NO. 6 STANFORD 78, ARIZONA 48 Cardinal romp, stop nation’s highest scorer
TUCSON — The Arizona women’s basketball program is in the midst of a resurgence. The Wildcats had beaten two ranked teams in a row at home. Then No. 6 Stanford came to town and restored the natural order of things in the Pac-12.
Alanna Smith scored 20 points, DiJonai Carrington added 19 and the Cardinal rolled past Arizona 78-48 on Sunday to complete a two-game Pac-12 sweep in the desert.
“They’re tough. They play really well, smart,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said, “and they exploit every weakness that you have as a team.”
Smith made four 3-pointers, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked seven shots for the Cardinal, who turned the game into a rout with a 27-0 run at the end of the first half and the start of the second.
“Everyone’s a weapon, everyone’s a threat,” Smith said. “That’s what makes it easy for us offensively because it opens the floor, it spreads it out. We’re driving in and make pitches to anybody — easy money.”
Arizona’s Aari McDonald, who entered the game as the nation’s leading scorer at 26 points per game, scored 17 but was 6-for-22 from the field and missed all six attempts from 3-point range.
“Aari McDonald is a terrific player,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said. “We tried to guard by committee and have a lot of people on her.”
The Wildcats shot 26 percent, 5-for-21 on 3s, and had to pick up the pace in the final quarter to bring up the percentage.
“They made Aari really work and take tough shots,” Barnes said. “That’s what’s going to happen. She was leading the country in scoring. She’s one of the best guards in the country, so we have to find a way to get two or three more people to score.”
Stanford (14-1, 4-0 Pac-12), meanwhile, shot 44 percent and was 13-for-31 on 3s.
Arizona (13-3, 3-2) had beaten ranked opponents — Arizona State and Cal — in its past two home games, but the Wildcats were no match for Stanford.
The Cardinal led by as many as 38 in beating the Wildcats for the 32nd time in their past 33 meetings.
Arizona shot 19 percent (7-for-36) in the first half, making 2 of 15 shots in the second quarter, when the Wildcats were outscored 23-4. Stanford made 9 of 12 shots in the second quarter, including 5 of 6 3-point tries.
“We pride ourselves on our defense,” Smith said. “That’s something Stanford’s done for years and years. Especially in this game, you’ve got to pride yourself in getting stops.”
Stanford guard DiJonai Carrington goes for a layup in the Cardinal’s rout of Arizona. Carrington scored 19 points. Stanford has beaten the Wildcats in 32 of their past 33 meetings.