored 40 points in the paint and were a handful to stop. Possession after possession Cal would throw it over the top of the shorter Arizona defense and score.

Anigwe wasn’t much of a factor in the game until the fourth quarter as the Wildcats held her at bay for most of the game. Anigwe, a Phoenix product from Desert Vista High School, came in averaging over 25 points and over 10 rebounds, but only came up with 16 points on the evening, though she did have 11 rebounds.

“Everyone’s target in the Pac-12 is Anigwe,” said LaBrittney Jones. “Our goal tonight was to double her and not let her get anything easy.”

Barnes credited the Wildcat’s game plan for slowing Anigwe’s roll and making her work for her baskets, ultimately nine below her normal average. 

“Being back at home in a familiar place is cool,” Anigwe said. “They’re a different team, better than last year, so knowing that now I will be more prepared for the next time we see them. They did a good job.”

Arizona played fast and energetic throughout the game despite falling short. Seniors LaBrittney Jones and Malena Washington kept the Wildcats alive, although at a distance, as Arizona was only able to come to within five points before Cal went on a 9-0 run in the fourth quarter. Jones led the team with 24 points and Washington chipped in 13, despite struggling from three, going 1-for-7 and 6-for-16 overall.

“I’m not disappointed in our team effort,” Jones said. “I think this season we all just came in with a different mindset. We wanted to play physical and I think we did that tonight, we were ready.”

Arizona drops to 9-3 overall, 0-1 in the Pac-12 and will turn around to face Stanford on Sunday in McKale at 2 p.m.

Follow Saul Bookman on Twitter.

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