McDonald scores 20 to lead Arizona over Utah

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Aari McDonald and her Arizona teammates weren’t happy with the way they played after finishing off a season sweep of Utah.

“We feel like we lost, we have to get better,” said McDonald, who had 20 points in the 66-54 win Friday night.

McDonald, who crossed the 2,000-point milestone in the game, has scored in double figures in 79 straight games, the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. Washington’s Kelsey Plum holds the Pac-12 record at 83.

Bendu Yeaney added a season-high 14 points for the Wildcats (11-2, 9-2 Pac-12), who recovers from a sluggish start to take a 19-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before Utah used a 10-0 run get back in the game.

The Utes (3-9, 2-9) closed to 60-54 with 57 seconds remaining before committing turnovers on their final three possessions as Arizona scored the final six points.

Kemery Martin had 11 points and Niyah Becker had 10 for the Utes, who shot 42 percent. Utes’ leading scorer Brynna Maxwell, averaging 13.3 points a game, had six points and did not score until the first minute of the fourth quarter.

Cate Reese had 11 points and nine rebounds for Arizona, which shot 42 percent from the field.

“We’re definitely not proud of the way we played, especially at the end of the game,” Reese said.

Arizona pressed and turned 29 Utah turnovers into 21 points The Utes committed 22 turnovers in a 77-60 loss to Arizona on Dec. 20.

“I knew that our pressure bothered them,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “It bothered them in Utah. We knew that was a key coming into the game. We have a little more athleticism on the perimeter.”

Arizona made only three of its first 18 field goal attempts as Utah took an 11-8 lead behind five points from Martin. Yeaney, a junior transfer from Indiana, had seven points in a 14-2 run over the final five minutes of the second quarter for a 30-20 halftime lead.

“Arizona is so aggressive and physical,” said Utah coach Lynne Roberts, whose team was playing its third straight Top 10 opponent. “Their defense is very tough and that many turnovers is going to be tough to win with on the road.”

YEANEY INJURY NOT SERIOUS

Yeaney tweaked an ankle while moving through a screen late in the first half, but she started the second half and played into the fourth quarter before being removed after the Wildcats took a 55-36 lead with 5:46 remaining.

“She’s perfectly fine,” Barnes said. “If we can’t sustain with a 19-point lead, there are bigger problems than that. I want her to be able to play on Sunday” against Colorado. “Bendu was just phenomenal.”

BIG PICTURE

Utah has beaten a Top 25 team in each of Roberts’ five seasons, and the Utes will have a chance to do it for a second time this season in their rematch against No. 13 Oregon at home Thursday. The Utes beat then-No. 15 Oregon State on the road in the second week of the season. Utah is 1-5 against its Top 15 opponents.

After a week at No. 11, Arizona was a bit sluggish in its return to the AP Top 10 against Utah and will look to return to previous form with the several difficult games ahead. The Wildcats will play Colorado, the only team to beat No. 1 Stanford, on Sunday and have road games at No. 6 UCLA and No. 13 Oregon the following two weekends.

UP NEXT

Utah: visits Arizona State on Sunday.

Arizona: will play host to Colorado on Sunday

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.

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