Cate Reese and Shaina Pellington’s stellar Arizona careers come to an end with a loss to Maryland

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Arizona’s Shaina Pellington (NCAA Photo)

the view of Cate Reese crying in the chair, comforted by assistants Salvo CoppaSunday’s late 77-64 loss to Maryland in Game 32 of the NCAA Tournament in College Park, Md., brought tears to many.

Reese’s emotions were shared by fans of Arizona and women’s college basketball in general for Reese and the fifth-year senior. Shaina Pellington it had meant a lot to both of them in recent years.

Reese and Pellington were the cornerstones of Arizona’s rise to national prominence as coaches Bye Barnes With UConn’s 2021 Final Four victory and national championship appearance, a symbol of how the women’s game was becoming more egalitarian.

“It’s been a great five years,” a sobbing Reese said in the postgame news conference. “Right now I don’t even know how to feel, sad but happy for what I was able to do in Arizona with my teammates and Adia. Unfortunately, in the end only one team wins and we were not that team”.

Pellington then came to Arizona two mixed years at Oklahoma from 2017-19 in which the coach claimed racial sensitivity Gioya Coale and the general lack of support for black and LGBT athletes at school.

Coal suspended Pellington in the second season and kept him on the bench after that suspension, telling the media that he played with those who practiced and played hard.

“I transferred from Oklahoma and I came from a tough situation,” Pellington said Sunday, fighting back tears. “Adia was one of those who took a risk with me and it’s something I will be forever grateful for.

“I feel that I have developed a lot as a player but most importantly as a person and I owe a lot to Adia, the coaches and the environment in Tucson. I want to thank everyone who has been patient with me and encouraged me to move forward. It is something I will never forget. This may be the end of our college careers with the U of A but we will always be family. That is something I will always keep in my heart.”

Barnes admits he took a chance on Pellington “but I’m happy.”

“I think everyone deserves a second chance,” he added. “I think everyone experiences different things. I’m the right coach for some people. I’m not the right coach for everyone.

“I accepted Shaina for who she is: the good, the bad and the ugly. I can tell you that Shaina has changed tremendously over the years we’ve had her. … I love her heart. I love her work ethic. I love the person she’s become and the leader she’s become. It’s exciting for me to see the change. because I have.”

During this change, Pellington rekindled her passion for basketball, and participated with the Canadian national team in the FIBA ​​Women’s World Cup at the end of September.

“I was happy to see him in the last two years; he was not happy when he came,” Barnes said. “He didn’t love basketball. He got his passion back, and as a coach, I’m happy to say that, and he’s getting the title. He wouldn’t be on my watch and he wouldn’t get a degree. He did that and achieved many things.’

Reese joined Arizona’s first McDonald’s All-American program and held on to the program despite the Wildcats going 6-24 in 2017-18, his senior year at Cypress (Texas) High School.

“Cate took a chance when we were huge in Arizona,” Barnes said. “We were probably 300 in the RPI. We were not a winning program. I’m sure he scratched his head when he saw us win six games that year.

“But he wanted to come to Arizona and do something special with us and he has done that. … Just to see her grow as a woman — she got into business school, she carried herself well, she’s a great student. … The way he modeled our program, I’m very happy to see that.”

No. 7 Arizona blew a 12-point lead against No. 2 Maryland early in the second quarter and took a four-point lead into halftime, but that’s as good as it gets for the Wildcats.

The Terrapins (27-6) pulled away in a disastrous third quarter for Arizona (22-10) and went into what was a highlight of Arizona. By Brenda Frese 11th Sweet 16 in 21 years as Maryland coach.

The game featured two Arizona standouts – Frese and Barnes – training against each other. Frese owns a 4-0 record against his alma mater with all three wins in College Park.

Arizona was outscored 29-9 in the third quarter, allowing Maryland to make 11 of 14 shots from the field while making just 15 of 3 shots. The Wildcats committed more turnovers (five) than the number of shots they took.

