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012-11-2007 Boise State Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/11/2007
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Complete Release as a PDF

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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (4-4) returns home riding a two-game winning streak and will host the Boise State Broncos (6-3) on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.? The Broncos and the Wildcats will tipoff on the hardwood for the first time in the history of either school.

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Catch the Action:

As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Derrick Palmer and Shannon Hobson calling the action from courtside.? Please visit www.arizonaathletics.com for all of your live stats and live video needs.

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Long Beach State Recap:

Freshman Ify Ibekwe had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Arizona ended the game on a 17-4 scoring run to get past Long Beach State, 66-53, on Sunday afternoon in the Walter Pyramid.

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As a team, Arizona shot 43.3 percent (26-60) from the floor, outrebounded the 49ers 40-38, and tallied a season-high 10 blocked shots, the fourth-highest mark in school history.? The Wildcats also held Long Beach State to 33.9 percent (20-59) shooting and collected eight steals off of 23 49er turnovers.

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Junior Amina Njonkou added 12 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Ashley Whisonant finished with 10 points and six assists.? Sophomore Rheya Neabors tallied nine points and five rebounds, and Ibekwe posted four blocks to go with her double-double.

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Kaiti Oˇ?Brien led Long Beach State with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

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Long Beach State hit a three to open the game, but Arizona responded with eight-straight points and went up 20-12 at the 8:55 mark on a trey by Neabors.? The Wildcats headed into the locker room at halftime up 32-25 on 41.2 percent (14-34) shooting from the field, holding the 49ers to a 30 percent (9-30) mark.? Arizona also tallied six steals and six blocks in the first half.

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In the second half, Arizona went up 45-36 on a jumper by Hays at the 11:15 mark, but Long Beach State used a 13-4 run over the next 5:19 to tie the game up at 49-49.? The Wildcats ended the run on a three-point play by Ibekwe which translated into a 9-0 run to give Arizona a 58-49 lead at the 2:36 mark.? Arizona cruised from there down the stretch, sealing the win from the free throw line.

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About the Broncos:

The Boise State Broncos enter Thursdayˇ?s game with a 6-3 overall record and riding a three-game winning streak.? The Broncos will face its third-consecutive Pac-10 foe in Arizona after beating Washington (88-66) and Washington State (71-64) in their last two contests.? As a team, Boise State shoots 37.1 percent from the field, 30.5 percent (61-200) from three point range and 68.8 percent (139-202) from the free throw line.? Individually for the Broncos, junior Tasha Harris leads the way with 17.6 points and 4.1 rebounds a game, and junior Jessica Thompson (reigning WAC Player of the Week) adds 15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.? Head coach Gordy Bresnell is in his third season at the helm of the Bronco program.

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Series Notes:

Wednesdayˇ?s game will be the first meeting in school history between Arizona and Boise State on the hardwood.

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Home Sweet Home:

Although it seems as if Arizona is forever on the road, the Wildcats have enjoyed much success at home in McKale Center.? The Wildcats own a 2-1 record at home so far this season, while shooting a blistering 51.2 percent (83-162) from the field on their home court.? Arizona is also averaging 71 points a game at home.

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vs. the WAC:

Although Arizona has never played Boise State, the Wildcats are 23-28 (.451) all-time versus schools that currently make up the Western Athletic Conference.? Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 7-5 since 1991 against WAC schools.

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Arizona Head Coach Joan Bonvicini (17th season):

The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 17 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 11 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history.

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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, 22 All-Pac-10 honorees, 17 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 18 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 281-207 (.576) mark at Arizona and is 606-278 (.686) in 29 years as a head coach. On Feb. 8, 2007, Bonvicini became the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball history to reach the 600 win milestone with a 65-61 victory over Oregon State in McKale Center. She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances.

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Just Win, Baby:

Arizona is currently riding a two-game win streak, the second such roll for the Wildcats so far this season.? Last season, the Wildcats had only one winning streak in the form of a three-game stretch.

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Break .500:

With a win against the Broncos, the Wildcats have a chance to break over the .500 mark for the first time this season.? Arizona has not owned a winning record since standing at 5-4 last season on Dec. 5, 2006.

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Slow Startsˇ? No More:

Through eight games, Arizona is getting outscored 273-242 by opponents in the first half.? However, the Wildcats have posted halftime leads in the last two games.? Arizona earned its second halftime lead of the season with a 34-29 advantage over NAU on Thursday night, and was up 32-25 against Long Beach State on Sunday. When leading at the half, Arizona is 3-0.

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Get That Out of Here:

Going into Sundayˇ?s game, the Wildcats owned 15 blocks on the season through seven games.? Against the 49ers, Arizona collected 10 blocked shots in the game, exploding that season number up to 25.? The 10 blocks is the fourth-best total in school history, and the highest blocked shot tally since the team posted 11 against California on Feb. 7, 2004.? To put things in more perspective, Arizona ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in blocked shots before Sunday.? After Sunday, the Wildcats now rank fourth in the Pac-10 in that category.

