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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona WBB drops to No. 22 after conference loss against Washington State

Nathanial Stenchever

Shaina Pellington, a guard on the Arizona woman’s basketball team, holds her head while sitting on bench on Dec. 8, in McKale Center. The Wildcats would lose to the University of Kansas 50-77.

McKale Center began to slowly fill up for the then-No. 19 Arizona women’s basketball to host conference foe Washington State University on Sunday, January 29. The Wildcats’ starting lineup consisted of Shaina Pellington, Lauren Fields, Jade Loville, Esmery Martinez and Cate Reese.

After a slow start, the first points of the game were scored by Reese with 7:49 left in the first quarter. Washington State quickly responded by sinking a layup, tying the score. At the first media break, the Cougars were up 10-2 with 5:51 left in the quarter. Martinez had a nice layup off of a WSU turnover but continued to trail with under three minutes left in the first quarter. Martinez was then fouled and made both free throws with 2:18 left making the score 10-9 Cougars. Taking charge of the attack, Martinez sank a beautiful three off a shaky pass from  Madison Conner to help Arizona take the lead momentarily at the end of the first quarter. The score was 15-14 Washington State at the buzzer. The Wildcats had three points off the bench, and four points in the paint. In comparison, the Cougars had five points off the bench and six points in the paint.

In the second quarter, Loville sank a three with 6:30 left. At the first media break of the quarter with 4:32 left in the quarter Arizona was winning 22-19. Arizona appeared to be struggling with aggression when Martinez wasn’t on the court. Martinez brings energy every time she is near the ball, trying to rally her teammates to match it. For the Wildcats, Martinez led with 12 points in the first half, followed by Loville with five. Cougar players Ula Motuga and Bella Murekatete had seven points at the end of the first half, leading their team. At the half, the score was 29-27 in favor of Washington State, who outscored Arizona 14-13 in the quarter.

Going into the second half, head coach Adia Barnes chose the same starting lineup as the first half. Washington State scored the first points of the half with a layup on Arizona’s basket on a fast break. With 8:34 left in the third quarter, the Wildcats called a timeout with the score being 36-27 Cougars. Kailyn Gilbert sparked a scoring run with a nice three with 2:58 left in the third quarter. A personal foul was called on WSU’s Jessica Clarke for the second time in one minute of game time, and Conner made both free throws making the score 45-38 Washington State. The crowd grew louder as Conner sank a charity three with 1:27 left in the third quarter. Arizona fans were on their feet for the final minute of the third quarter. Feeding off the energy, Conner sank another three tying up the game 46-46 with 42 seconds before the end of the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter, the Cougars were leading the Wildcats by two. The Wildcats had 17 points off the bench and four points in the paint. Washington State had five points off the bench and 12 points in the paint. It felt as though the Wildcats woke up and were ready to compete during the final quarter.

To start the fourth quarter, an intentional foul was called on Martinez resulting in two free throws made by WSU. The gap continued to widen until Conner hit another three-pointer with 5:34 left in the game. This brought the score to 58-53 Washington State. The Wildcats couldn’t hold a lead against WSU and trailed for the remainder of the game. Barnes called a timeout with 2:30 left in the game when the score was 60-53 Cougars. WSU had a 46.4% scoring percentage compared to the Wildcats, who only managed a 34.7% average. The Washington State Cougars beat Arizona 70-59 in McKale Center. With this loss, Arizona drops to No. 22 in the AP Poll.

The Wildcats will be spending the upcoming weekend in Los Angeles playing at UCLA on Friday, Feb. 3, and at USC on Sunday, Feb. 5.

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