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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona WBB’s tournament run ends against Maryland

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Nathanial Stenchever

Cate Reese, a forward on the Arizona woman’s basketball team, was frustrated as another foul was called on a teammate on Sunday, Feb. 13 in McKale Center. The Wildcats would go on to win the game 62-58. 

Round two of the NCAA Tournament is heating up.

The Arizona women’s basketball team was knocked out of the tournament by the University of Maryland after losing 77-64, on Sunday, March 19, in College Park, Maryland.

Maryland player Diamond Miller was one to watch. She is a phenomenal athlete who has led her team to many victories. There is some familiarity on the court, as Arizona head coach Adia Barnes actually coached Miller a few years ago on the U.S. team in the 2021 FIBA Women’s AmeriCup.

The starting lineup for today’s game consisted of all seniors: Cate Reese, Esmery Martinez, Jade Loville, Shaina Pellington and Lauren Fields.

The Wildcats controlled the tipoff, but Martinez’s shot was blocked by Maryland’s Shyanne Sellers. The Terrapins took two jump shots and made the second, putting the first points on the scoreboard. A shot clock violation was called on Martinez, and Maryland inbounded the ball but missed their opportunity on the hoop.

The Terrapins had an early 6-0 lead after Miller ran down the court after she received a deep pass from Sellers and made a layup.

Barnes calmed her team down by calling a timeout after turning the ball over three times. Reese scored Arizona’s first points by making two free throws. Arizona had an extremely slow start due to Maryland’s non-stop aggression. Miller continuously shut down Reese in front of the basket, not giving her many opportunities to shoot with only three. At the end of the first quarter, Arizona was down 17-8.

The Wildcats’ frustration was seen on the court at the start of the second quarter.

The game was very fast-paced with short times of possession. Arizona began to lock in and catch up with the Terrapins. Pellington made a nice layup with 3:31 left in the second quarter, putting Arizona only 1 point behind Maryland. The crowd began booing when an offensive foul was called against Miller with 2:46 left in the quarter. Fields tied up the game 29-29 with Arizona’s first 3-pointer of the game. Arizona made an attempt at a comeback by taking the lead for the first time on a layup. Maryland felt the need to call a timeout with 1:05 left in the half.

Arizona demonstrated absolute grit in the second. The score at the end of the quarter was 33-32 Wildcats. Arizona’s leading scorers at the half were Reese with 12 points, freshman Paris Clark with 8 points and Pellington with 6 points.

Both teams missed jump shots at the beginning of the second half before Maryland snatched a 6-point lead. Helena Pueyo ended Arizona’s four-and-a-half-minute dry period by making a 2-pointer with 5:33 left in the third quarter. Arizona and Maryland made quick substitutions as their players began to tire.

Maryland pulled ahead by 17 points with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

At that moment, the Terrapins completely grabbed hold of the lead due to Miller’s unstoppable offense. She stepped up and scored 13 points in the third quarter. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the score was 61-42 Terrapins after Miller sank a layup.

Arizona fans chanted defensive encouragement in hopes of trying to motivate the Wildcats.

Maryland continued to put the ball in the basket with a 20-point lead with six minutes left in the game. The Terrapins held onto the ball as the final seconds of the game ran out. The final score of the game was 77-64 Maryland.

It was an emotional way to end a season and to see Reese, Loville and Pellington play their final collegiate games against Maryland. Tears ran down these athletes’ faces knowing that they gave everything they had to the program and that this was their final game as Wildcats. Reese had an outstanding career as a Wildcat. She leaves Arizona as a three-time All-Pac-12 selection.

Reese played in 153 career games for Arizona since her freshman year, and she was a starter for every single one.

Reese left everything she had on the court.

“It’s been a great five years,” she said in her final postgame press conference interview. “I don’t even know how to feel right now. [I’m] sad but happy for all I was able to accomplish at Arizona with my teammates, with Adia [Barnes]. Unfortunately, only one team wins in the end and we just weren’t that team.”

After an absolute battle on the court, Pellington reflected on her time as a Wildcat.

“I was a transfer from [the University of] Oklahoma, came from a tough situation and Adia [Barnes] was one of the ones who took a chance on me and that’s something I am going to forever be grateful for,” Pellington said.

The Wildcats will be heading home and Maryland will go on to play No. 3-seed University of Notre Dame on Saturday, March 25, in the Sweet Sixteen.


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