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Keep It Up:

After making a season-high eight three pointers on 30 three point attempts against Northern Arizona, the Wildcats eyed the basket from behind the arc a little better against Long Beach State.? Arizona hit 4-of-13 treys on Sunday for a season-high .308 mark from behind the arc.

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Toe That Line:

So far, the Wildcats have shown an ability as a team to get to the free throw line.? Arizona has made it to the line 162 times (20 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 64.8 percent (105-162) from the charity stripe. ?Opponents are shooting 68.8 percent (108-157) from the line against the Cats.? Against Long Beach State, the Wildcats were 10-of-15 from the line (66.7 percent).

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What do you know about Pressure?:

The Wildcats can put some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through eight games, Arizona has forced 179 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 22.4 turnovers a game.? The Wildcats, on the other hand, have turned the ball over 158 times, and own a +2.6 turnover margin, the second-best mark in the Pac-10.? Arizona forced 23 turnovers on Long Beach State on Sunday, and an opponent season-high 25 turnovers on the Lumberjacks Thursday night.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 83 steals so far on the season for a 10.4 steals per game average.? Arizona has racked up 67 steals in its last six games (11.2 spg), including a season-high 14 against Portland, NC State and NAU.? Arizona ranks second in the Pac-10 in the steals department.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through eight games, the Wildcats have posted 296 points in the paint, which accounts for 54.0 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (548).? Arizona is averaging 37 points per game in the paint, and outscored Long Beach State 44-22 in that department on Sunday.

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Lotta Action:

So far, a lot of Wildcats are getting a lot of action.? Through eight games, 10 Wildcats are averaging double figures in playing time, led by senior Ashley Whisonantˇ?s 36.6 minutes per game average.

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Good Defense:

The Wildcatsˇ? defense has been clamping down the past few games, which have been a big part of the Ws in the victory column.? Arizonaˇ?s defense was key in its win over NAU on Thursday night.? The Wildcats held the Lumberjacks to opponent season low marks in shooting percentage (37.0), field goals (20), and points scored (54).? The Wildcats repeated the effort against Long Beach State, holding the 49ers to a new opponent season low mark of 33.9 percent shooting from the field, an opponent season-low tying field goals and a new opponent season-low 53 points scored.

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Splinters Out:

Arizonaˇ?s bench has given the Wildcats a major boost on the court.? The UA bench has scored in double figures in each game so far, including a season-best 42 points against Portland, and had 22 bench points against NAU.? Arizonaˇ?s reserves have accounted for 182 points for a 22.8 ppg average, which is also 33.2 percent of the teamˇ?s total output.? Arizona, however, was outscored by Long Beach Stateˇ?s bench 23-14 on Sunday.

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant will be counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has already flourished in that position.? So far this season, Whisonant has played at an All-American level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 15.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game while snagging 2.0 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 36.6 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in points scored, first in assists per game, seventh in steals per game, and first in minutes per game.? Against Long Beach State, Whisonant finished with 10 opints and six assists in 38 minutes of action.

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All-Time Scorer:?

Ashley Whisonant scored her 1,000th career point in the final game of the season last year, and look for her to climb up the Arizona all-time point leader list this season.? With 76 points in the first three games, Whisonant moved past Kim Conway (1,060 points, 1990-94) for the No. 13 spot on the all-time scoring list.? Now standing at 1,123 career points (101 games), Whisonant needs 21 points to catch Yolanda Turner (1984-87) for the No. 12 position.

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Ms. 100:

Senior Ashley Whisonant has been a constant in the Arizona lineup ever since her freshman season, and she is one pace to be one of Arizonaˇ?s all-time leaders in games played.? She played in her 100th career game against NAU (Dec. 6), and is on pace to finish her career with 123 games played, a figure that will rank No. 3 all-time in school history.

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Looking For a Dime:

With each dime Ashley Whisonant dishes out, she is moving to the top of the line on Arizonaˇ?s all-time career assists list.? With 313 career assists, Whisonant needs 21 more to claim the No. 10 spot in school history.? With a 6.0 assists per game average, Whisonant is on pace to finish with 174 assists this season, the fourth-best mark in school history.

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Ms. Wildcat:

Freshman Tasha Dickey, simply put, was born to be a Wildcat.? The daughter of two former Arizona athletes, Dickey has shown her tremendous athletic ability on the court.? In the first eight games, Dickey is averaging 7.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game.? Dickey always seems to be doing the little things right on the court.? Against Long Beach State, Dickey finished with seven points, two rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench.? With the Arizona down 10-8 to Long Beach State, Dickey came in the game and gave the Wildcats an immediate spark, putting in a layup and hitting a three on consecutive possessions to put Arizona up 13-10.

