For the first time in a while, the Washington women’s basketball team was in the game in the final minutes. With 4:44 left, it was tied at 51-51 between the UW and Arizona. It came down to former Husky Aari McDonald, who was too quick and active on both offense and defense as Arizona came out on top in a 69-59 victory.
The Wildcats (15-7, 5-6 Pac-12) pulled away and secured the win over the Huskies (8-16, 1-11 Pac-12) after three full quarters of back-and-forth scoring and aggressive defense.
“It was a physical game,” head coach Jody Wynn said. “Honestly I’m just proud of our effort, our sustained effort that we had throughout the game.”
To start the game the Huskies were in a full court press in effort to slow McDonald for the Wildcats. With Arizona playing in-your-face defense, the Dawgs struggled getting the ball inside and had to settle for outside shots, finishing the first quarter 3-for-6 from beyond the three-point line.
“Right now that is all we can ask for,” Wynn said. “That focused intensity and playing harder than our opponent.”
Going into the second quarter the Dawgs trailed by three and switched up their defense, going into a zone. Both teams struggled with turnovers however, with a combined 27 in the first half. By halftime, both teams at the end of the first half had more turnovers than made shots, and Arizona led 28-25.
“For the most part I thought that the effort was there,” Wynn said. “We were pretty locked in and as a coach we just have to be proud of that.”
The third quarter started off in favor of the Huskies, who took the lead and forced Arizona to call an early timeout. The rest of the quarter was sloppy for both teams, but the Wildcats fought their way back in front. Going into the final 10 minutes of play, Arizona had a 46-44 lead.
Melgoza finished the game with 24 points, while freshman forward Darcy Rees had 13.
“I thought Darcy did a really nice job of commanding a presence down low,” Wynn said. “Amber shot the ball really well today.”
For Arizona, McDonald led the way with 24 points, followed by sophomore forward Sam Thomas’ 15.
“It definitely felt good to be back in Seattle,” McDonald said. “I haven’t been here in almost [two] years... Obviously, I still love the Seattle fans, and it’s good to be back.”
Sophomore guard Missy Peterson left the game late in the second quarter and did not return for the remainder of the game due to a concussion she sustained after an elbow to the face.
Then, with five minutes left in the game, freshman guard T.T. Watkins was injured away from the ball. She returned to the bench moments after being helped off but did not go back into the game. Wynn said that the fear is a head injury and she was held out for precautionary reasons.
Reach reporter Madison MacPhee at email@example.com . Twitter: @madison_macphee
Like what you’re reading? Support high-quality student journalism by donating here.