“They were getting the ball out really fast before we could establish our press,” Barnes said of Maryland’s lead in the third quarter. “They got up to the ground very quickly and we knew they would do that. We were prepared for that, and I thought we handled it better in the second quarter. I think the third quarter was not suitable”.

Diamond MillerBarnes, who coached the 2021 USA Basketball AmeriCup Team, had 13 of his 24 points in the third quarter.

“Your All-American does what he’s supposed to do,” Frese said. “I thought the third quarter was ‘Miller Time.’ He went up 9-0 to start the third. As we’ve seen Diamond do so many times in this building, he made his team want it. I thought it started with his defense, the offense he was doing there. They didn’t have it for him. have no answer.”

Part of that was the Arizona position player Esmery Martinez Sitting on the bench with three fouls for more than 5 minutes in the third quarter.

Pellington and Martinez, a senior with one more year of eligibility remaining, each picked up their third foul early in the third quarter and that was the turning point.

Pellington sat for 6:57 of the third quarter when he picked up his third foul before going in again with 2:22 left in the period.

Martinez went from 6:06 to 1:38 in the third quarter.

In that stretch from 6:57 to 1:38 left in the third quarter, Arizona went from trailing 39-33 to 57-40.

“For us, we’re at our best when we’re getting stops and when we’re able to make runs,” Barnes said. “We were dying in transition. They couldn’t take care of our transition.

“But if you’re not getting stops and you’re not making steals, you’re not running in transition. I thought we weren’t stopping and they were shooting 78 percent — I don’t think we’ve ever stopped a team from shooting 78 percent in a quarter — but it’s tough because we couldn’t run. Then we go against their press and every time that slows us down and that makes it difficult for us.”

Arizona got as close as 13 points after Maryland took a 24-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Reese had 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and Pellington finished with 13 points and five rebounds.

Martinez had eight points and 13 rebounds.

Arizona’s bumpy start against Maryland was in stark contrast to its 28 first-quarter points in Friday’s 75-62 first-round win over West Virginia.

The Wildcats trailed 17-8 late in the first quarter against Maryland. 3 point Brinae Alexander The Terrapins put up 12 to start the second quarter.

Then Arizona’s defense went down and the freshman Paris Clark He showed why he was a McDonald’s All-American.

Arizona took advantage of Maryland’s only field goal to go on a 16-5 run over 6 minutes to cut the lead to 25-24 with 3:34 left in the first half.

Clark, who scored eight points in the second quarter, converted two baskets in transition and fed Reese another layup during a 9-2 run that gave Arizona a 33-29 lead with 1:12 left in the half.

“I think the sky’s the limit in Paris,” Pellington said. “He came in and gave us the fire we needed. That is something special. A lot of players can’t do that, especially as a freshman.”

Maryland cut the lead to 33-32 at halftime.

Arizona outscored the Terrapins 25-15 in the second quarter on 63.2 percent shooting from the field in transition.

Also in the second quarter, Clark had two of Arizona’s six assists and the Wildcats committed just two turnovers after having seven in the first quarter.

Reese had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and Martinez had four points and eight rebounds in the first half. Pellington had six points, four rebounds and two assists then.

Unfortunately for Arizona, the game completely changed in the third quarter, but that span is just a small part of Barnes’ seven seasons in Arizona and the highly successful careers of Reese and Pellington.

The family atmosphere Barnes developed in Arizona minimizes everything, including a 32-year losing streak.

One of the East Coast reporters was surprised that Barnes referred to Reese and Pellington as “Adia” at the interview podium instead of “Coach” or “Coach Barnes.”

“I think it’s funny every time I go to interviews, I always debate in my head whether I’m going to call him ‘Coach Barnes’ or ‘Adia,'” Reese said. “‘Coach Barnes’ never sounds right, so I usually always go with ‘Adia.’

“It’s just the culture we have in Arizona. We see him as a person. It’s not just our coach. … That is one of the most important relationships to build. You’re around your coach 24/7, so it’s important to be able to bond on a different level than just player and coach.

CONTINUE @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter on the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He was also the author of the book “The highest form of life”, which is available on Amazon. She became an educator five years ago and is currently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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