1999-2000 IN BRIEF: After returning 10 letterwinners and all five starters from last year's squad, the 1999-2000 Wildcats utilized their depth and experience to roll to a 25-7 overall mark, setting a new school record for most wins in a season.
During the preseason, the Cats were picked by both the Pac-10 media and coaches to finish fourth in league play. They surpassed those expectations, garnering a 13-5 conference record and finishing in a tie for second with Stanford. That finish equals the program's best, previously earned by the 1998 team.
Arizona opened the season with a nine-game win streak and went on to register an 11-1 mark in non-conference action. By winning their first Pac-10 game to improve to 12-1, the Cats tied the school record for the best start in the history of the program.
Pac-10 play brought about several historical moments as well. With wins at Washington State and Washington during the second weekend of January, the Cats earned their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. They repeated the feat during the final weekend of the regular season, recording their first-ever road sweep of Stanford and California.
The Wildcats earned their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament berth, ending up as the No. 8 seed in the Mideast Region. Arizona travelled to Knoxville, Tenn., where it downed No. 9 seed Kent, 73-61, in the first round of the tournament. The Cats faced No. 1 seed and eventual national runner-up Tennessee in the second round and put up a valiant fight, only to fall, 75-60.
The UA set or tied 23 school records this season, including most wins in a season (25), highest winning percentage (.781), most three-point field goals made in a season (162) and most points in a season (2,484). The Wildcats were ranked 21st in the final Associated Press Poll of the year and were 20th in the last USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring (77.6 ppg), scoring margin (+9.9 ppg) and assists (17.94 apg). The Cats were second in three-point field goal percentage (.379), rebounding margin (+4.3 rpg), steals (10.31 spg), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.89) and three-point field goals made (5.06 per game).
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: With 12.7 points per game, senior forward Angela Lackey finished as Arizona's leading scorer for the second straight year. She was second in rebounding, at 5.3 per game. Fellow senior forward Tatum Brown was second in scoring, with 12.4 points per game, and was the team's top rebounder, with 7.7 boards per contest. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney was third in both categories, averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Guards Lisa Griffith (8.9 ppg), Reshea Bristol (8.6 ppg), Felecity Willis (7.8 ppg) and Julie Brase (6.1 ppg) followed on the scoring chart. Willis was the team's assists leader, at 5.3 per game, while Griffith had the highest steals average, at 2.1 per game.
Tatum Brown ended the season as the Pac-10 leader in field goal percentage (.590) and was third in rebounding (7.7 rpg). Felecity Willis was third in the league in assists (5.28 apg), and Lisa Griffith was fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.420).
Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini made her 14th career trip to the NCAA tournament. She has a 23-14 career record in NCAA play and has never lost an NCAA first-round game. With a 159-104 mark in nine years at Arizona, she has compiled as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Playing in the second round of the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats fell victim to No. 1 seed and eventual national runner-up Tennessee, 75-60, on Mar. 20 in Knoxville.
The Lady Vols opened the game with a 20-8 run and held a 12-point (33-21) halftime advantage over the Wildcats, who shot only 2-for-10 from the line in the first half.
Tennessee used runs of 18-9 and 9-0 to push its lead out to 21 points twice, and although the Cats were able to fight back to within 12 points twice, they just couldn't overcome the deficit.
Angela Lackey led the Cats with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Tatum Brown contributed 11 points and five rebounds. Lisa Griffith drained a trio of three-pointers during the first half en route to 11 points for the game.
THE CATS AND THE NCAA TOURNEY: Arizona made its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 1997, receiving a No. 7 seed in the West Region. The Cats defeated 25th-ranked Western Kentucky in the first round, then went on to scare host and sixth-ranked Georgia (80-74) in the second game.
In 1998, the Cats entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the East Region. The UA swept through the first two games, picking up wins over Santa Clara and Virginia and making it into the Sweet Sixteen only to fall to third-ranked Connecticut.
Last season, the Wildcats received their third consecutive berth, earning a No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region. The Cats pulled off an 87-84 overtime victory over Florida in the first game, and were subsequently pounded, 90-47, by ninth-ranked host team Rutgers.
