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The Daily Wildcat’s team and player of the week: Feb. 25

Arizonas+Isis+Beh+goes+for+a+basket+during+the+Washington+State+game+in+McKale+Center+on+Feb.+16.+Beh+scored+a+season+high+of+11+points.
Gracie Kayko
Arizona’s Isis Beh goes for a basket during the Washington State game in McKale Center on Feb. 16. Beh scored a season high of 11 points.

This past week, Arizona sports had its ups and downs with a ranked loss in men’s basketball but major wins in softball and women’s basketball.

Softball had a stellar performance in the Hillenbrand Invitational, winning the series outright with six consecutive victories over Drake University, Indiana University, Marshall University and Central Michigan University. They were led by freshman Regan Shockey, who put on a performance of a seasoned Wildcat.

The women’s basketball team has drastically turned around a season full of injuries and tragic losses, to one with a massive four-game winning streak. A streak that includes a victory over No. 3 Stanford University in Maples Pavilion.

Player of the Week

Regan Shockey – Pitcher, softball

No. 22 Arizona softball hosted the Hillenbrand Invitational at the Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats entered the series coming off a 5-1 series blowout in their last series, the Bear Down Fiesta, that took place in Tucson from Feb. 15-18.

During the Hillenbrand Invitational, the softball team showcased skill and dominance over the other teams with a massive series blowout. The star of the invitational was Shockey.

Shockey has been a crucial addition to the Wildcats, with her currently leading the team in hits, with 29, and at-bats, with 55. She is also third in runs with 17.

Her best performances over the invitational were the first matchups against Indiana and Marshall.

In the Indiana matchup, she would be the critical piece in a 6-3 victory over the Hoosiers. In the fourth inning, Shockey would bunt leading to Jasmine Perezchica being able to make it home, pushing the Wildcats ahead 4-3. She would score two more times in both the fourth and sixth innings, almost single-handedly bringing the Wildcats to victory.

In the Marshall matchup, Shockey would record her season and career high for RBI’s with four and would be responsible for 5 total runs. She started off early with a single in the third inning that would allow Allie Skaggs to score. This would bring the Wildcats back to even with Marshall, 3-3. In the fifth inning, Shockey would single, allowing Perezchica and Tayler Biehl to score. She would then be advanced home, following a Carlie Scupin double. She then advanced two more baserunners in the sixth with a single.

Shockey’s performance in the series was truly something to witness, and her play will certainly be paramount in the upcoming Crimson Classic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on March 1-3.

Team of the Week

Women’s basketball

Since the start of 2024, the Arizona women’s basketball team had been struggling to achieve wins after a successful start of the season, going 11-4 in 2023. The new year would hit the Wildcats quite hard. Struggling with injuries, they would go 3-11 from their game against the University of Colorado Boulder on Jan. 5, to their matchup against USC on Feb. 12.

This put the Wildcats in a tough spot that would result in something not too uncommon this season. On Feb. 1, the women’s basketball team announced that they would be holding tryouts for the 2023-2024 season, due to injuries and the inability to put together a whole lineup. This was not necessarily uncommon, as different programs like Texas Christian University struggled with an injury-riddled roster.

With such a slump behind them, head coach Adia Barnes and the Wildcats would initiate an unprecedented run going against a highly-ranked opponent as well. Helena Pueyo, Isis Beh, Jada Williams and Esmery Martinez performed for the team in impressive ways to produce big wins both in McKale Center and on the road.

The biggest performance for the Wildcats came against Stanford in Maples Pavilion on Feb. 23. The Wildcats had come off of sweeping both the University of Washington and Washington State University in McKale Center on Feb. 16 and Feb. 18. They were forced to go on the road the following week and face off against one of the best teams in the country in Stanford, who had also beaten them at home earlier in the season by 30-plus points. 

The Wildcats entered the fourth quarter down 47-37, and needed hope to keep them alive. They rallied back to bring them even with less than a minute left in the game. Williams would go on to score 6 unanswered points from both a 3-point shot and free throws. Her late-minute push would be the deciding factor in the victory over the seemingly insurmountable Cardinal.

The women’s basketball team returns to McKale Center to face off against No. 7 USC and No. 8 UCLA on Feb. 29 and March 2. These games will conclude the Wildcats’ regular season with their next focus being the Pac-12 Tournament starting March 6.


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