COMING UP: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (7-14, 1-8 Pac-10) plays its eighth game of the season against a ranked opponent on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center, when the Wildcats host No. 9-ranked Stanford (16-3, 9-0 Pac-10). Arizona looks to end its four-game skid and snap the Cardinal 14-game winning streak.
CATCH THE ACTION: As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Paul Johnson calling the action from courtside.
Live statistics and live video feeds are available at Arizona athletics department official website: arizonaathletics.com.
UCLA RECAP: UCLA senior Noelle Quinn posted 23 points, 10 assists, and eight rebounds, and the Bruins held off a near comeback by Arizona at the end of the game for a 76-73 over the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon in McKale Center.
Arizona shot 36.0 percent (27-75) from the field in the game, including an 8-of-26 mark (30.9 percent) from three point range, and totaled 10 steals off of 22 UCLA turnovers. UCLA finished with a 50.9 percent mark (28-55) from the floor and out-rebounded the Wildcats 40-37, while totaling 19 assists.
Individually for Arizona, senior Joy Hollingsworth posted 23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals, and junior Ashley Whisonant finished with 16 points four rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Sophomore Amina Njonkou added nine points and seven rebounds, and junior Suzy Bofia posted eight points and six rebounds.
Junior forward Lindsey Pluimer added 23 points for UCLA.
Arizona and UCLA battled close in the first half, as a jumper by Hollingsworth gave Arizona a 17-14 lead at the 12:47 mark. A three by Pluimer at the 8:46 mark gave UCLA a 22-19 lead, but the Wildcats responded with six-straight points to lead 25-22 with 5:55 left in the first. A jumper by sophomore Malia O’Neal gave Arizona a 27-24 advantage with 2:34 left in the first, but UCLA ended the half on a 10-0 scoring run to lead 34-27 at halftime. Arizona shot 27.8 percent (10-36) from the floor in the first half, as UCLA posted a 45.5 percent (15-33) mark.
The Wildcats cut the UCLA lead to 38-34 at the 17:15 mark in the second half on a jumper by Bofia, but the Bruins rallied with six-consecutive points for a 44-34 lead with 15:38 left. Arizona cut the deficit to 49-46 at the 11:36 mark on a Whisonant lay in, but UCLA went on an 8-0 run in the next 1:49 to go up 57-46.
Arizona trailed by 13 points with 4:50 left in the game, but rallied with a 17-5 run to cut the Bruin lead to 69-68 on a three by junior Jessica Arnold with 1:20 left to play. The Wildcats would not get any closer, as the Bruins sealed the victory down the stretch at the free throw line.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 64.5 points a game while shooting 39.9 percent (516-1293) from the field, 26.2 percent (89-340) from three-point range, and 67.0 percent (234-349) from the free throw line. The Wildcats have also tallied 199 steals (9.5 spg), third-best in the Pac-10, off of 423 opponent turnovers. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 16.5 points a game (6th in the Pac-10) while posting 6.0 rebounds, and 2.48 steals per game (first in the Pac-10).
ABOUT THE CARDINAL: The Stanford University Cardinal enter Thursday’s game with a 16-3 overall record, a perfect first place mark of 9-0 in the Pac-10, and No. 9 national ranking. Stanford has won 14-consecutive games by an average margin of victory of 19.6 points. The Cardinal is 6-2 on the road so far this season, with a 5-0 road mark in Pac-10 play. As a team, Stanford shoots 45.4 percent (546-1202) from the field, 31.5 percent (91-289) from three point range, a 64.8 percent (186-287) from the free throw line, while averaging 72.1 points a game. Individually for the Cardinal, junior Candice Wiggins leads the team with 15.3 points a game, and senior Brooke Smith adds 13.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. Head coach Tara VanDerveer is in her 21st season at the helm of the Stanford program.
THE STANFORD-ARIZONA SERIES: Thursday’s game will be the 56th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Cardinal on the hardwood, with Stanford owning a 43-12 series advantage. Stanford has won seven-consecutive games in the series, including an 86-58 victory over the Wildcats on Dec. 28, 2006. The Wildcats last defeated the Cardinal, 88-83, on Feb. 5, 2004 in McKale Center.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 15 seasons at the helm, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to nine postseason appearances, including seven NCAA Tournament berths and a WNIT Championship.
