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Wildcat Women Tip off Season at Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/16/1999
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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (25th A.P./24th USA Today) will officially tip off the 1999-2000 season at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic in Honolulu, Hawai'i, on Nov. 19-21.

The Wildcats will take on Oklahoma in the first round on Friday, Nov. 19, at 2:30 p.m. HST (5:30 p.m. MST). The UA plays Tennessee Tech on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m. HST (4 p.m. MST), and then the Cats face host team Hawai'i on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 3 p.m. HST (6 p.m. MST) in a contest which will be broadcast locally in the Honolulu area on KFVE-TV.

POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP:
45 Elizabeth Pickney  F, 6-4, So.     Houston, TX
53 Tatum Brown        F, 6-4, Sr.     Tacoma, WA
20 Julie Brase        G, 5-9, So.     Tucson, AZ
22 Monika Crank       G, 5-7, Sr.     Page, AZ
23 Felecity Willis    G, 5-7, Sr.     Apple Valley, CA

OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically): 33 Tysell Bozeman G, 5-8, So. Riverside, CA 10 Reshea Bristol G, 5-10, Jr. Omaha, NE 3 Lisa Griffith G, 5-6, Sr. Portland, OR 34 Angela Lackey F, 6-0, Sr. Louisville, KY 51 Michelle Mitchell C, 6-4, So. Oregon City, OR 21 Jamie Sturdivant G, 5-7, Fr. Simi Valley, CA 50 LaKeisha Taylor C, 6-4, So. Houston, TX 35 Krista Warren G, 6-2, Fr. Cloverdale, CA

ABOUT ARIZONA: For the third year in a row, the Wildcats entered the season nationally ranked in the Associated Press poll. Arizona is ranked 25th in the AP poll again this week, after debuting at that spot in the preseason poll last week. The Cats were ranked 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason poll released on Nov. 9.

Arizona played a pair of exhibition games earlier in November to get ready for the new season. On Nov. 5, the Cats pounded the SBC Prerov Czech club, 88-52. The UA did not fare as well against the New Zealand National Team on Nov. 11, as the very sluggish Wildcats fell, 70-62.

The Cats are coming off a year which saw them go 18-11 overall and 12-6 in Pac-10 play, finishing fourth. The UA made its third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, despite being a very young team.

Arizona returns nine letterwinners, including all five starters, from the 1999 team. The Cats will also welcome the return of senior guard Monika Crank, who was redshirted last year after an ACL tear.

ABOUT OKLAHOMA: The Sooners return seven letterwinners and all five starters from a 1999 team that garnered a 15-14 overall mark and went 8-8 to tie for eighth in the Big 12. Oklahoma did well in its preseason exhibitions, downing Basketball Travelers (91-52) on Nov. 8 and Lithuania Arvi Vernitas (83-69) on Nov. 13.

A three-time All-Big 12 selection, senior forward Phylesha Whaley is the Sooners' top returning player, after posting team-best averages of 19.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last season. Sophomore guard LaNeishea Caufield comes off a year which saw her average 15.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 2.6 steals per game. Another sophomore guard, Stacey Dales registered 11.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 5.2 assists per game.

Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale (Oklahoma Christian, 1987) has a 28-55 record in three years at the helm of the Sooner program.

ABOUT TENNESSEE TECH: The 1999 season saw Tennessee Tech garner a 21-9 overall mark and the Ohio Valley Conference championship with a 14-4 league record. The Golden Eaglettes, who return eight letterwinners and four starters, won their only preseason exhibition game, 77-56, over EOS Malbas Sweden on Nov. 8.

With averages of 14.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season, senior center Diane Seng is the Golden Eaglettes' top returnee. Fellow center Janet Holt, a sophomore, averaged 13.2 ppg and was the team-leading rebounder at 6.1 per game.

Head coach Bill Worrell (Tennessee Tech, 1968) owns a 264-122 mark in his 13th year at reins of his alma mater's program.

