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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s basketball beats North Dakota State but lost Lauren Ware to injury

Caitlin Claypool

Sam Thomas (14) blocks an opponent during a game on Thursday, Dec. 9. at McKale Center. The match against North Dakota State ended in a victory and the Wildcats remain undefeated. 

Arizona women’s basketball beat North Dakota State University 59-47 on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at McKale Center. 

It was the team’s first game in 12 days after their game against UC Riverside was postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak on UC Riverside. Arizona started the game off with an injury scare. 

Off of the jump ball at the start of the game, Lauren Ware went up for a rebound after a Bendu Yeaney layup and came down on her right leg awkwardly. Ware fell to the floor and had to be helped off of the court by her trainer and head coach Adia Barnes as she could not put pressure on that leg. 

Barnes said Ware dislocated her knee and will have an MRI to make sure the injury is not worse. Ware is expected to be out for two weeks. 

“But it’s not an injury like we anticipated or thought what it looked like. So we’re happy about that. That was good news,” Barnes said

After the injury, Arizona started the game off slow with NDSU playing a tight ball game and continually making shots to keep themselves in the game. 

“I think that’s a product of very good friend and starter going down in the first 30 seconds. Some of the girls had tears in their eyes. So I think that was one of the reasons why we had a slow start, to be honest,” Barnes said. 

Sam Thomas led the team in the first quarter with 5 points, 3 rebounds, and a block and steal each. Ariyah Copeland also hit her first career three after replacing Ware early. 

“It was rewarding this this because it’s something that we’ve been kind of working on. So it feels good to finally get one in the game,” Copeland said. 

Arizona shot 2-9 from three-point range in the first quarter but after settling down they seemed more composed in the second quarter and took higher percentage shots. Shaina Pellington scored 6 points as she worked on her way to a career-high 16-point performance to help give Arizona a 31-21 lead at halftime. 

“We just tried to keep our composure as best as we could. We’re familiar with situations like that. There were strong team, you know, they’re very fundamentally sound they hit shots,” Pellington said, “The worst thing you can do in situations like that is freak out. So you know, we just went back to what we know how to do pound the ball inside, hit shots when we can.” 

In the third quarter, Cate Reese started to heat up, scoring 9 points to keep NDSU at bay and extend the Arizona lead with Pellington adding 5 more points. Only one other wildcat, Koi Love, made a shot for the team in the third. Arizona went into the fourth quarter with a 47-33 lead. 

NDSU attempted a comeback in the fourth as Arizona was never able to break the game open and pull away. The Bison’s cut the lead to within five points but Arizona was able to stay ahead and finish out the game with the help of their defense. 

Copeland and Pellington scored all of the team’s points in the fourth quarter with Copeland scoring eight points and Pellington adding 4 to help Arizona win 59-47. The team’s defense is what paced the way to the wildcats win on a bad shooting night from both teams. 

“We know what to expect from Sam (Thomas) and we both knew we need to get the ball back and we need to score, we need to get some steals and make them frantic offensively. So we just upped the intensity defensively, made the ball handlers have to feel us, and when we did that we had success,” Pellington said. 

Arizona continues their unbeaten start to the season with their record being 8-0. Looking to keep the streak alive, they will face New Mexico State at home on Sunday, Dec. 12 at McKale Center. 

Key Stats: 

  • The Wildcats had three players score double digits. Copeland and Reese both scored 13 points and Pellington scored 16. 
  • Arizona’s defense was a major factor in winning the game. The team forced 25 turnovers, 16 steals, and had four blocks. 
  • The team was incredibly consistent from the free-throw line, shooting 86% on 12-14 free throws. 

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