TUCSON, Ariz. – Arizona coach Adia Barnes celebrated with her team, looked down to the Oregon bench and waved.
It was a different kind of salute than she had for Oregon coach Kelly Graves in the teams’ first meeting last month. A different result, too.
Cate Reese scored 13 points and No. 8 Arizona shut down No. 19 Oregon for an emotional 63-48 victory in front of a raucous crowd on Friday night.
“We definitely had something to prove because we lost to them in the last one,” said Arizona guard Shaina Pellington, who had seven points and four assists.
The Wildcats (16-3, 6-3 Pac-12) and their fans were hyped up for the rematch of a trash-talking, middle-finger-waving game that Oregon won in overtime three weeks earlier.
Arizona hounded Oregon (14-6, 7-2) defensively all night, scoring 22 points off the Ducks’ 21 turnovers while holding them to 36% shooting, including 2 of 15 from 3.
The Wildcats also came to life offensively in the second half, pulling away for a resounding win that had 10,413 fans roaring in approval.
“It was going to be a tough win anyway coming down here and you just hope that you compete a little bit better than we did,” Oregon coach Kelly Graves said.
Endyia Rogers led the Ducks with 17 points, and Nyara Sabally added 15 despite twice going to the locker room holding her stomach in the second half.
Oregon rallied from 17 down in the teams’ first game on Jan. 15, when the Ducks beat Arizona 68-66 on Rogers’ jumper with 0.4 seconds left.
Graves had some heated words during that game for Barnes and she responded by giving him the middle finger when it was over, for which she later apologized. Barnes also was reprimanded by the Pac-12 for saying her team got “homered” by the officials during her postgame news conference.
Graves and Barnes patched things up just before tipoff Friday night with a long discussion and a hug. Then, their teams went toe to toe.
Oregon harassed the Wildcats into 3-of-12 shooting from 3 and blocked six of their shots in the first half.
Arizona hounded the Ducks into 12 first-half turnovers, leading to 14 points. The Wildcats caused a few by blitzing the ballhandler on high pick-and-rolls, but Oregon was careless with the ball, too, causing Graves to bury his head into his hands.
Arizona had a pair of 8-0 runs to lead 30-24 at halftime.
“Last time we played them, we handled it (the pressure) pretty well after that initial wave and I thought we learned from it,” Graves said. “I thought we handled pressure well against Arizona State as well. We just didn’t tonight.”
The Wildcats found some gaps in Oregon’s defense in the third quarter, hitting 9 of 17 shots and using a 13-4 run to go up 51-35. The Ducks continued to struggle against Arizona’s pressure, turning it over six more times.
Madison Conner opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and Arizona continued to make shots, hitting 14 of 28 in the second half to put the game out of reach.
“It was a great crowd, great energy, the white-out game – it was the perfect situation to protect home court,” Barnes said.
Oregon struggled with Arizona’s pressure and had nothing left to mount a comeback like it did in the first game.
Arizona had been anticipating this rematch since the first game ended and played with the intensity of a revenge game.
Te-Hina Paopao had a big night in the first go-round against Arizona, scoring 24 points. The Wildcats put a point of emphasis on stopping her in the rematch and the sophomore guard struggled.
Led by Pellington, Arizona held Paopao to five points on 2-of-5 shooting with four turnovers.
“We had a good game plan for her and I think we executed it well,” Pellington said. “We had a defensive plan for her specifically because of the last game and we were successful.”
Barnes and Graves went at each other in the first meeting, but didn’t let it linger into the second game. They spoke for more than a minute before tipoff, seemingly smiling (they had masks on) the whole time.
“We’re competitive,” Barnes said. “It’s something where I don’t take it personally, he doesn’t take it personally, we don’t care. We wished each other luck and talked about the crowd and stuff.”
Oregon: Plays at Arizona State on Sunday.
Arizona: Hosts Oregon State Sunday.