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Helena Pueyo leads Arizona women’s basketball to win over San Diego

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: NOV 18 Women’s Loyola Marymount at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona women’s basketball went into the second straight game without starting point guard Shaina Pellington. After leaning on Kailyn Gilbert and Madi Conner in the first game, they went to Helena Pueyo and Maya Nnaji in the second to defeat San Diego 86-60 on Saturday.

Pueyo scored a career-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting including connecting on all three of her 3-point shots. She added five rebounds, four assists, a block, and four steals.

Freshman post Nnaji also had a career high with 17 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting. She added seven rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

The pair were two of four Wildcats in double figures. Jade Loville had 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with four rebounds and an assist.

Gilbert had her second straight game in double figures. The freshman guard scored 10 points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out two assists, and picked off two steals.

Esmery Martinez once again led the Wildcats in rebounds. The forward narrowly missed another double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. She added a block and a steal to her stat line.

The Toreros kept it close for the first six minutes of the game. At 4:06, Arizona’s lead was just two points after Gilbert hit a pair of free throws to put the Wildcats up 10-8. San Diego would not score again in the quarter. Gilbert’s free throws were the beginning of a 10-0 run that built an 18-8 lead after the first 10 minutes.

USD got as close as five points in the second quarter, but UA once again went on a run to put space between the two teams. At the end of the half, the lead had grown to 15.

The Toreros whittled away at the lead, but couldn’t get closer than 14 points in the fourth quarter. Nnaji gave the Wildcats their biggest lead when she hit her only 3-point shot with 1:49 left in the game. It put Arizona ahead 84-54.

Arizona moves to 6-0 on the season while USD falls to 4-3. The Wildcats next play when they travel to Albuquerque to face New Mexico on Sunday, Dec. 4. Their next game in McKale Center is against Kansas on Dec. 8.