(Tucson, AZ) The Cats came into this game undefeated, ranked #22 in the Coach’s Poll and riding high.
Enter the Highlanders from University of California – Riverside. In their last game, UCR fell to Weber State 64-54 and came into the contest with a 2-5 record.
Arizona led at the first media timeout 13-6 in part with denial defense and good shot selection. The Highlander’s shot only four times thanks to three Wildcat steals.
The hot shooting continued through the fist quarter with Aari McDonald jackknifing through the Riverside defense with layups.
Tara Manumaleuga hit a three pointer off the right wing as the buzzer sounded to give Arizona 22-6 lead after the first period.
The second quarter started slowly for both teams as there was only six points scored in the first three and a half minutes. Cats up 26-8.
The Wildcats slowly added to their lead however cold shooting and great defense by the Wildcats were the main factors.
Helena Pueyo hit a three pointer with fifty two seconds left but the Cats were only 3-14 from beyond the arc.
Arizona led 36-12 at the half. UC – Riverside had difficulty getting shots off as they went 3-15 (20%) and were 0-4 from three point land.
The Wildcat defense was on point as they caused eighteen turnovers and only committed four to go along with eight steals.
The first field goal came with 5:57 left in the third quarter by Mara Mote off the left baseline. She followed on the next possession with another three and McDonald finished with a layup. It took half the quarter to wake up the Cat offense.
The Highlanders got their first basket of the quarter at the 5:29 mark, by then Arizona had run off with a 12-2 run.
Mote was on fire from beyond the arc with her third three pointer of the quarter that gave Arizona a 54-14 advantage.
The Cats led 56-14 at the end of three quarters holding UCR to just one field goal in the entire period.
With the game a foregone conclusion, Coach Adia Barnes used thirteen players in today’s game. As the conference season approaches she’ll settle into a eight to nine player rotation.
Mote continued her hot hand going 4-5 from deep and became another weapon for this Wildcat team.
The Wildcats won going away 70-27. This was the lowest point total an Arizona teams has given up since February 1974 against NAU and since joining the PAC-10/12.
UC-Riverside had more turnovers (29) than points (27) in a game they were never in from the outset.
Barnes was pleased overall with the intensity from her starters and with the big advantage of having a deep bench this year, Amari Carter was able to rest her tight hamstring and Tee Tee Starks is still on the mend awaiting PAC-12 conference play.
Today’s attendance was 4,417 which shows how much this Wildcat team has caught the eye of Tucson.
Next game is December 2nd against Monmouth University. Tip off is at 6:30 pm at McKale Center.