Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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Paul Johnson is employed by the UA as the women's basketball play-by-play announcer. He has 20 years of sports broadcasting experience, including the last six years as the voice of Arizona women's basketball. Every Wildcat women's basketball game this year will be broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM, with Paul calling all the action.

Courtside Archives

March 20, 2004
March 15, 2004
March 11, 2004
March 2, 2004
Feb. 24, 2004
Feb. 17, 2004
Feb. 10, 2004
Feb. 5, 2004
Jan. 27, 2004
Jan. 20, 2004
Jan. 12, 2004
Jan. 5, 2004
Dec. 23, 2003
Dec. 11, 2003
Nov. 19, 2003
Oct. 20, 2003
2002-03 Archive
2001-02 Archive

It was Nov. 14, 1994, and we pulled away from our Berkeley hotel. The day before, the Arizona football team had suffered a devastating loss to California, and a chance for a trip to the Rose Bowl had disappeared. Even with that loss, the Wildcats had a chance to finish 9-2 if they could beat ASU in the team's final regular season game. I remember Brian Jeffries saying to Les Josephsen and me, "If they beat ASU, anything could happen." These turned out to be prophetic words. The Cats did beat ASU, and then went on to an impressive shutout win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

A similar scenario could apply to the Arizona women's basketball team in 2001-02. All of the sudden, the Cats have started to win. No, they are not setting the world on fire, but they are beginning to pull things together. After sweeping the L.A. schools last weekend, the Wildcats have pieced together an improbable four-game Pac-10 winning streak. They have pulled themselves out of the grave and posted a 5-4 record at the midway point of the conference season. The hill is still high and the climb will be long, but yes, anything could still happen.

This Thursday, Joan Bonvicini's team will visit the hallowed grounds of Maples Pavilion on the campus of Stanford University. This is the building in which the Cardinal presides over the women's college basketball world. Coming into this contest, third-ranked Stanford is 8-0 in the Pac-10 and 18-1 overall. Their only loss came to Tennessee in a very close game in mid-December. In short, the Cardinal are good! So, one would look at this game and think the improbable run by the Cats is over.

Will it be back to reality? Not if you ask the players.

Monday night on the Joan Bonvicini Coach's Show (heard Monday nights from 6-7 p.m. on KJLL 1330 AM), I interviewed junior Julie Brase and freshman Robin Roberson. Both players made it very clear that the Cats are not going to Stanford just to play well, but they are going to Stanford to win. It is amazing what four straight wins can do for a team's confidence. Two weeks ago, the team was reeling. Now, it thinks it can beat Stanford on the Cardinal's home court. Not likely you say? Well, as one fine broadcaster once put it, "anything can happen!"

For the Cats to upset the Cardinal, a couple of things need to happen. First, Arizona must work harder than Stanford. The Cats must wipe the floor with their uniforms as they sprawl for loose balls. Arizona must beat the home team to every loose ball and get offensive rebounds. Second, someone wearing an Arizona uniform needs to go off. I mean that a Candice Allen, Aimee Grzyb or Liz Pickney must have a career night and carry her team. Third, the Cardinal must be a bit off. Maybe Stanford will not play at its best game as it looks forward to Saturday's game with ASU. Maybe the Pac-10's best team will miss some free throws. If these things take place, Arizona could very well post their fifth-straight conference victory.

After this week's road trip, Arizona will play five of its last seven games at home. The Wildcats are only one game out of second place. If they could somehow grab that second seed in the Pac-10 Tournament, an appearance in the NCAA Tournament is not as far-fetched as once believed. Stanford is certainly an obstacle to these lofty expectations. However, if the Wildcats play hard and they play smart, remember that "anything could happen!"

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson

  • Wildcats at Stanford - Thursday - 7:30 p.m. (MST) KJLL 1330 AM.
  • Wildcats at California - Saturday - 7:30 p.m. (MST) KJLL 1330 AM.

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