This season, despite owning the best overall record in school history, Arizona was handed its lowest seeding ever, at No. 8. However, for the fourth year in a row, the Wildcats won their first-round matchup, defeating Kent, 73-61, on Mar. 18. The Cats lost in the second round to No. 1 seed and eventual national runner-up Tennessee, 75-60.
Arizona has been placed in a different region in each of its four years of NCAA tournament competition.
GONE DANCING: Seven of Arizona's regular-season opponents earned NCAA tournament berths this year, by virtue either of winning a conference title or earning at-large bids.
Oklahoma, Kansas, Tennessee Tech, UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara and Oregon all made the "Big Dance" this year. The UA went 5-5 against those opponents this season, including victories over UC Santa Barbara, Oklahoma, Tennessee Tech, Oregon and Stanford.
PAC-10 HONORS: Felecity Willis and Tatum Brown were both named to the All-Pac-10 Team, and Krista Warren was selected to the Pac-10 All-Freshman Team. This marks the second straight year that Willis was an All-Pac-10 selection.
Reshea Bristol, Lisa Griffith and Angela Lackey were all Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 choices.
UA TEAM HONORS: At the team banquet on Mar. 12, the UA announced its annual team awards. The Most Valuable Player award was given to the team as a whole. Reshea Bristol was named Defensive Player of the Year, and LaKeisha Taylor was selected Most Improved Player. Krista Warren was Newcomer of the Year, and Tysell Bozeman was Most Inspirational Player. The Hustle Award and the Assists Leader Award went to Felecity Willis. The Rebounding Leader Award went to Tatum Brown, and the Free Throw Percentage Leader Award went to Julie Brase. Elizabeth Pickney received the Academic Achievement Award.
GRIFFITH, WILLIS BECOME NEW CAREER LEADERS: At Tennessee on Mar. 20, senior guards Lisa Griffith and Felecity Willis became Arizona's new leaders in career games played. Both are tied with 122 games played, the most ever for any Wildcat.
Lisa Griffith is also tied with former teammate Adia Barnes for the most career starts, with 110.
ARIZONA SETS NEW WINS RECORD: With their 73-61 victory over Kent in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Mar.` 18, the Wildcats set a new school record for most wins in a season, with 25. Previously, both the 1997 and 1998 teams had the highest totals of 23 wins.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In nearly a decade at the helm of the University of Arizona's women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
After wrapping up her ninth year at the UA, Bonvicini has posted a 159-105 (.602) mark and has a 484-176 (.733) record in 21 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 23-14 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 14 appearances.
Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.
BONVICINI FINALIST FOR COACH OF THE YEAR: Fifteen finalists were named for the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year Award, including Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini.
The winner, selected by Naismith's National Advisory Board members, NCAA Division I coaches, former Naismith winners, NCAA Division I conference commissioners and media representatives, was Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma.
The other finalists were Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Leon Barmore (Louisiana Tech), Vivian Stringer (Rutgers), Andy Landers (Georgia), Joe Ciampi (Auburn), Bill Fennelly (Iowa State), Mark French (UC Santa Barbara), Gail Goestenkors (Duke), Sue Gunter (Louisiana State), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Rene Portland (Penn State), Marsha Sharp (Texas Tech), and Kay Yow (North Carolina State).
RACKING UP THE WINS: With 159 victories at the UA, Joan Bonvicini has now collected as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 85-77 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 51-21 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) finished her eighth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and the perimeter coach. Second-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players, assists with scouting and recruiting and directs the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp. In his first year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.
WEIRD STAT OF THE DAY: Arizona actually had a better record this season when hitting fewer three-pointers than its opponents. The Cats were only 10-4 when hitting more treys than their opponent, however they were 12-2 when they nailed fewer three-pointers than their opponent.
DISHING IT OUT: Arizona led the Pac-10 in assists all season, finishing the year on top with an average of 17.94 per game. The UA was the only team to have three players among the Pac-10 assists leaders in the final stats. Felecity Willis (5.28 apg) was third, Lisa Griffith (3.31 apg) was ninth, and Reshea Bristol (3.14 apg) was 10th.
