This Sunday, at 12 PM on the PAC-12 Network, the Arizona Wildcats will attempt to dethrone the reigning Queens of PAC-12 Basketball.
Can the Wildcats take down the Ducks? All rise! Ionescu’s court is in session.
SEASON THUS FAR
RECORD: 13-4 (3-3)
BEST WINS: Montana, Arizona State, California
WORST LOSS: Loyola Marymount
COMMON OPPONENT(S): Long Beach State, Arizona State
Both Oregon and Arizona beat these teams, though the Wildcats were much more dominating over the Sun Devils while Oregon played better against Long Beach State.
LAST 5 GAMES:
- W (1/4) Colorado 69-67
- L (1/6) Utah 64-80
- W (1/11) California 60-55
- L (1/13) Stanford 48-78
- L (1/18) Oregon State 64-86
SUMMARY: Much like ASU, the Wildcats have a handful of quality losses, but also a single ugly loss (though, in ASU’s case, that ugly loss happens to be against Arizona, 51 to 39.)
However, unlike the Wildcat's bitter rival, Arizona's losses weren't very competitive. This team's offensive leader is undoubtedly Aari McDonald, but outside of her, Arizona has struggled to find an identity. And all of their conference losses were decided by at least 16 points.
Perhaps a win over then-top 25 California will be enough to revitalize this defensive-minded squad, but they'll first have to shake off their 22-point loss to Oregon State before entering Matt Knight Arena on Sunday.
- WILDCATS score 59.3 PPG
- DUCKS allow 61 PPG
- WILDCATS shoot 40.4% from the floor
- DUCKS allow 39%
- WILDCATS shoot 26.1% from three
- DUCKS allow 30.2%
- WILDCATS average 28.2 rebounds
- DUCKS allow 31.2 rebounds
- WILDCATS allow 67.5 PPG
- DUCKS score 84.8 PPG
- WILDCATS allow 42.7% from the floor
- DUCKS shoot 49.5%
- WILDCATS allow 35.3% from three
- DUCKS shoot 40.2%
- WILDCATS allow 39.7 rebounds
- DUCKS average 39.4
- WILDCATS average 8.3 assists/10.2 turnovers
(*all stats are from conference play)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
5’7, Guard, rSophomore
Almost half of Arizona’s 59.3 conference points per game are scored by their amazing point guard Aari McDonald. She is averaging 27.2 points in PAC-12 matchups and currently is women’s basketball third best scorer. Against top competition, McDonald has had big games:
- #19 ASU - 24 PTS
- Colorado - 32 PTS
- Utah - 34 PTS
- California - 36 PTS
- #6 Stanford - 17 PTS
- #10 Oregon State - 20 PTS
It’s worth noting that three out of these six games were losses despite McDonald's stellar performance. If Arizona wants to become a contender in the conference they'll have to find another point scorer to help McDonald, who is more than willing to pass the ball when the time is right.
6’2, Forward, Freshman
Starter Cate Reese appears to be a potential solution for the Wildcat's scoring problem. The freshman from Texas has scored in the double digits nine times this season and has tallied 20+ points in four of her starts.
Reese is also averaging 7.9 rebounds per game and connecting on .844% of her free throws. The real problem is her consistency, which is understandable for a true freshman. As of now she shoots .462% from the floor, but if she can improve on that, McDonald will certainly find a way to utilize another scoring threat.
Defense ➡️ offense and a perfect 2 on 1. pic.twitter.com/hHZwKiq8tS— Arizona Women's Basketball (@ArizonaWBB) January 19, 2019
As last night's game proved, even if a team is able to muddy up a game through strong, physical play, in the waning minutes you'll have to contain Ionescu, most likely without fouling her.
Does Arizona have a chance at slowing down Oregon's starters and winning a close game in Eugene? Sure. Just like Helfrich had a shot at winning the PAC-12 with Dakota Prukop.
Threat level 2 out of 15 triple-doubles