Cats fall in Pac-12 opener

Cats fall in Pac-12 opener

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona Wildcats (9-3, 0-1 Pac-12) dropped their first conference game of the season to No. 21 California (13-0, 1-0 Pac-12) by a score of 74-64 on Thursday night at McKale Center.

“I was happy with our start because that is what we focused on in practice all week,” head coach Adia Barnes said. “We played hard tonight and a lot of the things we need to work on are fixable. I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but there are things we can fix and we continue to get better.”

LaBrittney Jones was Arizona’s most productive player as she scored a game-high and a season-high 24 while pulling down six rebounds. This is the fourth time this season she has scored 20+ points and it is the seventh time in her career.

Malena Washington poured in 13 points of her own while dishing out a game-high seven assists, which is a season high and also ties her career high.

The game got off to a roaring start as the two teams scored a combined 19 points in the first three minutes of the game. At the end of the first quarter, Cal led Arizona by a score of 19-17. The 17 Wildcat points is the most Arizona has scored in the first quarter all season.

Cal turned it up on the defensive end in the second quarter as they forced Arizona to shoot just 23% and allowed nine points. The Golden Bears would take a 36-26 lead into halftime.

Arizona had another good third quarter as they outscored Cal 22-19. The Wildcats finished the period especially strong as they made five of their final six shots and scored 12 points in the final three minutes and 10 seconds.

Cal went on a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter, but Arizona would battle all the way to the end. The Wildcats would cut it to seven with just under three minutes remaining, but the Golden Bears were able to sustain their lead for the rest of the game.

It’ll be another quick turnaround for Arizona as they will face the 13th-ranked Stanford Cardinal on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. MST in McKale Center.