There was nothing good that came out of Friday’s loss to Stanford except the fact that it was over. The Arizona Wildcats could now move on to restore their confidence against the winless California Golden Bears. And, boy, did they ever.
“I think that it was huge for us, because the way that we lost, the manner in which we lost,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said. “Stanford is better right now, but they’re not 30 points better.”
The Wildcats dominated every facet of the game on the way to 69-33 victory over the Bears on Sunday afternoon. It was the program’s fewest points ever allowed in a Pac-12 game. The previous record was 39 points scored by Arizona State in 2018.
Cal’s 13 made field goals tied Arizona’s program record for fewest field goals by an opponent in a game. The Bears join Oregon State in 2000 and ASU in 2018 with that honor.
Regaining confidence after their first loss was important, but it wasn’t the only thing on Cate Reese’s mind. There were some old scores to settle.
“I would say for me personally, last year they came in and they kind of embarrassed us on our home floor,” Reese said. “And that was definitely something we did not want to allow to happen this year. And just knowing that we did lose on Friday, and that we have to be able to bounce back from hard games and difficult times and just all that stuff were factors. And I think that that really helped us to motivate us to be ready for this game today.”
Trinity Baptiste had a breakout game, leading the team in scoring with 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting. She added four rebounds, an assist and two steals.
Reese, her front court teammate, wasn’t too far behind with 14 points on 7-for-9 shooting. She had three rebounds and a block, as well.
“We should always get the ball inside,” Barnes said. “For them to be...15-for-18, that’s a really great stat.”
Aari McDonald continued her double-digit scoring streak with 12 points, but her impact was bigger than just her points. McDonald added eight assists, three rebounds and six steals.
“I thought Aari played a phenomenal game,” Barnes said. “It’s not all about only scoring 30 points, but she led. She enabled us to score 30 points. So she had 12 points and a couple got taken away off for like a turnover, an offensive foul. So she would have had 18. But if we see Aari had 12 points, eight assists, six steals. I mean, that’s a phenomenal stat line. And the two turnovers? I don’t feel like they were turnovers.”
There were some minor doubts coming into the game. What was Arizona’s mindset after the loss to Stanford? Was Cal feeling confident or deflated after their close loss to ASU on Friday?
Those questions were quickly answered as the Wildcats rushed out to a 7-0 lead to start the game. Cal couldn’t do anything against Arizona, scoring only four points and turning over the ball 11 times in the first quarter.
There was more of the same in the second quarter. Cal made just two field goals. They added two free throws for six points in the quarter, heading into the half with just 10 points.
The Bears were a bit more effective in the second half, but the Wildcats’ defense still held them to just 23 points while scoring 30 on the offensive end.
Arizona goes on the road to face Washington and Washington State next week.