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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona WBB falls in the quarterfinals to USC in the Pac-12 Tournament

Danielle Main
Helena Pueyo blocking the ball during game against USC Trojans February 29th in Mckale Center. Final score 95-93 Wildcats.

The No. 7-seed Arizona women’s basketball team traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to compete in the Pac-12 Tournament held in MGM Grand Garden Arena. The tournament started on Wednesday, March 6, and the finals are on Sunday, March 10.

The Wildcats first game was against the No. 10-seed University of Washington, and Arizona would outlast the Huskies to win 58-50 and advance to the quarterfinals to face No. 2-seed USC. The Wildcats would give it their all, but it would not be enough, as they fell to the Trojans 65-62.  

Day 1: Wednesday, March 6

Game 1: No. 7 Arizona vs. No. 10 Washington at 7 p.m.

Washington got the first points on the board, but shortly after, Esmery Martinez hustled down the court to start this game off for her team. Arizona maintained great full-court pressure early. In the first half, the biggest lead for any team was 5 points. With a little less than 2 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Washington rallied to take a 27-25 lead after Arizona had taken a 19-14 advantage early on. The score was tight going into halftime with Arizona up by two. Martinez was already in double digits going into halftime.

The Huskies started to catch up, but the Wildcats turned that around fast. Arizona led by 11 with 5:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, having taken a 43-36 lead. With 3:30 left, a 9-0 Washington rally led by five baskets from Lauren Schwartz put the score at 50-48. With 22 seconds remaining, Helena Pueyo made it a 4-point lead once more after Jada Williams sank a jumper to put Arizona ahead by 4.

For the Wildcats, Pueyo added five assists, five steals and four blocks. Martinez and Pueyo both also had 14 points. Breya Cunningham contributed 10 points and seven rebounds, while Skylar Jones finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four steals.

The Wildcats won their first game of the tournament 58-50 to advance to the quarterfinals against No. 2-seed USC.

Day 2: Thursday, March 7

Game 2: No. 7 Arizona vs. No. 2 USC at 7 p.m.

The Wildcats started this game off forcing early turnovers, setting a defensive tone. It took Arizona a minute to get into rhythm, as the Wildcats were scoreless until there were 4 minutes left in the first period. USC applied pressure, causing Arizona to turn over the ball multiple times early on. Despite early mistakes, the Wildcats had great defense. Arizona started to find its momentum, getting on the scoreboard while also not letting USC make their shots. Pueyo hustled offensively for her team, creating a close game. The Wildcats were only down 5 going into halftime.

Arizona kept its attention on JuJu Watkins, giving her three fouls. The Wildcats got their first lead of the game from the help of a layup made by Courtney Blakely. The Trojans started to pick up the pace, not letting the Wildcats get to the basket. Arizona gave its all, but the Wildcats could not push past the Trojans, losing 65-62.

Looking ahead:

The Wildcats led the Pac-12 in steals per game going into the tournament, ranking ninth in the country. Despite losing in the quarterfinals, the Wildcats showed resilience and teamwork throughout the tournament. This could be the last time this team will play this year, but they await the decision from the selection committee with hopes of getting an invite to the NCAA Tournament.

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