DOUBLING UP: Senior forward Tatum Brown had a Pac-10-best nine double-doubles this year, including back-to-back double-doubles against the Oregon schools on Mar. 2 and 4. Fellow senior Felecity Willis was one of only two players in the conference to rack up a points-assists double-double this year, when she had 15 points and 10 assists at Washington on Jan. 15.
TO START OR NOT TO START: Seems that Joan Bonvicini's decision to insert Reshea Bristol into the starting lineup midway through the season was a good one. In the 12 contests that the junior guard started, she averaged 11.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. During that stretch, she also hit 42.0 percent from the floor and 77.6 percent from the free throw line.
In the 16 games that saw Bristol coming off the bench, she averaged only 6.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She shot only 33.7 percent from the floor and 78.7 percent from the line.
BY THE NUMBERS: Twenty of Arizona's wins this year were by an average of 10 points or more... Each loss was by an average of only 8.9 points per game... The Cats hit five or more 3-pointers in 19 games this season... Arizona had 20 or more assists in 13 games... The Cats had 10 or more steals in 19 games... Arizona forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 20 contests, and no opponent committed less than 12.
GOTTA TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: Arizona committed an average of 21.0 turnovers per game over the last 13 contests of the year. During that stretch, the Cats forced opponents into an average of only 19.7 turnovers per game.
Arizona had its season high of 29 turnovers at UCLA on Feb. 19, also the UA's highest turnover total since committing 36 at Arizona State on Jan. 17, 1998.
On the upside, however, the Cats had season lows of only 13 turnovers in three different games, most recently against Kent in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Mar. 18.
SHAKING THOSE FREE THROW WOES: Arizona was wildly inconsistent from the free throw line during non-conference play this season, hitting only 66.0 percent from the line. During that time-frame, the Cats shot as well as 84 percent (vs. Tennessee Tech) and as poorly as 53.1 percent (vs. Northern Illinois).
In Pac-10 play, the Cats regained some consistency, and accuracy, from the free throw line. They shot 71.8 percent from the stripe against conference opponents.
In the overtime win over Oregon State on Mar. 2, the Wildcats tied the school record for single-game free throw percentage, hitting 20-of-22 from the stripe for 90.9 percent.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: Rebounding was a major problem for the Wildcats over the last few years, but they experienced an upswing in that area this season. The UA out-rebounded or been equal to its opponent in 27 of this season's games. The Cats also set a new school record for largest rebounding margin in Pac-10 play (+4.2 rpg).
BENCH CONTRIBUTIONS: The UA bench was quite productive this season, contributing an average of 28.2 points per game. The highest point total from the bench this year came on Dec. 10 against Texas Southern, when 47 of the UA's 96 points came from the subs.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 92-41 mark in McKale Center, including a 61-13 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 158-149 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Several of the UA's regular season opponents were ranked in the final polls.
UC Santa Barbara was ninth in last A.P. poll, while Oklahoma was 18th and Oregon was 20th. Stanford, UCLA and Kansas all received votes for ranking.
In the final USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, Oklahoma was No. 13 and UC Santa Barbara was No. 22. Stanford, Oregon, Kansas and UCLA all received votes for ranking.
DUALLY SUCCESSFUL: Nine schools had both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked in the final A.P. Top 25. They were Arizona, Duke, Iowa State, Louisiana State, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Auburn and Purdue.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: Seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 28-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 121-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 81-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 25-19 in games settled by five points or less, including a 9-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS: Over the last nine seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 50 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona was... 21-5 when out-rebounding its opponent... 20-1 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 22-6 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 21-2 when scoring 70 points or more... 18-2 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent... 19-6 when three or more players reached double digits in scoring.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 318-396 (.445) all-time record, however it is 122-60 (.670) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 175-91 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats were 12-3 at home this season, 9-4 in road games and 4-0 in neutral contests. Last season, Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Lisa Griffith finished her career as the Arizona and the Pac-10 career leader in both three-pointers made (285) and attempted (747). She holds the #5 spot on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list, with 1,199 career points.