ABOUT HAWAI'I: Coming off a year in which they recorded a 17-10 overall mark and went 9-5 in the Western Athletic Conference Pacifice Division, the Rainbow Wahine return 10 letterwinners, including four starters. The `Bows did not play any preseason exhibition games.

With averages of 20.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game, senior wing Raylene Howard lead Hawai'i in both categories last year. Senior forward Kylie Galloway returns for the Rainbow Wahine after sitting out last year with an ankle injury. She posted 18.4 ppg and 6.0 rpg during the 1997-98 season.

Wahine head coach Vince Goo (Southern Oregon, 1969) is 241-107 in 12 years at Hawai'i.

THE SERIES: The meetings with Oklahoma and Tennesse Tech are firsts for UA women's basketball.

Hawai'i holds the 2-0 lead in the series with Arizona. The Rainbow Wahine took the last meeting with the Cats, 67-66, on Nov. 23, 1990 in Honolulu.

THE LAST TIME: Arizona was last in Honolulu for the Wahine Classic on Nov. 25-27, 1994. While there, the Cats lost to then-15th-ranked Florida (94-76) and then-eighth-ranked Virginia (60-56) but were able to pull out a victory over New Mexico (77-58) on the final day of the tourney.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: On Nov. 11, the Wildcats played their final preseason exhibition game, losing to the New Zealand National Team, 70-62.

The Cats came out flat right from the tip and never fully regained their composure. Neither team led by more than six points through the first half, and Arizona took a 31-29 advantage into the lockerroom at the break.

Arizona managed to stretch that to an 11-point (47-36) lead at 12:23 in the second half, then the New Zealanders rallied to end the game on a 34-15 run that secured them the victory.

The Cats were plagued by turnovers (34) and dismal free throw shooting (12-for-23) throughout the game, although they did shoot a solid 53.3 percent (24-45) from the floor for the contest.

Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney hit 7-of-9 from the field en route to a game-high-tying 17 points. Senior forward Tatum Brown was the only other Cat in double digits, scoring 13 points while grabbing five rebounds.

Sophomore center LaKeisha Taylor came off the bench to pull down a team-high six rebounds while adding seven points. Senior guard Felecity Willis racked up game-highs of 10 assists and four steals.

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won four straight season openers and a total of six in the eight years she has been at the UA.

In the 27 years of Arizona women's basketball, the Wildcats have won 14 season openers. The UA went on to post winning records in eight of those 14 seasons.

WHO'S BACK FOR ARIZONA: Technically, including Monika Crank, the Wildcats have 10 returnees on this year's squad. The 2000 roster is senior-laden, featuring five, and also sports one junior, five sophomores and two freshmen.

Senior forward Angela Lackey will undoubtedly be looking to reprise her role as the UA's leading scorer, after she led the Cats with 14.4 points per game last year. Fellow senior Felecity Willis, a guard, was the team's second-leading scorer (12.1 ppg) and was one of the Pac-10's assists leaders at 5.5 per game. Both Lackey and Willis were first team All-Pac-10 honorees.

Yet another senior, guard Lisa Griffith was selected honorable mention All-Pac-10 after averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game. Fellow senior Tatum Brown played in 13 contests, averaging 9.5 ppg and 5.2 rpg.

The final senior is a much-welcomed returnee. Guard Monika Crank had averages of 6.5 points and 3.3 assists per game for the 1998 squad. She is well-known not only for accuracy from three-point range, but also for her defensive prowess.

Guard Reshea Bristol is the only junior on this season's roster. She averaged 11.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game.

A group of five sophomores is highlighted by forward Elizabeth Pickney, the team's leading rebounder (5.8 rpg) and shot-blocker (1.2 bpg) last year. Guard Julie Brase was a valuable back-court sub while posting 6.8 ppg and 2.5 rpg.

Fellow sophomores LaKeisha Taylor and Michelle Mitchell should push for more time along the front line this year.

WHO'S NEW FOR ARIZONA: Sophomore guard Tysell Bozeman will finally see action this season after sitting out last year as a partial qualifier. The 1998 Los Angeles Times Player of the Year, Bozeman is expected to give the Cats even more depth in the backcourt.

