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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona women’s basketball takes five game win streak to the Oregon schools

Ana Beltran
Aari McDonald (2) signs to her teammates about the next play.

No. 12 Arizona women’s basketball is riding a five-game winning streak hitting the road this weekend as they are looking to avenge their losses to two powerhouses, the No. 3 Oregon Ducks and the No. 9 Oregon St. Beavers.

The Wildcats dropped the two meetings in McKale Center earlier this season by a margin of just nine points between both games against the then=No. 2 Ducks and No. 3 Beavers.

But since then, they went on an impressive 5-0 stretch, beating ASU in a tough rivalry game and blowing out the third blemish on UA’s record, No. 10 UCLA.

Head coach Adia Barnes believes they will be able to come out and play Arizona basketball this time around.

“I think for us, there is nothing to lose,” Barnes said. “No one expects us to go to Oregon and Oregon St. and win on their home court. So there is no pressure. You play loose, and I think it’s really easy to play well when you play loose. Our team feels like we can beat anybody.”

Forward Sam Thomas has been one of the best players on this year’s team on both ends of the court. She also has liked to see where the team has grown.

“It was nice to know the progression that we were making. We were close to them this past time,” Thomas added. “So hopefully this time we can pull off a win.”

One could say this is their revenge tour, as they will look to continue this hot streak and possibly earn themselves a top-10 ranking come next week. 

The ‘Cats will start their road trip in Matthew Knight Arena and will need to play a full game if they look to seal the victory. It was the second quarter that Arizona lost control of the game, as they were outscored 17-6 in the quarter, shooting just 2-10 from the field. 

“I feel like if we can play 40 minutes of good basketball, I feel like we can beat anyone,” guard Lucia Alonso said.

They will need to be more physical down low as they got battered in the paint by the Ducks, allowing 36 points in the paint and getting out-rebounded by 16. Arizona will also need to contain Ruthy Hebard and Sabrina Ionescu as they combined for 36 points and 24 boards.

“Sabrina [Ionescu] and Ruthy [Hebard] in the pick and roll is like Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird in pick and roll almost,” Barnes joked as she praised the play of the two. “I think we have to play really good post defense.” 

Arizona then travels 51 miles down the road to take on Oregon State and will need to have a better shooting performance this time around if they look to take down the Beavers.

The Wildcats shot just 41% from the field and shot an abysmal 25% from deep in their first matchup against the Beavers. They will need better performances from their two leading scorers, Aari McDonald and Cate Reese. McDonald and Reese combined for 30 points but only connected on 12 of their 35 shots on the night, only making one of their nine attempts from deep. 

As the team is getting set to duel against the two top-10 ranked teams, they understand the disadvantages against playing a team on their home court, but they seem up to the task and they know they’ll get the best out of McDonald. 

“If they are against us, Aari loves that, she thrives off that. We’re excited for that,” Thomas said.

Arizona may need to ride the hot hand of McDonald for the matchups this upcoming weekend, as the reigning Pac-12 player of the week award winner is coming off an impressive weekend against UCLA and USC where she averaged 23.5 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 steals in the two victories. 

They are slated to play No. 3 Oregon on Friday at 7:00 p.m. and No. 9 Oregon St. Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Follow Ray Diaz on Twitter


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