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Cate Reese has another big game, but Arizona loses to No. 5 Oregon

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Cate Reese scored 16 points, but the Arizona Wildcats were blown out 93-60 by No. 5 Oregon on Sunday, their third straight loss.

It has been a brutal 10-day stretch for the Wildcats, who have faced four straight top-25 teams and three straight top-10 teams.

Sunday’s game against the Oregon Ducks (16-1, 5-0 Pac-12) completed that stretch, and the Wildcats (13-5, 3-4 Pac-12) got off to the worst start imaginable, trailing 31-4 at the end of the first quarter.

Oregon came out more than ready, scoring the first 20 points of the game. That was expected on the offensive end. After all, the Ducks are second in the country in points per game (88.8) and points per 100 possessions (123.4).

The Ducks’ defense hasn’t always been on the same level as their offense, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell Sunday. They kept the Wildcats off the board until Semaj Smith put the ball through the hoop with 3:22 left in the first quarter. The only other points in the quarter came on a two-pointer from Aari McDonald.

Arizona could have gone away. There were plenty of excuses. The schedule. Being on the road. Losing Lucia Alonso to an ankle injury in the first quarter.

But the Wildcats fought back.

The second quarter started off with a three-pointer from McDonald. The Wildcats picked it up both offensively and defensively to outscore the Ducks 16-13 in the second quarter, trimming the deficit to 44-23 at the half.

“They were just more aggressive than us,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves told the Pac-12 Network about the second quarter.

The Ducks didn’t help themselves on the defense during that period, racking up the fouls.

Sabou Satally scored 23 of her 25 points in the first half. She was especially effective from beyond the arc, where she went 5 for 7. Foul trouble limited her from there.

Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu had her 16th career triple double, the most in NCAA history, with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Four of the five Ducks’ starters scored in double figures.

For Arizona, it was once again McDonald leading the way, with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. The Wildcat point guard had even more put on her plate when Alonso injured her ankle early in the game. Alonso went to the bench and wore a boot for the rest of the game.

McDonald had three assists for the game, but should have had several more. She delivered several balls to her teammates, but they were unable to knock down the shots.

Reese, who scored 18 points against Oregon State on Friday, had her second straight double-digit game in Pac-12 play. The freshman forward went 6 for 12 from the field to go along with six rebounds. McDonald and Reese tied for the team lead with three steals each.

Alonso’s injury allowed the rest of the bench to get additional experience against a high-caliber opponent. Smith took full advantage. Her six points in 15 minutes were the most she has seen in a Pac-12 game. She also led the team with six rebounds.

The Wildcats will take the lessons learned from this difficult stretch into a more manageable portion of the schedule. They return home to face USC (10-6, 0-5 Pac-12) and UCLA (9-8, 2-3 Pac-12) next week.