No. 4 Arizona overwhelms Northern Arizona early in 82-55 win

Dec 17, 2021, 2:56 AM | Updated: 5:52 pm
Arizona guard Anna Gret Asi drives on Northern Arizona guard Miki'ala Maio (14) during the first ha...

Arizona guard Anna Gret Asi drives on Northern Arizona guard Miki'ala Maio (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, in Flagstaff, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona sped up Northern Arizona’s ballhandlers, pressuring them into mistakes that led to easy baskets in transition.

One big burst at the start showed the Wildcats weren’t about to have a letdown before a massive game two days later.

Aaronette Vonleh scored 17 points, Madison Conner added 12 and No. 4 Arizona overwhelmed Northern Arizona with a big opening run for an 82-55 win Friday night.

“We knew we could speed them up, we knew we could press them,” Arizona coach Adia Barnes said. “That’s what we’re good at. We feel we can do that against any team.”

The Wildcats (10-0) arrived in Flagstaff hoping to avoid a letdown with a showdown against No. 11 Texas coming up Sunday in Las Vegas.

Arizona jumped on the the Lumberjacks (5-5) from the start, smothering them with full-court pressure and overpowering them inside during an opening 23-2 run. The Wildcats had a bit of a letdown in the second quarter but never let the lead get under 18 the rest of the way.

Arizona had a 52-18 advantage in the paint and 16 steals to score 28 points off Northern Arizona’s 22 turnovers.

Emily Rodabaugh led the Lumberjacks with 13 points.

“We could have done a better job early in relaxing and having a little more composure,” Northern Arizona coach Loree Payne said. “This is really the first game where I’ve seen our team speed up, out of control, where we didn’t come together to be able to even get a shot up on some possessions.”

Northern Arizona put up a good fight in its first two games against Pac-12 opponents this season, losing at Washington State by eight and at Washington by seven. The Lumberjacks also have a win over UNLV on their resume and can put points up in a hurry, scoring 108 in a win over Grand Canyon while averaging nearly 78 per game.

They were no match for Arizona’s size nor its defensive athleticism.

The Wildcats relentlessly pressured NAU’s ballhandlers, picking them up full court from the opening tip. The Lumberjacks couldn’t handle the heat, turning it over 10 times in the first 6 1/2 minutes.

Arizona turned most of those into points in the paint, scoring 18 inside — 16 off turnovers — during the opening 23-2 run. Northern Arizona finished the first quarter with three field goals, seven points and 10 turnovers.

“I felt like we had the confidence coming in, but to not get the ball across half court in pretty much a full-court man-to-man defense was really frustrating,” Payne said. “We have veteran guards who need to be able to handle that pressure and have shown in the past that they could.”

The Lumberjacks cut down the turnovers and forced a few of their own with full-court pressure in the second quarter. Northern Arizona forced five turnovers, made 8 of 16 shots and closed the quarter on an 8-0 run. They still trailed 44-24.

Northern Arizona had a few good moments in the third quarter, but Arizona went on a 19-3 run that spanned into the fourth to keep the rout going even as Barnes emptied the bench.

“The main objective was to give people opportunities and give people confidence,” Barnes said. “I think we did that today.”


Northern Arizona got off to an awful start, but did enough good things later — particularly during the second quarter — to build confidence for the Big South Conference season.

Arizona got off to a great start and, despite a few shaky moments, took care of business before Sunday’s game against Texas.


Arizona forward Koi Love had a big impact on both ends of the floor off the bench. The junior spearheaded the Wildcats’ defense, finishing with four steals, and played aggressively on offense, finishing with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting and seven rebounds.

“On the defensive end, just a lot more solid, more disciplined on the ball, which was something I was really impressed with,” Barnes said. “Offensively, attacking the rim more, asserting herself, looking to score, those are things I expect from Koi.”

NAU’S 3s

Northern Arizona is one of the nation’s best 3-point shooting teams, entering Friday’s game shooting 40% from the arc.

The Lumberjacks were on the mark again, hitting 8 of 12. Rodabaugh led the way, hitting 3 of 4 from 3.


Northern Arizona plays at UC San Diego on Tuesday.

Arizona plays No. 11 Texas Sunday in Las Vegas.


More AP women’s college basketball: and and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Texas Rangers starter Jon Gray throws during the first inning of the team's baseball game against t...
Associated Press

Mariners outlast Rangers in 11, close in on playoff berth

SEATTLE (AP) — Mitch Haniger and Jarred Kelenic both homered twice, J.P. Crawford singled home the winning run in the 11th inning and the Seattle Mariners closed in on their first playoff berth in 21 years by beating the Texas Rangers 10-9 Thursday night. The Mariners moved a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay for the […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Dodgers' Miguel Vargas watches his two-run single during the sixth inning of the team's...
Associated Press

Vargas, Dodgers beat Padres 5-2 for 108th win

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Miguel Vargas is making a push to be included on the Los Angeles Dodgers’ postseason roster — if manager Dave Roberts can find a spot for him. The rookie outfielder hit a tiebreaking, two-run single with the bases loaded in the sixth inning and the NL West champion Dodgers beat San […]
1 day ago
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) is sacked by Cincinnati Bengals' Josh Tupou (68) duri...
Associated Press

Explainer: Tua Tagovailoa, fencing response and NFL protocol

Tua Tagovailoa stumbled to the ground, his legs wobbly and unable to walk to the huddle after banging his head Sunday. And then Thursday night, he was carried off the field by stretcher after another hit caused his head to violently slam against the turf and his hands to freeze up. The Dolphins said the […]
1 day ago
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani looks toward the plate after giving up a hit to O...
Associated Press

Ohtani takes no-hitter into 8th, Angels beat Athletics 4-2

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani has provided Angels fans with plenty of highlights this season. The two-way phenom almost topped them all Thursday night. The reigning AL MVP pitched no-hit ball into the eighth inning and extended his hitting streak to 14 games as Los Angeles pushed its winning streak to four with a […]
1 day ago
San Francisco Giants' Ford Proctor, second from left, celebrates with Austin Wynns after hitting a ...
Associated Press

Proctor hits grand slam, Rodón Ks 10 as Giants sweep Rockies

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ford Proctor hit a grand slam for his first career home run, Carlos Rodón struck out 10 in six scoreless innings and the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 6-4 on Thursday night to complete a three-game sweep. “It’s hard to describe,” Proctor said of his grand slam. “Probably my […]
1 day ago
FILE - New York Mets' Jacob deGrom walks onto the field with catcher Francisco Álvarez to pitch fo...
Associated Press

AP source: Mets calling up top prospect Álvarez vs Braves

NEW YORK (AP) — The first-place New York Mets are calling up top prospect Francisco Álvarez for their pivotal weekend series against the Atlanta Braves, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday night because the Mets had not yet announced […]
1 day ago
No. 4 Arizona overwhelms Northern Arizona early in 82-55 win