Another freshman, the 6-2 Krista Warren is the tallest guard on this year's roster. Named a BCI first team All-American last year, Warren was a three-time Northern California Player of the Year.

The final freshman guard, Jamie Sturdivant made the squad as a walk-on. She hails from Simi Valley (Calif.) High School, where she was named to the Los Angeles Times all-county team last season.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats return to their own court on Thanksgiving weekend to open a six-game home stand. The Cats will renew the oldest series in UA women's basketball history when they face New Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center.

ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...

        
Tues.   Nov.    16      2-4 p.m.        McKale
Wed.    Nov.    17      Depart for Honolulu
                        Practice 5-7 p.m. HST   Stan Sheriff Center
Thurs.  Nov.    18      10-11:45 a.m. HST       Gym 2
Fri.    Nov.    19      vs. Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m. HST
Sat.    Nov.    20      vs. Tennessee Tech, 1 p.m. HST
Sun.    Nov.    21      vs. Hawai'i, 3 p.m. HST
                        Begin return trip to Tucson
Mon.    Nov.    22      Return to Tucson, 10:30 a.m.
                        No practice
Tues.   Nov.    23      2-4:30 p.m.     McKale  lifting after
Wed.    Nov.    24      4:30-7 p.m.     McKale

RADIO CHANGE: All of the UA's contests will be broadcast on radio again this year, however the broadcasts will be on a different station. Every contest, home and away, will be carried by KCEE 940 AM, with Paul Johnson as the play-by-play announcer.

HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In her eight years 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.

Now facing her ninth year at the UA with a career win total of 459, Bonvicini is still steering the Wildcat program at full steam ahead. In a season that saw her playing five freshmen on a regular basis, Bonvicini guided the 1999 Cats to yet another NCAA tournament appearance, its third in as many years.

In her eight years with the Cats, Bonvicini has posted a 134-98 (.578) mark.

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 is 459-169 (.731) in 20 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 22-13 record in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.

RACKING UP THE WINS: Joan Bonvicini needs only 25 more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) begins 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 primarily with scouting and with coaching the post players.

WEDDING BELLS AND BASKETBALLS... AND FOOTBALLS: Associate head coach Denise Dove married UA football recruiting coordinator/wide receivers coach Rob Ianello on July 3 this past summer.

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.

Senior forward 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.

ARIZONA ON THE TUBE: The Wildcats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for five different games...

Sun.  Nov. 21 at Hawai'i      KFVE-TV Honolulu, 3 p.m. HST
Tues. Dec. 21 at Kansas       Sunflower Cablevision*, 7:05 p.m. CST
Sat.  Jan. 22 USC             Fox Sports Net, 2 p.m.
Sun.  Jan. 30 Arizona State   Fox Sports net, 2 p.m.
Sat.  Feb. 19 at UCLA         Fox Sports Net, 1 p.m. PST
(* broadcast in Lawrence, Kan., area on taped-delay basis)

DUALLY SUCCESSFUL: Ten schools have both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked among the AP Top 25 this week. They are Arizona, Auburn, North Carolina, Connecticut, Kansas, UCLA, Illinois, Duke, Tennessee and Purdue.

A STREAK "ON THE LINE": Senior forward Angela Lackey brings a streak of 17 consecutive free throws made into the 1999-2000 season.

DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 72-72 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 38-16 league mark over the last three seasons combined.

RECORD WATCH: Last season, guard Lisa Griffith surpassed former Stanford player Vanessa Nygaard to become the Pac-10 career leader in three-pointers made, with 212. Griffith became Arizona's all-time leader in three-pointers made on Feb. 6, 1999. She is also the UA leader in career three-pointers attempted, with 573.

Griffith is #14 on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list. With 915 career points, she needs only 10 more points to move into the #13 spot.

Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #4 with 86 career starts. She stands at sixth on the career assists list, with 349.

Felecity Willis is in eighth in career three-pointers attempted (141) and in 3FG made (38). She is holding down fifth place on the all-time assists chart, with her 372 career dishes putting her 47 out of fourth place.

