Pac-12 women’s basketball rarely deviates from its usual Friday-Sunday schedule, but pandemic times require everyone to be more flexible. UCLA had to postpone its game against Arizona that was supposed to happen the opening week of Pac-12 play. The two teams will finally meet up on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion in just the second event that has allowed spectators this month.
Initially, the addition of the game was going to force the Wildcats to play five games in 10 days with the final three being on the road. The postponement of Friday’s game at California has removed that burden. Head coach Adia Barnes was more concerned about playing the games, though.
“I’m in complete favor of rescheduling,” she said at the beginning of the month. “We want to play games. I don’t want my team sitting here for almost a month not playing.”
For UCLA, the need to play games goes back to the 25-game requirement the NCAA has for teams to qualify for the tournament. The Bruins have played only 13 games this year due to COVID-19 issues within their program and others. They cannot reach the 25-game limit until their first game in the Pac-12 Tournament even if every game left on their schedule proceeds as scheduled.
UCLA has other looming problems. They are once again saddled with injuries this year. Last year, they played most of the year with only seven players due to injuries and opt-outs. The issue continues.
In their last game against USC, the Bruins were briefly down to five available players after star Charisma Osbourne left the game with an injury. The team has recently been playing without point guard Jaelynn Penn due to injury. They may face Arizona with the minimum of seven available players on Wednesday.
The last time the two teams met was in last year’s Pac-12 Tournament semifinals. The Bruins walked away with the 58-49 win in which the Wildcats didn’t score double digits in either of the first two quarters and only scored 11 in the third.
That could be a concern in this one given the slow start Arizona had against Colorado at home on Sunday. The Wildcats got down by as many as 12 in the first half of that game before rushing back to the big win.
UCLA also got the weekend sweep last week, winning both of their rivalry games against USC.
No. 8 Arizona (14-2, 4-2) @ UCLA (9-4, 4-1)
When and where: The game will tip off at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, Calif. at 6 p.m. MST on Wednesday, Jan. 26.
TV: The game will air on Pac-12 Network, Pac-12 Arizona, and Pac-12 Los Angeles.
UCLA is receiving two points (one vote for No. 24) in the AP Top 25 and four points in the coaches poll to land on both “others receiving votes” lists. The Bruins are No. 41 in the NET and No. 41 according to Her Hoop Stats.
Projections: Her Hoop Stats gives the Wildcats a 62.6 percent win probability at Pauley Pavilion and predicts 63.6 points for Arizona against 60.2 for UCLA.
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