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Courtside Conversations ? Jan. 12, 2005
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/12/2005
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All right, get a hold of yourself! Yes, the 34-game home winning streak is over and yes the Arizona women’s basketball team has fallen to 3-2 in conference play, but take heart. Joan Bonvicini’s team is still a serious contender in the Pac-10, and here is why.

 

Firstly, the Cats currently have three teams ahead of them in the conference. They play two of them, UCLA and USC this weekend. As for Stanford, well let’s not talk about Stanford right now! 

 

Secondly, the Wildcats have had the most difficult schedule of any of the Top 5 teams in the Pac-10. Arizona has played three of their first five on the road, and has already faced two top teams in Stanford and Arizona State.

 

Thirdly, UCLA is 5-0 in conference play, but has floated through a soft schedule. Yes, they swept the Washington schools on the road, but so does everyone. However, the Bruins have played three of their first five games at home and have not yet faced Arizona, Arizona State or Stanford.  That will change this weekend when the Arizona schools visit Hollywood.

 

Fourthly, another team ahead of the Wildcats, USC, has had nearly the same good fortune as UCLA. The Trojans have only played two conference tilts outside of L.A. and they have yet to face the Cats, Devils or Cardinal.

 

What does this all mean to Arizona fans? It means keep the faith! This will be the key weekend for the entire season for the Wildcats. If they were to fall three games behind the Bruins, then you can kiss a second title goodbye. And Arizona must prove it can beat a good team ?- something they have not done this season. They have lost to each ranked team they have faced ?- Ohio State, Georgia, ASU (all on the road) and Stanford at home. The Wildcats’ one really good win was tarnished by Idaho’s victory over UCSB last week.

 

Even though Stanford had the gall to stop Arizona’s 34-game home winning streak, some positive things came from that effort. The Cats played their best game of the season and when Polkey gets back to 100 percent, they’ll be tough. But Pac-10 leading scorer Dee-Dee Wheeler can’t carry the team by herself. Natalie Jones, Shannon Hobson and Danielle Adefeso must double their numbers. That could happen.

 

Yes, this will be a tough grind. Stanford’s depth is ridiculous and Tara VanDerver should be sanctioned for having so much talent. But they have lost one already and UCLA and USC haven’t proven anything. It all starts this weekend ?- Friday at 7:30 p.m. on 1330 AM. Be there and take heart!

 

See you on the radio!

Paul Johnson

 

*All Wildcat games are broadcast live on AM 1330 KJLL.

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