Lack of intensity. Poor transition defense. Bad free throw shooting. An inability to hit the outside shot. It all piled up for the Arizona Wildcats in a 72-65 loss to the Colorado Buffaloes.
“I think we’ve got no sense of urgency on defense,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said. “Just lack of energy and focus.”
Arizona allowed Colorado to shoot over 43.6 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from the 3-point line.
“Our lack of defense, I think was the main thing from the get-go,” Barnes said.
The Wildcats failed to capitalize on their free throws, hitting just 10 of 20 from the line. Both Shaina Pellington and Lauren Fields missed all of their free throws, with Pellington going 0-4 and Fields at 0-2.
Arizona was also cold from outside, hitting 5 of 19 from beyond the arc while allowing the Buffs to hit 7 of 15. Five of those Colorado outside shots were by Frida Formann who missed only three of her eight 3-pointers despite playing just 20 minutes due to foul trouble.
While her team struggled, Cate Reese showed up ready to play. The fifth-year forward ended the night with 14 points on 5-for-10 shooting. She also grabbed nine rebounds and had one assist and a steal.
Reese was critical to getting the Wildcats back into the game after a poor first quarter left them trailing 18-8. She had seven points, four rebounds, and an assist in the second quarter to get Arizona within two at the end of the half.
Reese was one of four to score in double figures. She was joined by Jade Loville (12 points), Madi Conner (12 points), and Pellington (12 points).
“Cate played a really good game and Madi was a spark off the bench, but I think collectively as a team, we continue to have a slow start and it’s hurting us,” Barnes said.
Neither Pellington nor Loville were on the court to finish the game. Pellington fouled out with 2:10 left in the game and a one-point Arizona lead. Loville would join her with just seven seconds left to play.
“I think we had some tough calls that shifted the momentum down the stretch,” Barnes said.
Colorado was led by Formann with 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting. She was joined in double figures by Quay Miller (13), Aaronette Vonleh (12), and Kendyll Wetta (10).
Arizona now travels to Salt Lake City to take on the No. 10 Utah Utes on Sunday. Colorado is done for the week after ASU forfeited both games this weekend due to not having enough healthy scholarship players available.