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Arizona women’s basketball finally returns to the court to try to sweep Oregon on ESPN2

Sam Thomas
Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona women’s basketball made its debut on the ESPN networks on Jan. 14 in a rout of the Oregon Ducks. On Monday, the No. 9 Wildcats return to the court on ESPN2 to try to complete their first sweep of Oregon since 2011.

The two teams have taken very similar paths since Arizona beat the defending Pac-12 champions 57-41 in Tucson. COVID-19 protocols in their programs and that of their opponents have caused a series of games to be scratched.

The No. 12 Ducks announced on Jan. 29 that they were on pause due to issues within their program. They would strike games against Colorado, Utah and Arizona State from their schedules.

The Wildcats announced the postponement of their Jan. 24 game against Colorado the day before it was scheduled, then went on to miss games against UCLA and USC the following weekend. As Arizona prepared to return to the court in the state of Oregon, the Oregon State Beavers announced their own COVID-19 issues, knocking a fourth straight game from the Wildcats’ schedule.

Each team will come into this match-up somewhat rusty, but the Ducks got a bit of a headstart on returning to the court. Although they had not emerged from COVID-19 protocol in time to play Arizona State on Friday, they added a non-conference game against UC Davis to the schedule for Saturday.

Oregon was anything but sharp in that game, escaping the Aggies 63-57. A win is a win, but they will have to start much better against the Wildcats to avoid a repeat of what happened to them in Tucson.

The Ducks came out shooting 21 percent from the floor in the first quarter against UC Davis. The team best known for its shooting hit just 27.8 percent of their shots from 3-point distance for the game.

Those numbers are very similar to the 16.67 percent Oregon opened with against Arizona, as well as the 27.3 percent they shot from 3-point land that day.

In Oregon’s favor, they have had much less time off the court than Arizona and have been in a competitive situation much more recently. As Arizona head coach Adia Barnes mentioned in her weekly press conference, the worst thing about the timing of Arizona’s quarantine was that the team had just really started clicking.

Can the Wildcats pick up right where they left off?

How to follow the action

  • Date/Time: Monday, Feb. 8 at 5 p.m. MST
  • Location: Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore.
  • TV: ESPN2
  • Radio: Derrick Palmer will have the call on KTUC 1400 AM or online at TuneIn
  • Stats: In-game stats are available on Arizona Live Stats
  • Twitter: Follow us at @AZDesertSwarm. You can also follow our editor at @RKelapire and our reporter at @KimDoss71 for coverage during the game and throughout the season.