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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona WBB takes to the road to face No. 3 Stanford and Cal

Arizonas+Helena+Pueyo+handles+the+ball+during+the+Washington+State+game+in+McKale+Center+on+Feb.+16.+Pueyo+was+one+of+the+Wildcats+to+score+double+figures.
Gracie Kayko
Arizona’s Helena Pueyo handles the ball during the Washington State game in McKale Center on Feb. 16. Pueyo was one of the Wildcats to score double figures.

The Arizona women’s basketball team will start a two-game road trip, beginning with a game against No. 3 Stanford University on Friday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. in Maples Pavilion. The Wildcats will then face the University of California, Berkeley on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 1 p.m. in Haas Pavilion. Arizona (14-12, 6-8 in Pac-12) is also coming off back-to-back home wins against Washington State University on Friday, Feb. 16, and the University of Washington on Sunday, Feb. 18.

Stanford (23-3, 12-2 in Pac-12) leads the conference with a two-game lead on the closest school and is currently on a four-game winning streak, with its latest victory coming against Cal on Friday, Feb. 16, in an 84-49 win. The Cardinal have been a force to reckon with throughout the entire season, facing six ranked opponents and losing to only two, with another loss coming against Gonzaga University earlier in the season. The Wildcats’ second opponent for the week is Cal (15-11, 5-9 in Pac-12), who fell to Stanford in their most recent game. Similar to the Wildcats, Cal’s season has been marked by many ups and downs. They will also face ASU on Friday, Feb. 23, before playing against Arizona.

Game 1: No. 3 Stanford— Friday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m.

History vs. Stanford 

In their 88th meeting, these two programs will face off for the second time this season, with their last encounter taking place on Jan. 28 in Tucson. The Wildcats were defeated 96-64, resulting in Stanford extending its overwhelming all-time series lead to 76-11. The Cardinal has won the last seven meetings against the Wildcats. Adding to the challenge of this matchup is Arizona’s road record against Stanford, which is an abysmal 2-42 all-time, and this season, the Wildcats are 2-7 on the road.

Stanford’s season

Since the last meeting between these teams, Stanford has played five games, securing an impressive 4-1 record during this span. The first matchup came against former No. 15 USC on Friday, Feb. 2 resulted in Stanford’s third loss of the season, falling 67-58 to the Trojans. However, the Cardinal quickly rebounded, defeating former No. 7 UCLA on Sunday, Feb. 4, with a convincing 80-60 win.

The following games Stanford faced Washington on Friday, Feb. 9, the Cardinal emerged victorious with a hard-fought 63-59 overtime win. They continued their winning streak by defeating Washington State on Sunday, Feb. 11, with a commanding 73-58 win, and their latest game on Friday, Feb. 16, against Cal, resulting in Stanford securing its fourth consecutive victory with a dominant 84-49 win.

The two players to watch for Stanford are senior forward Cameron Brink and junior forward Kiki Iriafen. During the five-game stretch, Brink led the team in scoring with 19 points per game and an impressive 87.5% shooting from the field. Brink also leads the Cardinal in rebounds (11.4) and blocks (3.6) this season and is second in scoring averaging 17.8 points per game. Meanwhile, Iriafen contributed 16.6 ppg during this period, shooting 53.2% from the field. Iriafen leads the Cardinal in scoring this season with an average of 18.5 ppg and is second on the team in rebounds with 10.7 rebounds per game. Iriafen and Brins form a dynamic duo for Stanford, as two essential pieces to its success this season and will be integral to the Cardinal maintaining their winning ways.

Game 2: Cal — Sunday, Feb. 25, at 1 p.m.

History vs. Cal 

In their upcoming matchup this week, Arizona and Cal will be meeting for the 76th time. The last meeting between these two schools took place earlier this season on Jan. 26 in Tucson, where the Wildcats secured a 66-55 victory over the Golden Bears. With that win, Arizona brought the all-time series record to 38-37, favoring Cal. However, the Wildcats are currently on a six-game winning streak against Cal and aim to extend it to seven, potentially tying up the all-time series record.

Despite the positive streak, Arizona faces a significant challenge in this game. The Wildcats have a historical road record of 15-21 against the Golden Bears and have only managed to secure two road victories this season. In contrast, Cal has an  11-6 record at home this season, presenting another obstacle for the Wildcats to overcome.

Cal’s season

Since the last meeting with Arizona, Cal has played six games, securing two victories and suffering four defeats during this stretch. In their first game, they faced ASU on Sunday, Jan. 28, the Golden Bears experienced a close 76-71 loss to the Sun Devils. The challenges continued in their second matchup against former No. 7 UCLA on Friday, Feb. 2, resulting in a 78-58 defeat to the Bruins. Despite a valiant effort, Cal faced another loss against former No. 15 USC on Sunday, Feb. 4, with the Trojans winning 79-69.

The Golden Bears eventually found their rhythm and secured a victory against Washington State on Friday, Feb. 9, winning 66-59. Building on this momentum, Cal notched their second consecutive win against former Washington on Sunday, Feb. 11, with a narrow 59-57 win. However, in their most recent game against No. 3 Stanford on Friday, Feb. 16, proved challenging as they were completely outclassed and fell to the Cardinal 84-49.

The first player to watch out for on Cal is guard Ioanna Krimili, who has been a standout performer during their six-game stretch, averaging 13.8 ppg while shooting 41.4% from the field. Krimili also leads Cal this season in scoring averaging 15.1 ppg while shooting 44.7% from the field. The second player to watch out for is senior forward Ugonne (Michelle) Onyiah, who averaged 11.3 points per game during this stretch while also shooting an impressive 67.2% from the field. Onyiah leads the team in blocks (0.9) and ranks second in rebounds with an average of 6.3 per game. This dynamic guard-forward combo will play a pivotal role as Cal faces ASU before taking on the Wildcats, as they will move toward ending their current losing streak against Arizona.

Wildcats to watch 

Heading into this week’s games, keep a close watch on fifth-year guard Helena Pueyo. Following a triple-overtime victory over Washington, Pueyo played 55 minutes, setting a Pac-12 record for single-game playing time since 1999-2000. In the same game, she achieved a season-high 22 points with an impressive 83.3% shooting from the field. Pueyo has demonstrated versatility throughout the season, adapting to various roles as needed by her teammates and head coach Adia Barnes. While scoring may not be her primary focus, she has showcased her ability to contribute significantly when required. In the upcoming games, her scoring prowess may once again play a crucial role, given her track record of success when scoring 15 or more points, with Arizona 4-0 in those instances. 

Another player to watch is redshirt junior Isis Beh, who is coming off a career-best performance, scoring 29 points on an outstanding 90.9% shooting against Washington. Beh’s remarkable shooting performance ties the second-best single-game field goal percentage in program history. Her 29-point contribution stands as the highest by a Wildcat in a game this season. With Beh’s exceptional play, she remains a key player as the Wildcats aim to extend their current winning streak.


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