Griffith is also the career leader in games started (110) and is tied with Felecity Willis as the career leader in games played (122). She is second on the career steals chart, with 225, and is fifth on the career assists list, with 455.
Willis is sixth in career three-pointers attempted (187) and is seventh in three-pointers made (53). She finished in third place on the UA all-time assists chart and is ninth all-time in the Pac-10, with 541 career dishes. She stands at #12 on the all-time scoring chart, with 967 points.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney is in fifth place on the UA all-time blocked shots list, with 66.
GRIFFITH FINISHES AS RUNNER-UP IN 3-POINT CHAMPIONSHIP: UA senior guard Lisa Griffith was the runner-up in the Annual College Three-Point Basketball Championship on Thursday, Mar. 30, in Indianapolis, Ind. Along with the Slam Dunk Championship, the 3-point contest was one of the activities surrounding the men's Final Four and was broadcast on ESPN.
UA GETS FIRST PAC-10 WIN AT STANFORD: The Cats' 79-72 win at Stanford on Mar. 9 was their first win in Maples since joining the Pac-10. It also ended a 13-game losing streak at Maples and marked the first victory there since the 1986 season.
CATS SET ATTENDANCE RECORD: The 5,272 fans who watched the Cats play Oregon in the McKale Center on Mar. 4 set a new single-game attendance record for Arizona women's basketball. The previous high was 4,693, set when Arizona defeated Virginia on Mar. 15, 1998, while hosting the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Arizona's average season attendance of 2,556 is a new record as well, surpassing last year's average of 2,429.
LONG RANGE BOMBING: The Wildcats saw their streak of 58 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer made come to an end when they failed to connect on any treys at Arizona State on Feb. 26.
CATS REGISTER BEST PAC-10 START EVER: Arizona's 9-2 mark through the first 11 games of Pac-10 play was its best start ever in league action. Previously, the UA had never made it through the first 11 conference games with less than three losses.
ACHIEVING 20 WINS: With its defeat of Washington State on Feb. 12, this UA squad became the fastest ever to reach the 20-win mark. No other Wildcat team has ever been able to reach 20 wins in only 23 games.
It was also the earliest in the season that any team has reached 20 wins. The earliest mark previously was set by the 1996-97 squad, which reached the 20-win plateau on Feb. 22.
FELECITY WILLIS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb. 7): Senior guard Felecity Willis was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 31-Feb. 6.
Willis, from Apple Valley, Calif., averaged 11.0 points, 7.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while leading the Cats to their first road sweep of the Oregon schools in 10 years. She shot .455 (5-for-11) from the floor and .833 (10-for-12) from the free throw line over the two games.
In the victory at Oregon, which snapped the Ducks' 19-game home winning streak, Willis scored a season- and game-high 19 points, including 17 in the second half. She dished out a game-high eight assists, leading the Wildcats to their first win in Eugene since 1997. Willis went 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:20 to seal the 73-66 win. In the victory at Oregon State, she tallied a game-high seven assists to go with three points and three rebounds.
The Player of the Week honor was the first of Willis' career, and the 19th all-time selection for the Wildcats. It is also the first time that Arizona has had four recipients in the same year.
GRIFFITH BECOMES PAC-10 LEADER: On Jan. 30, senior guard Lisa Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in three-pointers attempted, surpassing former Washington player Jamie Redd's total of 675. Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in 3-pointers made during the 1998-99 season.
BONVICINI REACHES MILESTONES: With the win over Arizona State on Jan. 30, Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 150th win at the UA and 475th win as a head coach.
PICKNEY TOPS 500: Against UCLA on Jan. 20, sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney became the latest Wildcat to top the 500-point plateau in career scoring.
LISA GRIFFITH NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 17): Senior guard Lisa Griffith was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 10-16.
Griffith averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 rebounds per game while leading the Wildcats to their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools on Jan. 13 and 15. She shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the floor, including a blazing 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from three-point range.
