The Arizona Wildcats hoped they could follow up their upset of Cal with an inspiring performance against another ranked team, but all they got was a 30-point drubbing instead.
The sixth-ranked Stanford Cardinal walloped the Wildcats 78-48 on Sunday in McKale Center, winning their 32nd game in 33 tries against Arizona.
The game was so lopsided Adia Barnes apologized to the media as she wrapped up her postgame interview.
“That was brutal to watch,” the UA coach said. “We played a great game Friday and we played like crap today.”
Arizona point guard Aari McDonald had scored 30 or more points in three straight games entering Sunday, but the Cardinal (14-1, 4-0) held her to 17 points on 6-of-22 shooting. She missed all six 3s she hoisted.
Stanford’s Alanna Smith had 20 points, 15 rebounds, and seven blocks, deterring several of McDonald’s drives.
“Everybody was in the paint, they had hands on balls, she could barely turn the corner,” Barnes said of McDonald, who had bigger defenders draped all over her. “But a lot of the shots she missed she usually makes.”
With McDonald kept at bay (for her standards), the UA offense struggled to manufacture enough offense to keep the game close. Arizona (13-3, 3-2) shot 27 percent, McDonald being the lone Wildcat in double figures.
Barnes continued to harp on Arizona’s need to be more balanced offensively.
“We can’t rely on Aari to score 30 points,” she said. “It’s just not realistic and it’s not how you’re going to win long term.”
Tenacious defense has been Arizona’s hallmark this season, but the Cardinal carved it up inside and out. Stanford poured in 13 3s and outscored the Wildcats 30-16 in the paint, shooting 44 percent for the game.
Stanford led 21-12 at the end of the first quarter and extended its lead to 44-16 at the half. Arizona only scored four points in the second quarter. Stanford then opened the third quarter on a 10-1 run to erase any thought of a UA comeback.
“I don’t care if we’re not scoring, you can control your defense,” Barnes said. “People are going to hit shots, that’s going to happen but I felt like they got shots because of our mental lapses. So not switching on time, not sitting in the paint when someone’s stepping out for 3, those are the mental lapses we can’t have against a great team. So that’s a learning lesson.”
To Barnes’ liking, Arizona battled until the end, winning the fourth quarter, 21-16. The 2,686 in attendance appreciated it too, staying in their seats to support the Wildcats until the final whistle.
“I felt like we didn’t give up, but we didn’t play really hard or play our game until a couple minutes into the fourth quarter,” Barnes said. “But credit to Stanford. They really had us on our heels, hitting shots, making us pay if we didn’t switch fast, and they shot the ball really well. I felt like in the first half they got any shot they wanted. I felt like we got good looks, but normally the shots we make weren’t falling. It was brutal.”
It won’t get any easier for the Wildcats, who will face two more ranked teams on the road next weekend in No. 10 Oregon State and No. 5 Oregon.
Barnes was obviously disappointed how Arizona fared Sunday after a rousing win Friday, but still likes where her team stands through five conference games.
After all, a 3-2 Pac-12 record isn’t so bad for a team picked to finish 10th in the conference.
“It’s not ideal to get our butts kicked before going into Oregon, but what are you going to do?,” she said. “This is the Pac-12. You gotta have amnesia, we gotta move on, but we have to get better in a lot of areas. We have to get better offensive flow, we have to not always rely on Aari because there’s going to be nights when Aari is going to play like this. But when you’re a good team, you find other ways and you step up.”
Here’s Adia Barnes after Arizona Women's Basketball’s blowout loss to StanfordPosted by AZ Desert Swarm on Sunday, January 13, 2019