TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona women’s basketball team opened the 2017-18 season with a win against Iona in McKale Center on Friday afternoon by a score of 71-58. Adia Barnes is now 2-0 in season openers as head coach of the Wildcats.
"We worked really well, better than I initially anticipated,” Barnes said. “Yesterday we had a really rough practice, and I was thinking to myself, 'this is how we're going to practice before a game?’ But, I think we got all of our turnovers out of the way in practice. I thought we showed some really good things today. Things that we have been working on in practice, they were able to apply to the game and at times there were some really fun actions and it looked really good."
Marlee Kyles was a huge spark off the bench for the Wildcats as she led the team with 17 points. She also crashed the glass by grabbing six boards, which was the second-most on the team.
Sam Thomas played 39 minutes and did not disappoint. She was efficient scoring 10 points on six shots while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds and had three blocks and two steals.
Kat Wright got going in the scoring department as she poured in 13 points, seven of them coming from the free throw line as she was a perfect 7-7 from the stripe.
The Wildcats shot well from the floor as they knocked down 44% of their jumpers (22-50) and 85% of their free throws (22-26). Destiny Graham was especially efficient as she scored 15 points on 5-8 shooting.
It was a bit of a slow start for the Wildcats in the first quarter, but six-straight points by Wright and Kyles tied things up at 14 apiece heading into the second quarter, where Arizona would get things rolling. Five different Wildcats scored in the second quarter to give them a 30-20 edge heading into halftime.
Arizona came out strong again at the start of the third quarter as they started it off with an 11-3 run thanks to some balanced scoring and tenacious defense. Iona got things going in the fourth quarter as they cut the lead to eight with under two minutes left, but Arizona was able to hold on for the victory.