It was the longest day in the history of McKale Center, the first-ever men’s and women’s basketball doubles program in 49 years. Total attendance: 18,575. Combined score: Arizona 168, Other 96.
Here’s how the clock counted Tuesday night:
5:02 p.m.: Super senior Sam Thomas opens the scoring of the night, swinging an 18-footer from the corner. By the end of the match, Thomas will have played 4,235 career minutes, the most ever for an AU girls’ basketball player. If all goes well, Thomas will surpass the school’s overall record of 4,825 set by current AU Director of Men’s Basketball Player Relations Jason Gardner.
17:28: Cal State Northridge is at 17-5 and interim head coach Carlene Mitchell has no one to blame for the situation. He could have avoided opening at McKale’s. Arizona initially offered a game on Wednesday, but Northridge threatened to withdraw altogether unless he played on Tuesday. He also asked for a larger financial guarantee, around $ 20,000. In the end, because the AU struggled to find voluntary non-conference opponents – “it took me two years to schedule three games,” coach Adia Barnes said after the game – he scheduled reluctantly a double program. Not that Northridge is dodging anything. In the next few weeks, he will play road games at UCLA, Texas and USC.
5:41 p.m.: Top 100 rookie Aaronette Vonleh makes his UA debut. She scores five straight baskets in just 3.5 minutes, finishing with 14 points. “She makes my life easier,” said Thomas, who expects to get more open 3-pointers now that Vonleh and Alabama transfer Ariyah Copeland and Lauren Ware to give Arizona three legitimate inside scoring threats.