clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

No. 15 Arizona falls to No. 2 Stanford to end tough three-game stretch

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 02 Women’s Arizona at Stanford Photo by Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sometimes the opening minutes of a game tell the story of the day. Sometimes they are just a false promise. For the Arizona Wildcats, it was a case of the latter as they fell to Stanford 73-57 in a game that wasn’t aesthetically pleasing for either team.

Both teams shot under 40 percent for the game with Stanford hitting 38.7 percent and Arizona hitting 35.8 percent. It wasn’t any better from 3-point distance where the Cardinal went 5 for 25 (20.0 percent) and the Wildcats went 2 for 13 (15.4 percent).

Free-throw shooting was a mixed bag. Late in the third quarter, the free-throw disparity stood at 27-1 in Stanford’s favor. Arizona finally started getting some and-1 calls at the end of the third quarter and into the fourth. The game ended with the Wildcats hitting a higher percentage (77.8) of their free throws than Stanford (58.8) but losing the battle of free-throw attempts 34-9.

In addition to the points given up on free throws, the Wildcats were also bleeding points on second chances. They lost the rebounding battle 53-33 overall and 23-14 on the offensive boards. Stanford’s 23 offensive boards helped it to 20 second-chance points.

Those two areas were the difference in the game according to Arizona head coach Adia Barnes.

“Rebounds and fouling,” Barnes said. “And I’m not saying we weren’t fouling a lot, but for them to shoot 34 free throws and us to shoot nine, that’s a lot.”

Arizona came out hot. The Wildcats hit three of their first six shots. Meanwhile, the Cardinal couldn’t score.

Stanford didn’t put the ball through the hoop until 6:14 on the clock. In the meantime, the Cardinal turned the ball over five times while only putting up three shots and Haley Jones picked up two fouls.

It had to be encouraging for Arizona initially, but it turned out to be a mirage. Stanford found its rhythm. The officials stopped blowing whistles on that end of the court. And the Wildcats stopped forcing turnovers.

After a competitive 19-15 first quarter, Stanford stormed through a 17-7 second quarter that gave it control of the game. That would ultimately be the difference in the game.

Part of the difference came down to personnel. Arizona’s Cate Reese picked up two quick fouls at the beginning of the second quarter. Reese went to the bench with the Wildcats trailing by four points.

With the depth and talent in the Stanford frontcourt, losing the most experienced post on the Wildcats’ team was bound to hurt. When Barnes put Reese back in the game with 3:16 left in the half, the Cardinal had added five offensive rebounds to their totals and had a 10-point lead. Stanford ended the game with 23 offensive rebounds.

“You can’t give up so many offensive rebounds and win,” Barnes said.

The Wildcats put things together in the third quarter. They hit 8 of their 16 shots to give them 19 points in the period. They lost the quarter again, but it was by a mere 21-19 margin. The two teams tied with 16 points each in the final period.

Arizona had three players in double figures. Jade Loville (12) led the team. Madi Conner and Helena Pueyo had 10 points each.

“Three games in five days after Christmas is not ideal,” Barnes said. “Just a tough situation.”