Arizona Basketball news rundown: WBB tips off Pac-12 tournament, Wildcats win awards, Love named West finalist

Arizona v Utah
Arizona v Utah / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

This is a special basketball-focused edition of the midweek news rundown. No shade to baseball, softball, or swim/dive, but the season is starting to heat up on the hardwood. Adia Barnes and the Arizona Women's Basketball team are in Las Vegas right now for the opening night of the Pac-12 Tournament on the heels of five WBB players taking home individual Pac-12 honors. Meanwhile, Arizona Men's Basketball star Caleb Love has been named one of five finalists for the 2024 Jerry West Award.

No. 7 Arizona WBB opens Pac-12 Tournament against No. 10 Washington

Adia Barnes
Arizona v New Mexico / Sam Wasson/GettyImages

Despite losing the last two games of the regular season, Barnes and the Lady Wildcats looked good for three of the last four games of the season (barring the UCLA loss). A season that looked like a lost cause has suddenly seen a slight turnaround, and Arizona finished above .500 at 16-14. They will open Pac-12 Tournament play against No. 10 seed Washington, who the Wildcats beat in triple overtime less than a month ago.

Despite the low seeding, though, Washington is still a dangerous team. The Huskies have won three of their last four, including wins over No. 9-ranked/No. 4-seeded Oregon State and No. 18-ranked/No. 6-seeded Utah. Lauren Schwartz, Dalayah Daniels, and Elle Ladine all average 11.8 points per game or higher. Contrast that with Arizona, where only one of the top three scorers on the season (Esmery Martinez) is still with the program. Arizona will need to leverage its size advantage and swarm on defense to shut down Washington's offensive onslaught.

Five Arizona WBB players recognized with Pac-12 honors

The Pac-12 recognized Helena Pueyo, Esmery Martinez, Jada Williams, Breya Cunningham, and Skylar Jones with individual awards for their contributions to both Arizona and Pac-12 women's basketball this season.

Helena Pueyo
Arizona v New Mexico / Sam Wasson/GettyImages

Pueyo's accolades are the most impressive, and she's most deserving as the sole five-year Wildcat on the roster who spent years grinding under the A. She was the only Wildcat named to the All-Pac-12 team and was one of just five players selected to the All-Defensive team. The All-Pac-12 nod is the first of her storied career, and her All-Defensive team nod is her second consecutive.

Martinez, who initially entered the WNBA draft last offseason but rescinded her name, has been rewarded for her return with both All-Pac-12 and All-Defensive team honorable mentions. This is the second straight year that Martinez has earned an All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

A conference-high three freshmen were also recognized. Williams was one of just five players tabbed for the Pac-12 All-Freshman team, while Cunningham and Jones were recognized as All-Freshman team honorable mentions. Stanford, the No. 1 seed and ranked No. 2 nationally, is the only other team with three freshmen to be recognized.

Caleb Love named a finalist for the 2024 Jerry West Award

Love has been a star for the Wildcats from the moment he first donned an Arizona jersey, and it's paying off in national recognition. He has been named one of the five finalists for the 2024 Jerry West Award, given to the nation's best shooting guard. His fellow finalists are UNC's RJ Davis, Kentucky's Antonio Reeves, Kansas' Kevin McCullar Jr., and Michigan State's Tyson Walker.

Caleb Love
Desert Classic - Arizona v Florida Atlantic / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Davis, one of the main reasons that Love was ousted in Chapel Hill in the first place, ironically seems poised to take it. He has the highest per-game average at 21.5 and averages the most field goals and 3-pointers made per game of the group.

However, any Arizona fan will tell you that the numbers don't quite tell the whole story, and Love's ability to galvanize the team can't be measured in numbers. Love's 19.4 point-per-game average is a career-high by a country mile and is still hampered by the ridiculous success of other players on the team around him. After all, his only real competition for the Pac-12 Player of the Year Award is his teammate and reliable big man in the middle Oumar Ballo.

Fan voting, which begins on Friday, March 8, on, counts as one committee vote.

p12pr. 'Cats rolling to No. 1 seed, Colorado/Utah on the cusp, UCLA slips. dark. Pac-12 Power rankings

Don’t forget to follow us at @ZonaZealots on Twitter, follow us at @ZonaZealotsFS on Instagram, and like our fan page on Facebook for continued coverage of Arizona news, opinions, and recruiting updates!