In the win at Washington, Arizona's first victory ever in Seattle, Griffith drained a school-record-tying seven treys en route to a career-high 26 points. She shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, marking the first time any Wildcat has hit seven treys in one game since Griffith herself did it twice during the 1996-97 season. In the win over Washington State, she tallied 14 points, four steals and seven assists.
The Player of the Week honor was the second of Griffith's career, and was the 18th all-time selection for Arizona.
CATS EARN FIRST ROAD SWEEP IN WASHINGTON: With wins at Washington State (83-68) on Jan. 13 and at Washington (96-85) on Jan. 15, Arizona completed its first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. While the Cats had previously been able to defeat Washington State in Pullman, this season's win at Washington was the UA's first in 14 attempts.
A GREAT START: With their victory over California on Jan. 6, the Wildcats tied the 1995-96 team for the best start ever at 12-1.
CATS SET RECORD WITH HOME WIN STREAK: Arizona set a new school record this season with a 15-game home win streak, dating from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 8, 2000. They saw their streak end with a 98-95 loss to Stanford on Jan. 8. The previous long streak was a string of 10 games midway through the 1997-98 season.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: The Cats went 11-1 in regular season non-conference play this year, their best non-conference mark since the 1995-96 team went 9-0. The 11 victories are the most regular season non-conference wins ever under Joan Bonvicini.
During the 12 non-conference games, the Cats averaged 83.1 points per game and out-scored their opponents by an average of 18 points per game. They shot 48.8 percent from the field, including a blazing 42.3 percent from three-point range. The UA out-rebounded its opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per contest. The Cats also averaged 20.0 assists and 11.0 steals per game, while forcing opponents to commit an average of 22.8 turnovers per game.
CATS TAKE SEELBACH CLASSIC TITLE: Arizona won its third regular-season tournament when it swept through the Seelbach Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 28-29. The Cats had a solid showing in the first round with a 91-61 pounding of Marshall on Dec. 28. Although host team Louisville managed to hang with the UA most of the contest, the Cats pulled out an 80-70 victory in the championship game to take the tournament title.
After averaging 14.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the two contests, Wildcat Tatum Brown was selected the Tournament MVP, her second such honor of the year. Louisville native Angela Lackey was selected to the All-Tournament Team as well, also her second such honor of the season.
GRIFFITH JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB: With 3:04 left in the first half at Kansas on Dec. 21, senior guard Lisa Griffith knocked down her third three-pointer of the game to become the eighth Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring. The last Wildcat to join the 1,000-point club was Griffith's former teammate, Adia Barnes, who reached that mark during the 1996-97 season.
WILDCATS CLAIM TITLE OF INSIGHT.COM BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC: After falling in the championship game of the 1998 tournament, Arizona reclaimed the title of its ninth annual Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic with victories over Texas Southern (96-46) and Indiana (87-70) on Dec. 10 and 12.
Tatum Brown was unanimously voted the Tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals over the two games. Angela Lackey was named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
RECORDS FALL: Tatum Brown's 11-of-12 shooting performance against Colorado State on Dec. 6 tied the UA single-game record for field goal percentage (.917). It is also a new McKale Center record, breaking the previous mark of 84.6 percent (11-13) set by former UCLA player Denise Curry on Jan. 17, 1981.
Arizona also set a new school record by hitting a sizzling 75.9 (22-29) percent in the first half against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30.
BROWN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 6): Senior forward Tatum Brown was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 29-Dec. 5. Brown scored a then-career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead No. 21 Arizona to an 86-76 upset over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30. In just 26 minutes of action, she shot 9-for-12 (.750) from the field and 3-for-4 (.750) from the line.
The Player of the Week honor was the first of Brown's career, and the 17th all-time selection. Brown's honor followed Elizabeth Pickney's Player of the Week laurels the previous week, marking the first time in school history that the Wildcats have had back-to-back Pac-10 Players of the Week.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT: The Cats shot a school-record 75.9 percent (22-29) from the floor in the first half of the UCSB contest on Nov. 30. For the game, they shot 63 percent (34-54), the highest field goal percentage for any team since the school record was set at 64.3 percent (36-56) against Drake on Nov. 25, 1990.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 29): Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Nov. 15-28. Pickney averaged 16.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game in the UA's four straight victories to open the season. She shot a team-high .575 (23-40) from the field and .720 (18-25) from the line during that stretch.
