TUSCON, Ariz. (AP)Arizona coach Adia Barnes was planning to give her bench players extra minutes against Idaho. The extra points were a bonus.
Reserve Shaina Pellington scored 16 points and reserve Helena Pueyo had all of her 14 points in the first half to lead the sixth-ranked Wildcats past Idaho 96-42 on Wednesday.
Cate Reese scored 12 points, Aari McDonald had 11 points and six assists and reserve Lauren Ware had 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Wildcats (6-0), who got 58 points from their bench.
”The plan was to distribute the minutes as evenly as I could and get multiple players in double digits, because that’s what it is all about,” Barnes said.
”When you can go into your bench and not drop off and still do things you want to do, it means a lot. You want confidence going into a break, and you want to go in on a good note. And then that next game is Stanford. A very important time to be playing good basketball.”
The Wildcats, who pulled away from Idaho with 16-0 and 24-0 runs, will host No. 1 Stanford (7-0) on New Year’s Day.
Beyonce Bea had 11 points and 10 rebounds and Gina Marxen had 11 points for the Vandals (3-3), who shot 26.4% from the field and made three of their first 19 second-half field goal attempts.
”They are number six in the country for a reason,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. ”They are very athletic, and on film you don’t really get to see what they have.”
Pueyo tied a career high with four 3-pointers, making all four of her attempts in the second quarter.
”I think I was on fire a little bit,” Pueyo said.
”I love to see everybody converting and contributing to the team,” McDonald said. ”I think if we keep playing like this, we’ll be scary good. Fifty-eight bench points. That’s just incredible.”
Arizona had a 54-28 rebounding edge and scored 25 second-chance points and 56 points in the paint. Idaho entered ranked 13th in the country in rebounding at 48.4 per game.
McDonald has scored in double figures in 73 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NCAA.
”I’m going to just try to keep extending it so nobody can touch it,” she said.
Guard Bendu Yeaney played 21 minutes, the only Arizona starter to play more than half the game. Reese and McDonald played 19 minutes apiece. McDonald scored 20 points and had the game-winning basket with 8 seconds remaining in a 73-72 overtime victory over then-No. 4 Stanford last season, the Wildcats’ first victory over a top-five team in school history.
Idaho: The balanced Vandals were the preseason pick to win the Big Sky Conference by both the conference coaches and the media. Although overmatched against Arizona, the Vandals have five players who have double-figure scoring averages and can attack from all over.
Arizona: The deep and talented Wildcats have emerged as a national contender in McDonald’s senior year. They are 37-6 in their last 43 games, the best stretch in school history, and have shown the necessary resilience when tested, having overcome double-digit deficits to win three times this season.
Idaho is scheduled to play back-to-back Big Sky Conference games at Northern Arizona on New Year’s Eve and Jan. 2.
Arizona hosts No. 1 Stanford (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) on Jan. 1. Arizona is 5-0 in the Pac-12 for the first time in school history.
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