(Tucson, AZ) Comimg Over to the Left Coast, this year’s Wildcat team had a little revenge on their mind. The Aztecs under Head Coach Stacie Terry came into McKale Center last year and took down Arizona.
Both teams went back and forth for the first five minutes, but a three pointer by Najé Murray followed by a bucket by Mallory Adams put the Aztecs up 11-5 at the media timeout,
Out of the timeout Najé Murray hit another three pointer to extend the lead to 14-5.
Arizona’s points came off a three pointer by Aari McDonald and a bucket from Sam Thomas off the wing.
Cold shooting during the quarter plagued the Cats but Bryce Nixon hits a three at the 1:40 mark to make the score 17-8.
The Wildcats clawed back hitting two three’s to close out the first quarter trailing 19-13.
Aari McDonald led the Cats with 6 points in the opening stanza. Rebounds were even at nine.
TheAztec’s strength was in the paint outscoring Arizona 8-4. Najé Murray led SDSU with ten of the team’s nineteen points.
Second quarter the Aztecs kept attacking the basket and although this year’s Zona Team has size, SDSU has the experience.
The Cats started to find their range and came roaring back and closed the gap to 32-29 off a key three pointer by Lucia Alonso at the 2:25 mark in the half.
The Aztecs reasserted themselves off Wildcat missed shots to close the half on a 5-2 run to lead 37-31 going into the locker room.
After going scoreless in the first half, Cate Reese score the first basket of the third quarter.
Dominique McBryde’s put back off a missed three drew the Cats back within 38-35.
Reese ties the game at 41-41 at the 6:43 mark as the Wildcats are spreading the ball around better.
Out of the media timeout Aztecs led 45-43, but Alonso hits a three to give the Cats their first lead 46-45 at the 3:50 mark in the third quarter.
Aztec’s Sophia Ramos hits a three after a pair of free throws by McDonald and tied he game back 48-48 with a 1:40 left in the quarter.
The quarter ended with an Alonso three pointer and a 52-50 lead for Arizona as she went 2-2 from beyond the arc.
McDonald stole the ball and went coast to coast to put Zona up by four 54-50 to start the final quarter.
The three started flying around the four minute mark as McDonald and Alonso both hitting and the Cats opened up a 64-55 lead with 2:20 left.
The Aztecs tried to match them from downtown with a bomb from Murray to draw the players from Montezuma Mesa 67-58.
The Cats slammed the door to this chapter and won 69-60 and improve to 7-1.
McDonald had 29 points and Alonso ended up with 15 points all from behind the arc.
This day, the new and improved Arizona Wildcats were just too much down the stretch for the Aztecs.
You could see the difference a year makes and the strides that this program has taken, but according to Barnes, “there’s still a ways to go and these athletes still need to know how to win.”
The momentum of this win will serve the young Cats well going up the road to Long Beach State next game.
Arizona 31 38 69
SDSU 37 23 60