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Arizona women’s basketball shares the wealth in easy win over ASU

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 29 Women’s Arizona State at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TEMPE—If there were complaints about rotations and playing time after Arizona’s loss to Utah last week, there should be none after its 80-67 victory over Arizona State. The Wildcats never trailed while playing all 11 healthy players on the roster. Ten of the 11 players scored.

“Very important,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said about playing her bench. “That’s why sometimes I had to be a little bit patient because it was ugly. And we weren’t able to run some good offense, but the importance was getting everybody time and experience which I think will pay dividends later.”

The scoring started with Jade Loville, playing in Desert Financial Arena for the first time since transferring from ASU to Arizona, hitting a pretty mid-range jumper. Barnes said that the return didn’t concern Loville due to the fifth-year guard’s focus.

The Wildcats allowed the Sun Devils to tie it in the first quarter, but the game was never closer than four points after that. Arizona led by as many as 17.

Arizona was led by Esmery Martinez who had a double-double by the third quarter. She ended with 13 points, 15 rebounds (seven on the offensive end), one assist, and one block.

“The last three or four games, she’s been in foul trouble every game,” Barnes said. “So, this is one of the first games where she could play minutes without having to step out with fouls. And so I think that enabled her to be on the court. Seven offensive rebounds is a lot, and she did a good job of converting some of them.”

The Wildcats had four others in double figures. Madi Conner had a team-high 16 points, Shaina Pellington finished with 13, Kailyn Gilbert had 12, and Loville ended with 11.

“[Madi] gave us some big buckets,” Barnes said. “I think defensively took a couple of chances, and we have to correct some of that.”

Helena Pueyo also had a strong all-around game despite not scoring in double figures. The senior had five points, eight rebounds, a team-high four assists, two blocks, and one steal.

The Wildcats limited Tyi Skinner, the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer with 20.5 points per game, to eight points. Skinner was able to get her teammates involved with a game-high six assists, though.

“I felt Skinner really manhandled us in the first game,” Barnes said. “I think she’s a really good player, and I think she did a really good job of making big shots at the end of the shot clock. And it was Shaina’s responsibility to not let her get a lot of open looks and know that she takes deep threes...I thought she did a really good job on her ball pressure.”

Treasure Hunt had a career high 24 points for the Sun Devils.

It was the 125th win of Barnes’ head coaching career, something Cate Reese pointed out to the media.