Pickney was named the Tournament MVP at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, leading Arizona to the team title with three wins. In the tourney, she averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Player of the Week honor was the first of Pickney's career and the 16th all-time selection for Arizona.
SULTANS OF SWAT: The Wildcats racked up nine blocked shots in the contest against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20. That is the highest single-game block total since the 1985 squad collected 10 at Tennessee-Chattanooga on Jan. 5, 1985. Elizabeth Pickney had five of the UA's blocked shots against Tennessee Tech, a career high for her.
As a team, Arizona collected 20 blocks over the first four games of the year, the highest block total ever over that stretch in any season.
CATS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP AT HAWAIIAN REGENT WAHINE CLASSIC: The Wildcats swept through three games in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21 to take the title at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, hosted by the University of Hawaii.
Arizona garnered victories over Oklahoma (75-59), Tennessee Tech (87-71) and host team Hawai'i (86-73) to open the 1999-2000 season with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Elizabeth Pickney averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Cats and was the overwhelming favorite for tournament Most Valuable Player laurels. Felecity Willis and Tatum Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
DOVE IANELLO AMONG TOP ASSISTANTS: In a survey of head women's coaches conducted by the Women's Basketball Journal last fall, UA associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello received votes for consideration as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
FUTURE WILDCATS: On the first day of the early signing period (Nov. 10), Arizona inked a trio of high school recruits from the state of California. The signees were 5-10 guard Candice Allen (Ontario, CA/Ayala HS), 5-7 guard Aimee Grzyb (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) and 6-3 forward Veranda James (Pomona, CA/Ganesha HS).
WHAT THE COACHES THOUGHT: Here was the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
1. UCLA 6. Washington 2. Oregon 7. USC 3. Stanford 8. Oregon State 4. ARIZONA 9. California 5. Arizona State 10. Washington State The Pac-10 media also picked Arizona to finish fourth in the league standings this year.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: For the third year in a row, the Wildcats earned a preseason national ranking. The Cats were ranked 25th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, and they were 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason Top 25.
The Wildcats were ranked among the top 25 teams in five different "unofficial" preseason polls this fall. The UA's highest ranking in these polls was 13th by Women's Basketball magazine and the lowest was 22nd by both Street & Smith's and the Basketball News Report.
Angela Lackey earned preseason third team All-America honors from Lindy's College Basketball and honorable mention All-America laurels from Street & Smith's College Basketball.
1998-99 IN REVIEW: Despite losing the squad's only two seniors before the season ever started, the very young 1998-99 Wildcats held their own and came up with an 18-11 overall record and went 12-6 in the Pac-10 to finish in fourth place.
The Cats faced a rough non-conference schedule that featured three teams which spent most of the season among the top four in the national rankings. After getting off to a rocky 1-3 start in league play, the Cats rebounded to finish the season 11-3, with wins over Pac-10 co-champion Oregon and over perennial power Stanford.
The Wildcats then received their third consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, earning a #6 seed in the Midwest Region. In Piscataway, N.J., Arizona faced NCAA tourney veteran Florida in the first round of play and defeated the Gators, 87-84, in overtime to move on to the second round for the third straight year. The Cats then took on host Rutgers, only to end the season on a sour note, falling to the Scarlet Knights, 90-47.
For the season, Arizona had its most balanced offense in five years, with four players averaging in double digits in scoring, and ended its season by winning 12 of its final 16 contests. The Cats broke or tied 13 school records on the year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).
With 14.4 points per game, Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by Elizabeth Pickney at 11.4 ppg. Pickney was the team's top rebounder, with 5.8 per game, while Willis was the team's assists leader, averaging 5.5 apg. Lackey was second in rebounding with 5.4 rpg, and Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.