WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 23rd-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (14-4 overall, 4-2 Pac-10) is seeking to end a two-game losing skid this weekend when it plays at Arizona State. The Cats face their rival Sun Devils on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. in Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP:
35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 So. 9.1 ppg 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 Jr. 14.7 ppg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 Jr. 10.3 ppg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Sr. 13.8 ppg 13 Aimee Grzyb G 5-7 Fr. 8.4 ppg
OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order)
4 Candice Allen G 5-10 Fr. 5.6 ppg 14 Jen Chesney G 6-0 Fr. 1.7 ppg 22 Veranda James F 6-3 Fr. 13.7 ppg 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 Jr. 10.6 ppg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 Jr. 1.3 ppg
ABOUT ARIZONA: Still hanging on in the national rankings, the Wildcats are No. 23 in this week's Associated Press poll and are No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, despite being swept in Los Angeles last weekend. Arizona stands at 14-4 overall and 4-2 in Pac-10 play after falling to both USC (81-67) and UCLA (59-56OT) last week. The Wildcats are in the midst of a stretch that will see them play eight out of 11 games on the road.
With 14.7 points per game, junior forward Elizabeth Pickney continues to lead five Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. She is tied for second in rebounding with junior center LaKeisha Taylor, each averaging 6.0 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Reshea Bristol is the second-leading scorer, at 13.8 ppg. She is leading Arizona and the Pac-10 in both assists (6.83 apg) and steals (3.22 spg). Freshman forward Veranda James is a very close third in scoring at 13.7 ppg and has the team's top rebounding average at 8.3 per game.
Junior guard Tysell Bozeman, who saw her first action last weekend after returning from a two-week team suspension, is fourth in scoring, with an average of 10.6 ppg. LaKeisha Taylor is in fifth place on the scoring chart, with 10.3 ppg, and is leading the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.620).
As a team, Arizona is leading the Pac-10 in scoring (80.8 ppg), scoring margin (+14.9 ppg), free throw percentage (.705), assists (16.56 apg) and assists-to-turnover ratio (0.86). The Cats are second in six other categories, including rebounding (43.0 rpg), field goal percentage (.452) and field goal percentage defense (.389).
BONVICINI STILL SEEKING WIN No. 499: Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini will be aiming for career win No. 499 at Arizona State on Saturday. Once she crosses the 500-victory mark, Bonvicini will be one of only 17 active Division I women's basketball coaches to reach that mark.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Registering their lowest offensive output in two years, the Wildcats suffered a 59-56 loss in overtime at UCLA on Jan. 20.
The two teams traded buckets throughout the first half, creating six lead changes and five ties. UCLA had the largest lead of the period at four (27-23) with 1:39 remaining in the half, but the Cats nailed a layup and a pair of free throws to knot the score at 27-all at the break.
The Cats managed their own four-point (33-29) lead early in the second half, but seven UA turnovers and only one UA field goal over a 10-minute stretch allowed UCLA to snag a seven-point (44-37) advantage at the 7:40 mark. Barely a minute later, Arizona had tied the score again, only to see UCLA gain another four-point (51-47) advantage with 3:01 left to play.
The Wildcats tied it up again with 1:19 left, then the teams traded a couple of buckets, playing to a 53-all tie at the end of regulation. The overtime period was all UCLA, as the Bruins connected on two easy buckets in the first three minutes and out-scored the Wildcats, 6-3, to take the 59-56 victory.
Junior guard Tysell Bozeman came off the bench for Arizona to put up a team- and career-high 17 points, while sophomore wing Krista Warren had 11 points and nine rebounds. Freshman forward Veranda James grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds.
The contest was the first overtime game between UCLA and Arizona since 1991.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE: On a three-game win streak, the Sun Devils are 12-6 overall and 4-2 in Pac-10 play after sweeping UCLA (78-68) and USC (66-59) on the road last weekend.
The Pac-10 Player of the Week this week, junior guard Amanda Levens is leading ASU in scoring with 14.3 ppg. Junior center Melody Johnson is second in scoring (13.9 ppg) and is the team's top rebounder, at 6.5 per game. Freshman guard Betsy Boardman is the only other Sun Devil averaging in double digits in scoring, with 10.7 points per game.
Arizona State is leading the Pac-10 in turnover margin (+4.61 topg) and is second in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.85). Amanda Levens is second in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.837), and senior guard Natalie Tucker is third in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.45).
Head coach Charli Turner Thorne (Stanford, 1988) has a 57-72 record in her fifth year at the helm of the Sun Devil program. She has a 97-112 mark in eight years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. ARIZONA STATE: Despite Arizona's current 14-game win streak in the series, Arizona State holds the 31-26 lead in the series with the Cats. ASU last defeated Arizona, 75-58, on Feb. 19, 1993, in Tempe. The Wildcats are 12-16 all-time when playing at Arizona State.
