COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (5-6, 1-1) hosts Washington (9-3, 2-1) for a 4 p.m. game this Saturday, Dec. 31. The game will be broadcast live on FSN Northwest and on tape-delay at 10 p.m. on FSN Arizona.
Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com. However, because this game is televised, the video won’t be available until after the contest.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: The Wildcats snapped a four-game losing streak with a 61-52 win over Washington State at McKale Center Thursday night. Arizona shot just 36 percent from the field, 24 percent from three-point range and 61 percent from the free throw line on the game, and was out-rebounded 44 to 30. The difference in the game was ball control, as the Wildcats forced Washington State into 35 turnovers while committing just 15. Junior Joy Hollingsworth led Arizona with 18 points, followed by sophomore Ashley Whisonant with 17. Senior Natalie Jones added 12. Freshman Malia O'Neal, making her first start, nabbed six steals, while sophomore Ch?© Oh pulled down a team-best eight rebounds.
Whisonant leads Arizona this season with 15.5 points and 4.2 assists per game. Jones adds 15.0 points, while Hollingsworth averages 13.1 points and 5.5 rebounds. Oh leads the team with 5.8 boards per game. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 41 percent from the field, compared to the 46 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 38.5 to 34.8.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Washington fell 64-51 at No. 11 Arizona State Thursday night. The Huskies, who trailed by one (21-20) at halftime, struggled at the free throw line on the game, converting just 4-of-13 (31 percent). Washington also committed 24 turnovers and was out-rebounded 42 to 37. Cameo Hicks led the Huskies with 12 points and six rebounds, followed by Breanne Watson with nine points and six boards.
On the season, the Huskies are led by Hicks, who averages 16.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. As a team, Washington is shooting 39 percent from the field on the season, compared to the 42 percent of its opponents. The Huskies are out-rebounding their opponents 41.5 to 37.9.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona trails the all-time series with Washington 15-26. In the last meeting between the two teams, on Feb. 26, 2005, Arizona fell 64-60 in Tucson. The Wildcats are 10-10 at home, 3-16 away and 2-0 at a neutral site vs. the Huskies.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior Linda Pace suffered a left knee injury against Washington State on Thursday and is out indefinitely. Freshman Amina Njonkou has a stress fracture in her right foot and is out another 1-2 weeks.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: As a team, Arizona ranks in the bottom half of the conference in every statistical category but turnover margin (first), steals (fourth), offensive rebounds (fourth) and free throw percentage (fifth).
Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in various categories. Senior Natalie Jones is second in steals (2.9), third in free throw percentage (.868), fourth in minutes per game (35.1), ninth in scoring (15.0) and 10th in three-point field goals made (1.6). Sophomore Ashley Whisonant is fifth in assists (4.2), seventh in scoring (15.5) and eighth in steals (2.1). Junior Joy Hollingsworth is seventh in three-point field goal average (1.7). Sophomore Ch?© Oh ranks eighth in offensive rebounds (2.5) and 10th in minutes per game (32.2), while freshman Whitney Fields is eighth in offensive rebounds (2.5).
HACK AWAY: The Wildcats are fouling quite a bit this season. In its 11 games, Arizona has committed more fouls than its opponent seven times and the same number once. The Wildcats have fouled less than their opponent only three times, against Chicago State, Arizona State and Washington State. Arizona has committed 20 or more fouls in five games this season, three of which have been losses.
WILDCAT TRIFECTA: Senior Natalie Jones, junior Joy Hollingsworth and sophomore Ashley Whisonant lead the Wildcats this season. The trio account for 63 percent of the team’s points. Whisonant has reached double-digit scoring in each of the 11 games, while Jones and Hollingsworth have 10 or more points in nine games.
ARIZONA WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE: In nine of its 11 games this season, Arizona has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its opponent. The Wildcats average 4.9 fewer turnovers than their opponents, nine of which have committed 20 or more turnovers.
LACK OF SIZE EXPOSED: With the death of 6-5 Shawntinice Polk and the medical redshirt of 6-2 Shannon Hobson, Arizona is left without much size inside. As a result, the Wildcats have been out-rebounded in nine of their 11 games this season. The only two games in which Arizona pulled down more boards than its opponent were its first two games of the season against Loyola Marymount (42 to 36) and Furman (45 to 32). In the other nine games, the Wildcats have managed just 32.9 rebounds to their opponents’ 39.2 (-6.3).
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP FOR WHISONANT: Sophomore guard Ashley Whisonant is leading the team with 15.5 points and 4.2 assists per game. The Bowie, Md., native dished out a career-high 11 assists in Arizona’s win over Furman on Nov. 22 and tied her career high of 21 points against Lehigh on Dec. 4. She has also been named to both all-tournament teams in which Arizona has participated.
THE DISH ABOUT O’NEAL: Since entering the lineup Dec. 17 at Fresno State, freshman point guard Malia O'Neal is already making her presence felt. In 61 minutes over four appearances, she is averaging 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game. The Seattle native dished out a career-high seven assists in Arizona’s loss to ASU last Thursday and nabbed six steals vs. Washington State on Dec. 29. She is also a perfect 3-for-3 from the field.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones ranks sixth all-time at Arizona in both free throw percentage (.768) and three-point field goals attempted (313), and eighth in three-point field goals made (89).
GOING POLLING: Six of Arizona’s 2005-06 opponents (Stanford, Maryland, UCLA, USC, Utah and Arizona State) were nationally ranked in the various preseason polls. Pac-10 power Stanford is ranked as high as No. 8, while Pac-10 teams USC and Arizona State were ranked in all four polls. Arizona received votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) polls.
STACKED PAC: As a conference, the Pac-10 finished last season ranked as the third toughest conference in the nation after sending five teams to the NCAA Tournament. Finishing ahead of the Pac-10 were the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Wildcats have a challenging schedule that includes 12 games against eight teams (Arizona State, Maryland, Oregon, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Utah and Wisconsin-Green Bay) that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year. Of those teams, six advanced to the second round, while Arizona State made it to the Sweet 16 and Stanford to the Elite Eight.
CATS PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH, SEVENTH IN PAC-10: Arizona was picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Wildcats garnered 42 points, just one point behind fifth-place Oregon. In the media poll, Arizona was picked to finish seventh in the conference, receiving 59 votes.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have four more games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Saturday, Dec. 31 - 4 p.m. vs. Washington (FSN Northwest, tape delayed on FSN Arizona)
Sunday, Jan. 8 - noon vs. USC (FSN)
Saturday, Jan. 14 - noon vs. Oregon (FSN)
Sunday, Jan. 22 - 1 p.m. (PST) at California (FSN)
In addition, the Wildcats’ games at home against Stanford (Feb. 18) and at Arizona State (Feb. 25) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package.
UP NEXT: Arizona plays its final non-conference game at home next Tuesday, Jan. 3, when it hosts Wisconsin-Green Bay for a 7 p.m. game.