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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s basketball suffers nail-biting loss to Washington State in Pullman

Madeleine Viceconte

Guard Aari McDonald (2) shoots the ball during the game against USC on Friday, Jan. 25 at McKale Center. The Cats won 71-68. 

If you want any evidence that the Pac-12 Conference is the best women’s basketball conference in the country, Arizona’s road test in Pullman should be enough. The Washington State Cougars came into this game with a 7-16 record overall, at just 2-10 in conference play and losers of their last seven games and gave the visiting Wildcats fits all afternoon in the Cougars narrow 90-88 win on Saturday afternoon.

After coming off of an emotional win over Washington two days before, Arizona was not able to wrap up its Washington road trip with both wins, as Borislava Hristova and Chanelle Molina combined for 65 points on the afternoon to power the Cougars to an upset victory over an Arizona team that looks to be on the bubble regarding the upcoming NCAA tournament. 

The Cougars looked like they were going to be able to coast through the last couple of minutes to secure the victory, but Aari McDonald and the rest of the Wildcats had other ideas, hitting five of their last seven shots to make the game a one-possession contest with just under a minute left. It took a blocked McDonald three-point attempt at the buzzer to secure the much-needed win for the Cougars.

McDonald once again pitched in 26 points as the dynamic scorer and topped her season average, finishing the night with six rebounds and six assists to go with the full-throttle offensive game that has troubled Pac-12 opponents this year.

Arizona freshman Cate Reese also had one of her best performances of the year as a viable sidekick to McDonald, finishing with 19 points.

Sam Thomas and Lucia Alonso also had strong afternoons, as Thomas finished the game with 16 points on an incredibly efficient nine shots, and Alonso methodically ran the half court offense, finishing with 14 points, 12 of those coming in the second half as Arizona was chasing the game.

After what was considered a postseason-clinching win over Washington, Arizona places itself back into limbo with the loss to Washington State. The Wildcats now have little room for error, as the last six games they have include four ranked opponents, with three of them ranked 11th or better in the country. 

The Wildcats return home to Tucson and will face off against 17th-ranked Utah before facing Colorado in what should be the most important weekend of the season for head coach Adia Barnes and her team.

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