The series between the two teams has gotten especially tight over the last two years, as Arizona won the last four games by an average of only 7.8 points per game. The Cats edged the Sun Devils, 60-58, on Jan. 30 last year in Tucson, then defeated ASU, 72-61, on Feb. 26 in Tempe.
LAST MEETING WITH ARIZONA STATE: Gathering a season-high 17 steals, the Wildcats logged a 72-61 victory over rival Arizona State in Tempe on Feb. 26, 2000.
The first half was a rocky one for the Wildcats, as ASU led most of the way and held a one-point (28-27) advantage at halftime. Arizona scored the first bucket of the second half and never trailed again.
The Cats were unable to get their second-half lead beyond seven points until putting on a 12-2 run that gave them a 10-point (66-56) edge at the 1:28 mark. The Sun Devils were never closer than seven points after that.
Four different Wildcats reached double digits in scoring, led by Reshea Bristol with 17 points. She also notched game highs of seven rebounds and seven assists. Elizabeth Pickney contributed seven points, five rebounds and a pair of blocks, while Krista Warren had two points and three rebounds.
NOTING THE PAC-10: With a 4-1 league mark, Oregon is currently holding down first place in the Pac-10 standings. Three teams -- Arizona, Washington and Arizona State -- are tied for second place with 4-2 conference records. With its upset win over Oregon last weekend, Washington State evened its Pac-10 record to 3-3 and moved up to fifth in the league standings.
At 14-4, Arizona still has the best overall record in the conference. Arizona State's current three-game win streak is the longest active win streak in the Pac-10.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats return home to face Oregon on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., then they play host to Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. After that, the Cats hit the road again to play at the Washington schools on Feb. 8 and 10.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In her 10th year at the helm of the Arizona women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Bonvicini has posted a 173-109 (.613) mark in 10 seasons at Arizona and has more wins at the UA than all six of the previous Wildcat coaches combined. In 22 years as a collegiate head coach, Bonvicini has a 498-180 (.735) career record. 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.
COUNTDOWN TO 500: Joan Bonvicini is only two wins away from reaching the 500-victory mark for her career.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach two years ago, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is in her ninth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Third-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 second year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 89-79 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 55-23 league mark over the last five seasons combined.
WILDCAT RADIO FREQUENCY HAS CHANGED: All Arizona women's basketball broadcasts have moved, along with host station KCEE, to a new frequency. All broadcasts, including games and the Joan Bonvicini Coach's Show (Mondays, 6-7 p.m.), can now be heard on 97.1 KCEE FM, instead of the previous frequency of 940 AM.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 9-3 when out-rebounding its opponent... 12-1 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 13-2 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 11-1 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring... 9-0 when leading at halftime... 10-1 when forcing more turnovers than it commits... 13-0 when scoring 70 points or more... 11-2 when opponents score 71 points or less.
HOW TO AVOID A LOSS: According to the season's trends thus far, the best way for Arizona to avoid losing this season might be to lead at the half, shoot better from the floor than the opponent, commit fewer turnovers than the opponent and score 70 points or more.
The Cats are only 5-4 this year when tied or trailing at halftime, 2-3 when shooting worse from the field than the opponent, 3-3 when committing more turnovers than the opponent, 1-2 when shooting below 40% from the floor, 1-4 when scoring 69 points or less, and 3-3 when three or fewer Wildcats reach double digits in scoring.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 14 of their last 15 home games and are 32-6 on their home court over the last three seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 10 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 101-41 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 167-149 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
THERE'S REALLY NO PLACE LIKE HOME: In home games this season, Arizona is averaging 88.7 points per game and is out-scoring opponents by an average of 24.6 ppg...
The Cats at Home - Arizona 88.7 ppg 44.6 rpg 20.4 apg 10.7 spg .484 fg pct .712 ft pct Opp. 64.1 ppg 40.0 rpg 15.0 apg 6.0 spg .347 fg pct .667 ft pct +24.6 ppg +4.6 rpg The Cats on the Road - Arizona 73.0 ppg 42.0 rpg 12.9 apg 8.9 spg .425 fg pct .709 ft pct Opp. 67.4 ppg 37.0 rpg 15.7 apg 9.3 spg .418 fg pct .608 ft pct +5.6 ppg +5.0 rpg
STEPPING UP: Junior center LaKeisha Taylor seems to have come into her own this season. During her first six games, Taylor registered only 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 58.3 percent (14-24) from the floor. However, over the last 11 games, Taylor has averaged to 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game while hitting 63.1 percent (53-84) from the field. She scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while leading the Cats to an 88-72 win over Washington at home on Jan. 13.