Under Bonvicini's tutelage, the Wildcats have finished in the upper tier of the Pac-10 in nine of the last 10 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history. During this time, Arizona has been nationally ranked multiple times, including a best ever ranking of No. 7 in 1998.
Bonvicini's success is mirrored in her players' accolades. She has produced one All-American, five honorable mention All-America selections, a Pac-10 Player of the Year, three Pac-10 Freshmen of the Year, 21 All-Pac-10 honorees, 16 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 11 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 273-196 (.582) mark at Arizona and is 598-267 (.691) in 27 years as a head coach, needing just two wins to become the 18th coach in NCAA history to reach 600 career wins. She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances.
WIN #600: As mentioned above, head coach Joan Bonvicini stands just two wins shy of 600 in her career. With two more wins, she will become the 18th coach in NCAA history to accomplish the 600 win plateau.
DO WE PLAY HERE?: Arizona finally gets to enjoy the comforts of playing at home in McKale Center, as the Wildcats finish out a season-long four-game home stand this week. Arizona played 11 of its first 19 games away from McKale Center, including five of its first seven Pac-10 games on the road.
TOUGH BEATS: Arizona has lost 14 games on the season, but its beats have come against some of the top teams in the nation. Entering Thursday’s game against Stanford, Arizona's 14 losses have been against teams with a combined record of 185-79 (.701), with seven of those losses being to ranked teams.
According to collegerpi.com, Arizona's schedule is ranked as the 18th-toughest in the nation.
Vs. RANKED OPPONENTS: Arizona will play its eighth game of the season against a ranked opponent. So far this season, the Wildcats are 0-7 against ranked opposition.
HOME AGAINST THE PAC: Arizona has been very successful at home in McKale Center, especially during Pac-10 Conference play. Since the 1995-96 season, Arizona is 75-28 (.728) against Pac-10 teams at home, including a 65-22 mark (.747) since the 1997-98 season. The Wildcats once owned a 20-game winning streak against the Pac-10 at home, which included two undefeated (9-0) seasons in 2003 and 2004. The Wildcats went 2-7 at home against Pac-10 teams last season, and are 1-3 at home so far this season.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 6-4 this season when leading at halftime. However, the Wildcats are 1-3 in the last four games when leading at the half. Against USC on Thursday, the Wildcats owned a 34-26 halftime lead, but were outscored 51-34 in the second half to hand the Women of Troy a 77-68 win.
CARDIAC CATS: So far this season, the Wildcats have succeeded in the close ball games. Arizona is 4-2 in games decided by five points or less. The Wildcats have notched two overtime wins decided by three points or less, a road win by four points, and a thrilling 59-57 win over Washington State.
Arizona dropped three-point decision to UCLA on Saturday, 76-73, breaking a four-game win streak in games decided by five points or less.
MAGIC NUMBER: So far this season, Arizona is 4-2 when scoring 70 points or more in a game, including a season-high 83 points scored in its season-opening win against Nicholls State. All-time, Arizona is 176-21 (.893) when scoring 80 points or more, as the Wildcats are 129-14 (.902) under head coach Joan Bonvicini when reaching the 80 point plateau. Arizona is 1-9 this season when posting 60-69 points in a game.
Arizona, however, has lost its last two games when scoring 70 points or more.