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Narbonne ˇ?s Finest:

Freshman Ify Ibekwe comes from a family of distinguished athletes and she is trying to prove that she is the best yet.? The 6-foot-1 Carson, Calif., native from Narbonne HS has been a spark on the court in the first eight games, averaging 11.5 points on 62.9 percent shooting (39-62), the second-best mark in the Pac-10, and a team-high 7.4 rebounds a game in just 18.8 minutes a game.? In her last five games, Ibekwe is averaging a team-high 14.2 points and 9.8 rebounds a game, numbers highlighted by performances against Portland and Middle Tennessee at home, and a homecoming game at Long Beach State.? Against Portland, Ibekwe straight went off against the Pilots.? She finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with 13 rebounds for her first career double-double.? Against the Middle Tennessee, Ibekwe finished with a team-high 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.? In her first career start against NAU, Ibekwe finished with seven points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals in 22 minutes of action.? Against the 49ers, Ibekwe finished with a game-high 15 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-high four blocked shots before a hometown crowd.?

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In the Books:

Ify Ibekweˇ?s performance against Middle Tennessee was one for the history books, as her 22 points came off of a scorching 10-of-11 shooting mark from the field.? Her .909 shooting percentage is the second-best single game performance in school history, matching Shawn Coderˇ?s 10-of-11 mark against Cal State Northridge on Dec. 13, 1991.

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Wonˇ?t you be my Neabor?:

Sophomore Rheya Neabors has been stepping up for the Wildcats on the outside perimeter.? Against NAU, the 6-foot-1 Pomona, Calif., native had a career-high 15 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists, and a block and a steal in 35 minutes of action.? She put up a career-best 10 three pointers, hitting a career-high five three point field goals.? Against Long Beach State, Neabors had nine points and five rebounds in a career-high 37 minutes of actions.? On the season, she is averaging 8.4 points and 4.7 rebounds a game.

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Stepping Up her Game:

Sophomore Marie McGee is playing a more vital role in the Arizona lineup this season, as the Las Cruces, N.M., native earned her first career start against NAU on Thursday.? She responded by finishing with six points and two steals, hitting a career-best two three pointers.? In her second-career start against Long Beach State, McGee had six points, three rebounds and a career-high three steals in a career-high 24 minutes of action.? On the season, McGee is averaging 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds a game in 17.0 minutes of action per contest.

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B For Block:

Although she likes to go by ˇ?Queen Bˇ±, junior Beatrice Bofia might want to keep on accumulating more ˇ?Bsˇ± on the court ?C as in blocked shots.? Against NAU, the 6-foot-7 center posted the second block of her career, and finished with a season-high eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the field.? Against Long Beach State, Bofia had a career-best two blocked shots in the game to go with two points and four rebounds.? On the season, Bofia is averaging 4.0 points and 2.6 rebounds a game.

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Amina the Bull:

Junior forward Amina Njonkou is a force down low in the paint, and her strength allows her to bull over defenders.? Against NAU, the 6-foot-1 Cameroon native finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds and a career-best five steals.? Against Long Beach State, she had her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.? On the season, Njonkou is posting 10.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game.

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Cats Picked To Finish Eighth in the Pac-10:

The University of Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team was selected to finish eighth in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conferenceˇ?s head coaches.? The Wildcats garnered 31 points in the poll, as seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this yearˇ?s Pac-10 title.

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The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes and 79 points, as Arizona State received a first-place nod and tallied 71 points to place second. California was tabbed to finish third with a first-place vote and 68 points, followed by fourth-place USC with 56 points and fifth-place UCLA with 44 points. Washington grabbed 41 points to place sixth, followed by Oregon (34), as Arizona (31), Oregon State (16) and Washington State (10) rounded out the poll.

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Tough Schedule:

Year in and year out, Arizona never runs away from a challenge, but rather takes on the best teams in the nation head on during the nonconference schedule before playing in the always daunting Pac-10 Conference.

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The Wildcats will play 29 games during 2007-08, 13 games in McKale Center and 16 on the road, with 14 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.

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The UA will take on 10 teams that competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, with non-conference matchups against Middle Tennessee State, Pittsburgh, Boise State, New Mexico, NC State, and UW-Green Bay, along with Pac-10 series against California, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State.

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Rank This:

Arizonaˇ?s tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this yearˇ?s preseason rankings.? In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN and AP Preseason poll, five of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the regular season.? Arizona will face No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 California, No. 21 Pittsburgh and No. 25 NC State.? Additionally, six other Arizona opponents (Middle Tennessee, USC, New Mexico, UCLA, Boise State and Wisconsin-Green Bay) each received votes in the poll.

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Up Next:

Arizona will hit the road again for a game at New Mexico on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

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