In the six games Taylor has started, she has averaged 14.8 ppg, 7.0 rpg and 1.2 blocks per game. She has hit 64.0 percent (32-50) from the floor and 75.8 percent (25-33) from the free throw line.
A TALE OF TWO HALVES: Arizona seems to be a "second-half team" this season. The Cats are averaging 37.6 ppg during the first halves of this season's contests, out-scoring opponents by an average of only 5.4 ppg in that period. During the second halves of this season's games, though, the Wildcats are averaging 43.1 ppg and are out-scoring opponents by an average of 9.8 ppg for that period.
BY THE NUMBERS: Ten of Arizona's wins this year have been by a total of 10 points or more... Five of those wins have been by spreads of 30 points or more... The Cats have hit four or more 3-pointers in 13 games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in 10 games... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 10 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 12 contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in nine games.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: The Wildcats are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 4.8 boards per game this year. The best rebounding margin of the season so far was against UPR-Mayaguez on Dec. 20, when the Cats out-rebounded the Bulldogs by 24.
Individually, freshman Veranda James grabbed a team season-high 16 boards against Rice on Nov. 28. That's the highest individual single-game rebound total for any player since then-freshman Adia Barnes pulled down 18 against Arizona State on Jan. 7, 1995.
GETTING TO THE LINE: Arizona is averaging 18.9 points per game from the free throw line so far this season. The Cats have made it to the free throw line 484 times over 18 games, for an average of 26.9 attempts per contest. The Wildcats have connected on 341 of those attempts (70.5 percent).
STRONG SCHEDULE: Several of Arizona's 2001 opponents were listed in this week's national rankings.
In this week's Associated Press Top 25, Notre Dame is No. 1 and Oregon is No. 20. Stanford, Washington, Auburn and Arizona State were among teams receiving votes for ranking.
In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, Notre Dame is No. 1 and Oregon is No. 20. Stanford, Auburn, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara were all among the teams receiving votes.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Senior guard Reshea Bristol is third on the Arizona career list in free throws made (293), third in steals (222), fourth in free throws attempted (407), fifth in three-pointers attempted (218), fifth in three-pointers made (69) and seventh in assists (352). She is in the No. 8 spot on the UA's all-time scoring list, with 1,010 career points, and needs 50 points to move into the No. 7 spot.
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney is third on the UA career list in blocked shots (91), tied for fourth in rebounding average (5.3 rpg), fifth in free throws made (268), tied for sixth in scoring average (11.5 ppg) and is sixth in free throws attempted (356). She is holding down the No. 17 spot on the all-time scoring chart with 909 career points, needing 16 more points to move to No. 16.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 27-21 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 10 seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 55 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: It seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 29-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 130-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 90-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
ON LOCATION: Arizona has a 9-0 mark at home this year, is 4-3 on the road and is 1-1 in neutral games. The Wildcats were 12-3 at home last season, 9-4 in road games and 4-0 in neutral contests.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 332-399 (.454) all-time record, however it is 136-63 (.683) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 179-93 career record against Pac-10 teams.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Cats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for at least three more games...
Sat., Feb. 10 at Washington St. Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST Sun., Feb. 18 USC Fox Sports Net 2 p.m. Thurs., Mar. 1 at Oregon State Fox Sports Northwest (taped delay)
The Mar. 3 (at Oregon) and Mar. 10 (California) contests have been selected by Fox Sports Net as potential TV games. The television status of each contest will be determined approximately 12 days before the specified dates.
BRISTOL HITS 1,000: At the 17:03 mark in the second half of the game at USC on Jan. 18, senior guard Reshea Bristol drained a three-pointer and became only the ninth Wildcat women's basketball player to reach the 1,000-point mark in career scoring.
NICE START: With their 14-2 start, the Wildcats tied the 1999-2000 team for the best record ever through the first 16 games of a season. The Cats' 4-0 start in Pac-10 play this year is their best start ever in conference action.
BRISTOL NAMED NATIONAL STAR OF THE WEEK (Jan. 8): After leading the Cats to a road sweep of the Bay Area schools, senior guard Reshea Bristol was named the WomensCollegeHoops.com "National Star of the Week" for Jan. 2-9.
BRISTOL NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan 8): Wildcat senior guard Reshea Bristol was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Jan. 2-8. She averaged 22.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 steals, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while leading the Wildcats to a road sweep of the Bay Area schools. She shot 90.9 percent (10-11) from the line, 66.7 percent (4-6) from three-point range and 46.9 percent (15-32) from the floor. That was the second straight week that Bristol earned the Player of the Week honor. The Player of the Week honor is the third of Bristol's career, her second this season and the 22nd all-time selection for Arizona.
