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The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona WBB splits homestand against Cal and No. 6 Stanford

Jada+Williams+pulls+a+tight+defense+against+Cal+on+Jan.+26+in+McKale+Center.+The+freshman+guard+scored+13+points+for+the+game.
Noor Haghighi
Jada Williams pulls a tight defense against Cal on Jan. 26 in McKale Center. The freshman guard scored 13 points for the game.

The Arizona women’s basketball team, back in McKale Center, faced the University of California, Berkeley on Friday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. In a closely contested match with the Golden Bears, the Wildcats ended their four-game skid and secured a 66-55 victory in a game that showcased a complete team effort. Then, on Sunday, Jan. 28 at noon, the Wildcats faced No. 6 Stanford University and were completely outclassed on both ends, ultimately falling 96-64 to the Cardinal

Game 1: Cal — Friday, Jan. 26

The game started with a burst of energy from Cal, who jumped out to a 19-14 lead after the first quarter, relying on their explosive 3-point shooting with eight successful shots from beyond the arc in the first half. Despite this, Arizona, guided by the leadership of Esmery Martinez and a balanced offensive approach, found themselves down by 5 points at the end of the opening quarter.

Undeterred, the Wildcats mounted a comeback in the subsequent periods, with a standout performance in the third quarter where they outscored Cal 23-11 on an impressive 70% shooting. This offensive surge propelled Arizona to an 9-point lead heading into the final quarter, a lead they would maintain to secure the win.

A notable factor in the Wildcats’ success was freshman guard Skylar Jones, who made her first career start and replaced the absent Kailyn Gilbert. Jones displayed composure and made significant contributions with 6 points, two rebounds, three steals and an assist. Head coach Adia Barnes strategically altered the lineup, providing substantial minutes to Courtney Blakely, who played 26 minutes — her most since transferring to Arizona.

Helena Pueyo’s defensive prowess was evident when she snatched two steals in the game, elevating her to fourth in program history in career steals with 261. Isis Beh showcased her versatility, contributing 6 points, three rebounds and three assists.

Arizona dominated the boards, out rebounding Cal 29-25 for their third consecutive game. The Wildcats showcased their prowess in the paint as well, scoring 36 points compared to Cal’s 8. Defensive efforts held Cal to 34.9% shooting, 5% below their season average, and limited them to 13.8 points below their season average.

Martinez led the charge with an impressive 20-point performance, matching her season-best point total. The Wildcats emphasized a collective scoring effort, with each of the seven players contributing at least 6 points

Game 2: No. 6 Stanford — Friday, Jan. 28

The Wildcats were back in McKale for their matchup against Stanford. Coming off a recent victory, they aimed to secure a home sweep but were unable to do so due to challenges with their depth and size.

Cameron Brink from Stanford had herself a day by completely dominating the Wildcats with 25 points and 19 rebounds, leading her team to its seventh consecutive victory over Arizona and its third consecutive win in Tucson.

Despite having only seven players, the Wildcats were led by junior guard Courtney Blakely, who achieved a career-high 24 points on 11-for-20 shooting. Freshman guard Skylar Jones, in her second career start, also had a career-high with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting.

While Arizona had shown a 50% shooting performance two days earlier, they struggled against Stanford, managing only 37.7% from the floor. In the first half, the Wildcats distributed scoring among six players but faced challenges in consistent passing, resulting in eight turnovers.

Stanford’s size advantage was evident in the first half, out rebounding Arizona 26-12, with 16 rebounds attributed to Brink, leading to 9 second-chance points. Foul trouble added to the Wildcats’ difficulties, with three players accumulating three fouls and starting guard Kailyn Gilbert missing the game.

Brink and Hannah Jump dominated in the first half for Stanford, combining for 31 points on 11-for-16 shooting, allowing Stanford to build an 18-point lead by halftime.

Although Arizona improved its shooting in the second half, hitting 48.4% from the floor, foul trouble persisted, with three players, including two starters, entering the fourth quarter with four fouls each. Breya Cunningham fouled out with five fouls in the fourth quarter during the 32-point blowout loss.

Stanford’s dominance extended to the final stats, with a 49-21 rebounding advantage and a 50-24 lead in points in the paint.

Looking ahead:

Up next, Arizona will host its in-state rival ASU on Sunday, Feb. 4, at noon.


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