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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona WBB’s first home game of the season comes against NAU

Madeleine Viceconte
Women’s basketball coach, Adia Barnes, meets with the players before the game against USC in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament on Thursday, March 7 at the Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Arizona won 76-48.

The Arizona women’s basketball team will play NAU on Nov. 10, Friday at 6:30 p.m. in McKale Center for its first home game of the season.

With head coach Adia Barnes’ 12-woman roster, each of her players receives more playing time. With the transfer portal being so accessible, players come and go. Barnes decided that this year, having only 12 players on the roster gives all the players a better chance to see the court. However, in their first exhibition game, six of the 12 players were out due to injury.

History vs. NAU 

The last time Arizona played NAU was on Nov. 10, 2022, and the Wildcats beat them 113-56. Arizona’s all-time record against NAU is 33-6, and they currently have a four-game winning streak against the Lumberjacks dating back to 2018. The Wildcats are 17-1 against NAU at home, with the one loss coming in 1978.

NAU’s lackluster start 

The Lumberjacks lost their season opener to the University of Oregon 81-48 in Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon, on Monday, Nov. 6. Oregon’s strong performance included a 45 percent shooting accuracy, while NAU struggled, managing only 29 percent from the field.

Sophomore Sophie Glancey was the leading scorer for the Lumberjacks with nine points, accompanied by four rebounds. Grace Beasley had an all-around performance, contributing six points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals in her debut. Additionally, sophomore Taylor Feldman made an impact with eight points, including two three-pointers.

The Lumberjacks faced early foul trouble and turnovers, allowing the Ducks to take an early lead. They managed to stay competitive in the second quarter but couldn’t maintain their momentum. In the end, Oregon’s strong fourth quarter secured the victory.

The game saw a high number of turnovers, with NAU committing 22 while forcing 19. Rebounding and points in the paint favored the Ducks. NAU struggled with their three-point shooting, making only 5-of-29 attempts, and their free-throw shooting was at 60%. In contrast, Oregon excelled from the free-throw line, shooting 79.2% and limited their three-point attempts to 6-of-21.

Wildcats to watch 

The Wildcats to watch include a diverse group of players, each bringing their unique strengths to the team. Among the newcomers is freshman forward Breya Cunningham, a standout 2023 McDonald’s All-American. She joins forces with the experienced redshirt senior Salimatou Kourouma, who claimed the 2023 Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year title.

In terms of senior leadership, the Wildcats rely on Esmery Martinez and Helena Pueyo. Martinez is a force on the boards, earning herself an All-Pac-12 Team Honorable Mention and a place on the Katrina McClain Award Top 10 List. Notably, she has also crossed the 1,000 career points mark. Pueyo, on the other hand, is a defensive standout, having earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and recognition on the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Midseason Watch List. Her on-court leadership sets a high standard for the team’s defensive performance. With this mix of emerging talents and experienced leaders, the Wildcats are poised for an exciting season.

This matchup against NAU is one that favors the Wildcats, but it should be an interesting game nonetheless because one team is looking to keep its foot on the gas while the other is still looking for the keys to get its engine started. For those who are unable to attend the game, it will be streamed on the Pac-12 Network.

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