Dec. 29, 2011
Saturday's game will air live on FSN. Jim Watson and Mary Murphy will call the action. Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400 in Tucson. All broadcasts will start 15 minutes prior to tip-off for the pregame show. Derrick Palmer (play-by-play) and Molly O'Mara (color) will call the action this season. Visit ArizonaWildcats.com for all of your live stats and video needs.
Arizona and ASU will meet for the 81st time on Saturday and ASU holds a 49-31 advantage over UA. The Sun Devils have won 10 of the last 11 match-ups. Last season, for the first time since Jan. 26, 2005, Arizona got a win against Arizona State in front of a home crowd of 3,310 fans. The Wildcats beat the Sun Devils, 73-61.
Arizona is 11-1 to open the season, including a 5-0 record on the road, with the only loss coming at the hands of BYU at a neutral site. The Wildcats are paced by junior guard Davellyn Whyte's 18.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. She is backed up by sophomore forward Erica Barnes' 12.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Shanita Arnold hands out 5.3 assists per game to go with her 9.3 points. UA is shooting 42.4 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from three-point range and 69 percent from the free throw line.
Arizona State is 9-2 to open the season, including a 7-0 home record, with losses coming vs. Rutgers and at DePaul. The Sun Devils are paced by senior forward Kimberly Brandon's 10.2 points and 7.1 rebounds. She is backed up by junior guard Micaela Pickens' 8.0 points and 5.5 boards per contest. ASU is shooting 42.3 percent from the field, 29.5 percent from three-point range and 61.6 percent from the free throw line.
Arizona ranks in the top three in the Pac-12 in three-point field goal percentage (.398), turnover margin (+2.1), offensive rebound percentage (.395) and three-point field goals made (7.2). Individually, Whyte ranks No. 3 in scoring (18.9), No. 6 in free throw percentage (.789), No. 5 in steals (2.4), No. 4 in three-point field goal percentage (.443) and No. 2 in three-point field goals made (2.6). Barnes in No. 7 in rebounding (8.8), No. 9 in free throw percentage (.750) and No. 2 in offensive rebounds (4.3). Arnold ranks No. 2 in assists (5.3) and No. 3 is assist/turnover ratio (2.1).
With its current 11-1 record and only loss at the hands of BYU, Arizona is off to the best start in program history since the 1999-2000 season. That squad went 12-1 before losing to Stanford, 98-95, in Tucson. Last year, for the first time since the 2003-04 season, the Wildcats were 11-2 to start the season. UA dropped non-conference games to eventual national champion Texas A&M and at Nevada before winning its first two conference contests.
Arizona has played seven of its 12 games away from Tucson this season. The Wildcats are 5-0 on the road and 1-1 at a neutral site with wins at Georgia Southern, Georgia State, New Mexico State, BYU-Hawai'i and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The last time UA won five-straight road games was Dec. 29, 1999-Feb. 6, 2000, a five-game streak that included wins at Louisville (80-70), Washington State (83-68), Washington (96-85), Oregon (73-66) and Oregon State (65-49). That streak ended with an 80-68 loss at USC on Feb. 17, 2000.
Last time out, the Wildcats ended the non-conference portion of the 2011-12 schedule with a 62-58 win against UNLV. Whyte led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-17 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range. Arizona also got double-digit scoring efforts from senior guard Reiko Thomas (13) and Arnold (10). Recording her most productive minutes of the season, Thomas also had seven rebounds, four assists and three steals in 33 minutes of play. Arnold finished with four assists, three rebounds and two steals.
Saturday's contest means there is a potential half point on the line in the State Farm Territorial Cup Series. The Cats currently lead the Sun Devils, 3.5 to 1.5. Since the 2009-10 season, UA and ASU's head-to-head match-ups took on an added bonus with the inception of the State Farm Territorial Cup Series. The State Farm Territorial Cup, once given to the winner of the annual UA-ASU football game, is now an across-the-board contest that includes 18 sports. Last season, Arizona beat ASU 11.5 to 6.5. In cases such as basketball where teams meet twice, the point is awarded to whichever team wins twice. If a split occurs, each side is awarded ½ point.