RUN IT, RUN IT: So far this season, Arizona has shown the ability to put together some large scoring runs. Here is a breakdown of some of the Wildcats' major scoring-streaks:
25 points: 30-5 scoring run over 12:50 in the first half vs. Nicholls State
21 points: 30-9 run over the final 6:53 of the first half at UTEP
18 points: 23-5 run over the first 12:38 of the second half vs. Long Beach State
16 points: 16-0 run over 3:13 in the first half vs. Louisiana Tech
16 points: 20-4 run over the final 8:11 of the game at Maryland
15 points: 15-0 run over 4:40 in the first half vs. GW
14 points: 15-1 run over 3:57 in the second half vs. Long Beach State
12 points: 17-5 run over 3:30 in the second half vs. UCLA
12 points: 12-0 run over 5:55 in first half vs. NC State
12 points: 18-6 run over the final 7:50 of the game vs. Nicholls State
11 points: 14-3 run over 9:20 to start the second half vs. Washington State
10 points: 17-7 run over 6:24 in the first half vs. New Mexico
10 points: 13-3 run over 4:24 in the second half vs. Washington
10 points: 10-0 run over 1:47 in the second half vs. GW
10 points: 10-0 run over 3:54 in the first half vs. USC
THE BIG, BAD RUN: Although Arizona can score points in bunches, the Wildcats have a tendency to give up large scoring runs to the opposition. Here is a look at some of the scoring runs Arizona has given up to opponents:
26 points: 31-5 scoring run to Maryland over 9:59 to start the first half
21 points: 26-5 run to Texas A&M in the final 7:31 of the first half
20 points: 26-6 run at Arizona State over 9:26 to start the first half
16 points: 16-0 run to California over 7:45 in the first half
16 points: 21-5 run to UTEP in the final 3:37 of the game
14 points: 17-3 run at Oregon over 4:28 in the first half
13 points: 13-0 run to Fresno State in the final 4:33 of the game
13 points: 16-3 run to Louisiana Tech over 5:29 in the first half
12 points: 14-2 run to USC over 7:14 in the first half
12 points: 13-1 run at Oregon over 5:54 in the second half.
12 points: 16-4 run to New Mexico over 5:21 to start the first half
12 points: 15-3 run to Washington State over 4:51 in the first half
11 points: 16-5 run to USC over 4:04 in the second half
11 points: 15-4 run to USC in the final 4:23 of the game
11 points: 15-4 run to New Mexico over 4:51 midway through the second half
10 points: 10-0 run to Utah over 3:16 in the first half
10 points: 10-0 run to UCLA over the final 2:34 of the first half
WATCH YOUR POCKETS: The Wildcats have excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this season. Arizona has tallied 199 steals (9.5 spg) on the year, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has forced 423 opponent turnovers, converting 377 points (17.9 ppg) off of turnovers. The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in 11 games this season, including 10 steals against UCLA on Saturday. The Wildcats also tallied 26 points off of 22 UCLA turnovers in the game. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.4 spg, the top mark in the Pac-10.
OFFENSIVE BOARDS: So far this season, the Wildcats have done a solid job on the offensive glass. On the year, the Wildcats have grabbed 287 offensive rebounds, leading to 261 second-chance points. Arizona is averaging 13.7 offensive rebounds and 12.4 second-chance points a game, and has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 17 of 21 games. Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds the last six consecutive games, and nine of the last 10 games, including 17 against UCLA on Saturday.
BIG POINTS: Arizona went the first 12 games of the season without giving up 80 points to an opponent. In the last eight games, the Wildcats have given up 80 or more points four times. Arizona is 0-4 when giving up 80 points or more, and 0-8 when allowing 70 points or more in a game to the opposition. Arizona gave up 76 points UCLA on Saturday.
LOOKING FOR DIMES: The Wildcats have been moving the ball around on offense, and it shows in the stat column. Arizona posted a season-high 21 assists against Oregon State on Jan. 13, and followed that performance up with 15 assists against USC last Thursday. The Wildcats also posted 16 assists against UCLA on Saturday. The UA mark of 52 dimes in a three-game span is a season-best.
PAC-10 PRODUCTIVITY: Through nine Pac-10 games, Arizona has four players averaging double-figures in scoring during conference play. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads the way at 16.9 points a game, followed by junior Ashley Whisonant with 11.3 ppg, junior Jessica Arnold at 10.0 ppg, and sophomore Amina Njonkou with 10.0 ppg.
PLAYING CLOSE: In Arizona's last five losses, the Wildcats have played tough in the second half only to see the game go into the hands of the opposition. Against UCLA, Arizona used a 17-5 run to cut the Bruin lead to 69-68 1:20 left to play in the game, but could not close in any more down the stretch. Against USC last Thursday, the Wildcats owned a 42-31 lead in the second half with 16:26 left in the game, only to give up a 16-5 run and a 15-4 run to the Women of Troy for the USC win.