STRONG SCHEDULE: There are a lot of quality teams which stand between the Wildcats and a fourth straight NCAA appearance in 2000. This year's slate features eight teams which earned NCAA berths last season, including two schools -- UCLA and Colorado State -- that played one another in the Sweet Sixteen.

Pac-10 foe UCLA is ranked fourth in this week's AP poll, while UC Santa Barbara is 15th, Oregon is 17th and Kansas is 19th. Stanford, Colorado State and New Mexico each received votes for ranking this week.

In the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Coaches' poll, UCLA was No. 4, UC Santa Barbara was No. 13, Oregon was No. 16 and Kansas was No. 20. Stanford, Colorado State, Louisville, Hawai'i, Oklahoma, Arizona State and USC all received votes.

ON LOCATION: Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests last year.

SEASON TICKETS: Arizona women's basketball season tickets are on sale now. The tickets are $65 each for the general public or $55 for senior citizens, youth and UA faculty and staff. For more information, call the UA Athletic Ticket Office at (520) 621-2287.

CAT SCRATCHES: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 23-16 in games settled by five points or less, including a 7-4 mark in games settled by one or two points... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 293-389 (.430) all-time record, however it is 97-53 (.647) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 162-86 career record against Pac-10 teams... Over the last eight seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 46 games by spreads of 20 points or more.

CAN'T GET RID OF US: The Wildcats are not ones to take tournament competition of any kind lightly - no "one-and-out" here. The Wildcats have made it past the first round of play in each of the last 11 straight tournaments (including post-season) in which they have competed.

In their last six regular-season tourneys, the Cats have made it to the championship game in each, and in each of their four straight post-season appearances, the Wildcats have gotten past the first round of play.

The UA will have quite a few opportunities during the regular season this year to test its tournament mettle. The Cats play in three tournaments this season.

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 27-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 109-15 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 69-8 when topping that 80-point plateau.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted an 80-38 mark in McKale Center, including a 49-10 record over the last four seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 147-146 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

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.

The 1998 season saw the Cats enter 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 made it into the Sweet Sixteen, only to fall to then-third-ranked Connecticut.

Last year, the Cats earned a #6 seed in the Midwest Region, defeating 11th-seeded Florida, 87-84, in overtime to nab yet another first-round win. Arizona fell to #3 seed and ninth-ranked Rutgers, 90-47, in the second round of the tourney.

Arizona has been placed in a different region in each of its three years of NCAA tournament competition.

SOON-TO-BE 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). Arizona still has three more scholarships to give for the 2000-2001 season.

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. After being picked by both the coaches and the media to finish in fifth place, the UA finished fourth in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark.

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. Arizona went 5-4 against those non-conference opponents, with quality losses to Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Colorado State and a big road win over UC Santa Barbara.

That tough early slate prepared the Cats for a season of Pac-10 play which showed more parity than it has in years. 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. The Cats travelled to Piscataway, N.J., for the first- and second-round games, hosted by #3 seed and ninth-ranked Rutgers.

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 this year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).

The Wildcats finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in free throw percentage (.721) and in assist/turnover ratio (0.86). The Cats were second in offense (74.2 ppg), assists (16.59 apg) and turnover margin (+3.79 tpg).

ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT IN `99: With 14.4 points per game, forward Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Guard Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by forward 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 guard Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, followed by guard Lisa Griffith with 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game.

Several Wildcats finished the year among the Pac-10 statistical leaders. Bristol was third in the Pac-10 in steals (2.71 spg), and Willis was third in both assists (5.52 apg) and in field goal percentage (.546). Lackey was fifth in scoring (14.4 ppg), Pickney was fifth in blocked shots (1.21 bpg), and Griffith was fifth in assists (4.79 apg).

Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini made her 13th career trip to the NCAA tournament. She has a 22-13 career record in NCAA play and has never lost an NCAA first-round game. Bonvicini is 134-98 in her eighth year at the helm of Arizona's program and holds a 459-169 mark in 20 years as a head coach.

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