Both basketball programs are trending the right direction, Gronk advances in the NFL playoffs, Foles Magic dies, one Arizona Softball player was selected to represent the USA, and lots, lots more in this week’s Wildcat Wrap.
Let’s dive into it.
- Junior catcher Dejah Mulipola was selected to the 2019 USA Softball National Team on Monday. Arizona alums Danielle O’Toole, Mo Mercado and Chelsea Goodacre tried out, but were not selected. Fans can see Mulipola and the rest of the team on Feb. 14 in the Hillenbrand Invitational. It will be the first game in a renovated Hillenbrand stadium.
- A few days after that, UA heads to Palm Springs for the Mary Nutter Classic, and an extra opponent was added to the schedule this week. The ‘Cats will face Team Japan in an exhibition on Feb. 23.
- Softball is having its first media availability of the season Monday, so expects lots of coverage throughout the week.
- Coach Adia Barnes has two wins over top-25 teams this season. For program longing for success, the 2018-19 season is looking a new beginning for Barnes’s program.
- On Friday night, UA (13-2, 3-1 Pac-12) hosted No. 24 ranked California, and with Aari McDonald leading the team with 36 points, the ‘Cats got the upset win 60-55.
- The scoring machine that is McDonald has not only begun to capture attention from Tucson media, but national media as well. She was named to the Wooden Award midseason top-25 list this week. She is the first UA Women’s player to be named to it since Shawntinice Polk did it 16 years ago. McDonald is doing things the program hasn’t seen, but her rapid success isn’t a surprise to her.
- With unexpected success, also comes reality checks that the program still has a ways to go before it can truly compete with the Pac-12’a elite.
- Sixth-ranked Stanford came to McKale on Sunday and did what many expect from them: dominate. The Cardinal got a stranglehold lead from the start and didn’t let go as they got the 78-48 win. McDonald just scored 17 points.
- Here is what we learned from the Cal and Stanford homestand.
- The road won’t get easier for the ‘Cats as they head to Oregon over the weekend to face two ranked teams. On Friday, UA faces No. 10 Oregon State and then No. 5 Oregon on Sunday.
- Former Arizona Baseball great Bobby Dalbec was one of 10 non-roster invitees to make the Boston Red Sox 2019 spring training roster. The third baseman is the sixth ranked prospect in Boston’s system.
- Nick Quintana was named third-team pre-season All-American by Perfect Game USA. Quintana hit .313, with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs last season.
- Arizona begins its season Feb. 15 at home against UMass Lowell.
- UA needed overtime to do it, but an Anthony Cusanelli goal got the ‘Cats a 4-3 win over UNLV on Saturday night. UA couldn’t get the sweep, losing 4-3 on Sunday. The ‘Cats are still sitting atop of the WCHL standings. UA hosts Oklahoma on Thursday and then welcome Central Oklahoma on Friday and Saturday. Those teams sit third and second respectively in the WCHL.
- Falls on the uneven parallel bars cost UA a win over No. 18 Arkansas, losing by a full point, 195.80-194.725. The GymCats host Washington on Friday.
- Haley Moore, who sank the putt to win the national title last summer, will be one of 72 women’s golfers to compete in the first annual Augusta National Women’s Amateur in April. The field is comprised of collegiate and amateur golfers. The event will take place a week before The Masters.
Track and Field
- Jordan Geist led the way in the season opener at the Northern Arizona Friday night duels for the ‘Cats by winning the shot put with a mark of 20.27m. His throw is currently the best in the NCAA and third in the world.
- Justice Summerset took first place in the high jump with a mark of 2.15m. Lilliam Lowe placed first in the women’s high jump with a 1.80m clearance.
- The team is in Iowa on Friday and Saturday for the Larry Wieczorek Invitational.
Women’s Swimming and Diving
- The ‘Cats broke in the new Hillenbrand Aquatics Center with a win over Washington State. Mackenzie Rumrill and Kirsten Jacobsen won two events to help UA get the 150-107 win over the Cougars. Stanford and California come to Tucson next weekend for dual meets.
- The women’s team picked up a pair of singles wins at the Collegiate Tennis Classic in Palm Springs, courtesy of Camila Wesbrooks and Marie Van Aelst, who defeated players from the University of San Diego. They will be back in California next weekend to compete in the Cal State Fullerton Invitational.
- The Wildcats participated in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in La Quinta, California and went 8-4 in singles matches and 6-2 in doubles matches, including two titles. Freshman Jonas Ziverts won the singles event in his first collegiate tournament, while the duo of senior Jonas Maier and freshman Conner Olsen went undefeated in doubles play.
- The tournament included players from the University of San Francisco, Pepperdine, UCLA and NC State. The Wildcats will be back in action when UC Riverside and Grand Canyon come to Tucson on Jan. 20.
- Neither midfielder Kennedy Kieneker nor goalkeeper Lainey Burdett were selected in the 2019 NWSL Draft. Burdett had a decent chance of becoming the first-ever Wildcat selected, so Ryan Kelapire caught up with her before the draft to get some insight on the process. She still has a chance to make the league as an undrafted free agent.
- UA picked up a road sweep of Stanford and Cal to improve to 13-4 overall and 4-0 in the Pac-12. Check out our basketball section for in-depth coverage from those victories.
- The first-place Wildcats host Oregon on Thursday and then Oregon State on Saturday. The Beavers, surprisingly, are 3-0 in the Pac-12. The Ducks are 1-2.
- KenPom now projects Arizona will share the Pac-12 title with Washington this year when all is said and done. UW and OSU are the only other unbeatens in the conference.
- Former UA assistant Book Richardson is reportedly entering a plea deal.
- The Pac-12 is bad right now, and Sean Miller had some thoughts on that.
- Arizona lost its offensive line coach Joe Gilbert, who left for the same position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- Arizona has the second-best odds to add Alabama QB Jalen Hurts via transfer.
- Defensive tackle PJ Johnson declared for the NFL Draft.
- Nick Foles Magic ended against the Saints on Sunday, losing 20-14 in the NFC divisional round. Meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots cruised past the Chargers, 41-28, to reach their eighth straight AFC championship game.
- A dead period is over, so expects lots of action on the recruiting trail soon.