It might have been their worst game of the season. Arizona women’s basketball lost by more points to USC, but that was a midweek makeup game in an empty gym with two missing starters. They also lost by more to Stanford, but that’s Stanford in Maples Pavilion. Losing by four to ASU with at least half of the crowd rooting for the Wildcats was in a different category.
A loss is something no one likes, but it’s something the Wildcats can live with if they play well. Against the Sun Devils on Friday night, they did not play well and they did not play together. It put them in a hole of as many as 14 points. That they came back to take a fourth-quarter lead is a testament to not giving up, but the stats say that the game was lost far earlier than that by not playing as a team.
“It’s just trying to do it all by ourselves one-on-one, not rotating the ball,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said. “Things that we’re usually pretty good at we were not good at it today, and we lost and we deserved to lose.”
Through most of the game, the Wildcats did not share the ball, they took bad shots, they let ASU vacuum up every rebound in the gym, and they didn’t defend well. They also made poor decisions, like the technical foul that the usually even-keeled Helena Pueyo got for bouncing the ball high off the court after a late foul was called.
It all came together in a display that Barnes was not willing to see happen again.
“You won’t see the same stuff from who’s gonna play on the floor (on Sunday),” Barnes said. “And if that means we’re gonna play different people, we are because this is unacceptable. This is not a team I’m gonna coach. This isn’t acceptable for me. So we won’t play like this. If we’re gonna lose, it’s gonna be a different way.”
Even if Arizona doesn’t play its best game, it would be a shock to see ASU be as successful as they were in Desert Financial Arena. The game was an outlier as far as their season has gone.
“In every statistical category, they’re extremely above their average,” Barnes said after the game in Tempe. “And I think we never responded.”
Can they respond on Sunday?
Arizona State (12-8, 4-3) @ No. 6 Arizona (17-4, 7-4)
When and where: The game tips off at 12 p.m. MST on Sunday, Feb. 13 at McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.
TV: The game will air on Pac-12 Network and Pac-12 Arizona. Cindy Brunson (play-by-play) and Joan Bonvicini (analyst) will be on the call.
Stats: In-game stats will be available at Arizona Live Stats.
ASU is not ranked in either major poll. The Sun Devils are No. 40 in the NET and No. 60 in the HHS ranking
Home and away: The Wildcats are 10-0 at home. The Sun Devils are 1-4 on the road.
Standings: ASU is in fifth place in the Pac-12 with a 4-3 record. Arizona is third with a 7-4 record.
Projections: Her Hoop Stats gives the Wildcats an 87.4 percent win probability in McKale Center. The model predicts 64.3 points for Arizona and 52.2 points for Arizona State.
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