A motived Arizona Wildcats (14-2, 12-2 Pac-12) team celebrated Senior Day by raining down 12 three-pointers on the way to a 75-53 win at the McKale Center on Sunday.
“Arizona caught fire from beyond the arc today and credit to them for stepping up and knocking down those shots,” Husky coach Jody Wynn said. “Twelve of 16 is outstanding. They are a very disruptive defensive team with good experience and will be a very dangerous team in the NCAA Tournament.”
The 10th-ranked Wildcats are chasing their first NCAA bid since 2005 and wanted to send their trio of seniors – Trinity Baptiste, Aari McDonald and Sam Thomas – out on a high note. The trio combined for 47 points, led by McDonald and Thomas’ 20-point efforts. Thomas was 6 of 8 from 3-point distance on the way to tallying a season-high scoring total, while McDonald had eight assists and three steals to go along with her 20 points.
“Sam was aggressive,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “She was looking for her shot, feeling it. We know Sam is always going to be constant and consistent on her defense. But when she is looking for her shot and she’s hitting them, we’re just a better team overall.”
The Wildcats shot 75 percent (12 of 16) from distance and 55 percent overall. Besides hitting from distance consistently, they got out and ran the floor well, racing to a 19-1 fast-break scoring advantage.
While it was ultimately Arizona’s day, the Huskies (5-11, 2-11 Pac-12) had some very strong individual performances, leaving Wynn pleased with her team’s effort.
“I think our women battled, stayed aggressive and fought until the end,” she said.
Sophomore Quay Miller fell just short of a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds, while junior Haley Van Dyke continued her great run with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Senior Khayla Rooks added nine points in what could be her final appearance in an arena that her dad, Sean, was so instrumental in helping establish as one of the toughest venues to play.
Alexis Griggsby added eight points and Nia Lowery had four – all in the fourth quarter. Darcy Rees came off the bench to contribute five points.
The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a Griggsby jumper, but it proved to be the only lead of the day for UW. McDonald answered by converting a pair of breakaway layups to set the tone and give the Wildcats a lead they would never relinquish.
Arizona led 19-9 after the first quarter and 37-24 at halftime. They shot 63.6 percent overall in the half, including 6 of 7 from 3-point range.
The Wildcats cooled off in the second half, but would run their lead up to as much as 20 points in the third quarter before settling for a 17 point advantage heading to the final 10 minutes.
In the fourth, Arizona would go on a 9-0 run to take their largest advantage of 26 points, 71-45, before the Huskies answered with a 6-0 spurt, thanks by a three-point shot from Rooks and a three-point play by Miller.
The Huskies conclude the home portion of their schedules this week by hosting Utah on Friday, Feb. 19 (7:00 p.m.) and Colorado on Sunday, Feb. 21 (2:00 p.m.)