Against Washington on Jan. 4, the Wildcats used a 13-3 run to cut the Husky lead to 60-54 with 8:12 left in the game, only to be outscored 23-12 the rest of the way. At Oregon on Jan. 11, Arizona cut the Oregon lead to 58-53 14:24 left to play, but gave up a 13-1 run to the Ducks over the next 5:54 that put the game out of reach. At Oregon State on Saturday, Arizona trimmed the OSU lead to 39-35 at the 14:54 mark in the second half, but gave up six-straight points to give the Beavers a 45-35 lead, enough of a cushion to last down the stretch for the OSU win.
GIVE HER THE ROCK: Joy Hollingsworth has been on a tear offensively as of late, averaging 21. 8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 2.5 steals in her last six games.
The Seattle native is averaging a team-best 16.5 points a game (6th in the Pac-10), as she has scored 22 points or more on seven different occasions. She is also averaging 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals a game (tops in the Pac-10), and has posted double-figure point totals in 18 out of 21 games this season. Hollingsworth is shooting 39.5 percent from the field (124-314), and averages 14 shots a game.
On Saturday against UCLA, Hollingsworth posted 23 points, seven rebounds, and a career-high seven assists, while snagging three steals.
ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant serves as the Wildcats' floor general, and she has picked up her game running the Arizona offense. Against Oregon State on Jan.13, she dished out a career-high tying 11 assists against the Beavers. She last recorded 11 assists as a sophomore against Furman on Nov. 22, 2005. Against USC last Thursday, the Bowie, Md., native passed out six assists to go with 10 points. The 17 assists was her highest total of the season in a two-game span.
Against UCLA, Whisanant posted 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals
On the season, Whisonant is averaging 11.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game, including marks of 11.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in Pac-10 play.
MS. CONSISTENCY: Sophomore Amina Njonkou has been a monster with her play in the paint this season, as she has become one of Arizona's most consistent players. The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 9.7 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds a game. She leads the team with 67 offensive rebounds (second in the Pac-10), and is shooting 47.2 percent (76-161) from the field. Against Fresno State, Njonkou finished with 15 points and a career-best 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Njonkou recorded the first double-double of her career with a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds against Nicholls State.
Last Thursday against USC, Njonkou posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high four assists. So far this season, she has recorded five rebounds or more in 19 of her 21 games. In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 10.0 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
SOLID PLAY: Junior Suzy Bofia had one of her most productive outings of the season against UCLA on Saturday, posting eight points and six rebounds in 19 minutes of play. The Cameroon native, shot 4-of-7 from the field, and tallied three offensive rebounds, a block, and a steal. On the season, Bofia is averaging 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds a game
BRING IT: Like every season, Arizona competes against some of the toughest competition in the nation. This year will be no different. The Wildcats will face a strong non-conference slate to go along with the always-difficult Pac-10 Conference season. Arizona will play 20 games this season against 12 teams that participated in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will face defending national champion Maryland and NCAA Tournament teams George Washington and TCU in the first week of the season. Arizona also hosts NC State, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico, and travels to Texas A&M and Utah. After the brutal non-conference slate, Arizona must throw blows with its Pac-10 Conference foes, including Arizona State, California, Stanford, Washington, USC, and UCLA, all tournament teams from a year ago.
RANK THIS: Arizona's tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this year's preseason rankings. In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN Preseason Top-25 Poll, nine of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the season. Defending champs Maryland tops the list at No. 1 in the nation, followed by No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 21 California, No. 22 USC, No. 23 UCLA, and No. 25 Washington. Additionally, five other Arizona opponents (George Washington, Utah, TCU, Louisiana Tech, and NC State) received double-digit votes in the poll.
This week, six of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25. So far this season, Arizona is 0-7 against ranked opposition.
CATS PICKED TO FINISH SEVENTH IN PAC-10: The University of Arizona women's basketball team was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conference's head coaches on Oct., 16. The Wildcats garnered 32 points in the poll, as defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this year's Pac-10 title.
The Cardinal received nine of 10 first-place votes and 81 points, as Arizona State received the remaining first-place nod and tallied 70 points to place second. USC was tabbed to finish third with 63 points, followed by California and Washington with 53 points for a tie for the fourth-place slot. UCLA grabbed 46 points to place sixth, followed by Arizona (32), as Oregon (22), Washington State (16) and Oregon State (14) rounded out the poll.
Arizona was also selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Media Poll released Nov. 7.
UP NEXT: Arizona hosts California on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 4 p.m. in McKale Center. The game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net.