BRISTOL NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 1): Wildcat senior guard Reshea Bristol was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 18-31. She helped lead Arizona to a 3-1 mark during that time frame, including all-tournament acclaim as the Cats earned runner-up honors at the San Juan Shootout. In wins over Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Nebraska and Kansas and a narrow loss to then-No. 9 Auburn, she averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in 123 total minutes of play. The Player of the Week honor is the second of Bristol's career.
THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-3 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last eight years.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: The Wildcats wrapped up regular season non-conference play this year with an outstanding 10-2 mark. Their only two losses were to No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 9 Auburn. During its 10 non-conference wins, Arizona averaged an astounding 86.8 points per game and out-scored opponents by an average of 24.9 points per game. Arizona has recorded a 60-14 mark against non-conference opponents over the last six years combined.
WHAT A GAME!: During the Dec. 20 contest against UPR-Mayaguez at the San Juan Shootout, Arizona set a new school record for margin of victory by defeating the Bulldogs, 105-41, a margin of 63 points. That surpassed the previous record if 56 points (99-43) set only 12 days earlier against Bowling Green on Dec. 8.
Arizona's 105 points in that contest is its highest offensive output since scoring 105 points against Sacramento State at home on Dec. 17, 1994. The 41 points scored by the Bulldogs is the best defensive effort since the Cats allowed Cal Poly-SLO to score only 39 on Jan. 9, 1996, in Tucson. The Cats also out-rebounded the Bulldogs by 24 (46-22), the best rebounding margin since the UA out-rebounded Sacramento State by 31 (59-28) during that Dec. 17, 1994 game.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: For the first time in the program's history, the Wildcats had four consecutive games of 90 points or more. Arizona defeated UNLV (91-74) on Dec. 6, Bowling Green (99-43) on Dec. 8, Fresno State (92-55) on Dec. 10 and Louisville (90-60) on Dec. 17 to put together the first-ever string of four straight games with offensive outputs of 90+ points.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 11): Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 4-11. She averaged 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game while leading the Wildcats to a 3-0 record for the week. In the three home victories, she shot a combined .489 from the floor (23-for-47), .824 from the line (14-for-17) and hit her first career three-pointer. This is Pickney's second career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor and Arizona's 20th Player of the Week honor all-time.
DISHING IT OUT: Against UNLV on Dec. 6, senior guard Reshea Bristol racked up a career-high 14 assists. That was the highest single-game assists total for any individual since former Wildcat Brenda Pantoja -- who was on UNLV's bench for that Dec. 6 game as an assistant coach -- collected 14 against Washington State at home on Feb. 29, 1996.
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won six straight season openers and eight in the 10 years she has been at the UA.
BRASE TO REDSHIRT: Wildcat junior guard Julie Brase will redshirt for the 2000-2001 season after having wrist surgery before the start of the season. Brase played in all 32 games last year, starting 19, and averaged 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
WHAT THE COACHES THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches... 1. Stanford, 2. Oregon, 3. USC, 4. ARIZONA, 5. Arizona State, t6. UCLA, t6. Washington, 8. Oregon State, 9. California, 10. Washington State.
The Pac-10 women's basketball media members picked Arizona to finish fourth, as well.
BUT WE CAN DO BETTER: In each of the previous three years, Arizona has equalled or bettered the Pac-10 coaches' pick for its finish... 2000 - picked fourth, finished tied for second; 1999 - picked fifth, finished fourth; 1998 - picked second, finished tied for second.
CATS INK EARLY SIGNEES: The Arizona women's basketball program signed four players on the first day of the early signing period last week. Forwards Danielle Adefeso (Santa Monica, CA/St. Monica HS) and Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, CA/Hanford HS) and guards Robin Roberson (Berkeley, CA/Berkeley HS) and Dee Dee Wheeler (Chicago, IL/Dunbar HS) will all join the Wildcats for the 2001-02 season.
PAC-10 APPROVES CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS: The Pacific-10 Conference Chief Executive Officers have approved the establishment of men's and women's post-season basketball tournaments.
The men's tournament will be an eight-team event to be staged at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The women's tournament will be a 10-team event hosted on campus by one of the Pac-10 members. Both tournaments will begin in March 2002. In each case, the winner of the Tournament will earn the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The Conference previously conducted a men's tournament following the 1987 through 1990 seasons. It has never sponsored a similar event for women.
OREGON TO HOST FIRST TOURNAMENT: Oregon has been selected as the first school to host the Pac-10 women's basketball tournament. The historical event will take place in March 2002 on the UO campus.
1999-2000 IN REVIEW: After returning 10 letterwinners and all five starters from the previous 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. The Cats garnered a 13-5 record in Pac-10 play, finishing in a tie for second with Stanford.
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.
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 during the 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.
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: With 12.7 points per game, 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 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. 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.