2000-01 IN REVIEW:
Arizona certainly saw its share of ups and downs during the 2000-01 season. The Cats started the year with a short squad of 12 players, only two of whom were starters at the end of the 2000 season. Through a variety of injuries, player departures and academic issues, the Wildcat roster was decimated, and the team was down to only eight active players by season's end.
Despite all the distractions and the prevailing inexperience of this year's squad, the Wildcats finished the year with a 20-12 overall record, their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. They were 9-9 in Pac-10 play and finished in fifth place, their lowest finish since 1995.
There certainly were "ups" to go with the "downs", however. The Wildcats wrapped up regular-season non-conference play with a 10-2 mark. Their only two losses were to eventual national champion Notre Dame and to Auburn, which were ranked fifth and ninth, respectively, at the time the UA played them.
With their 14-2 start to the year, the Wildcats tied the 2000 team for the best record ever through the first 16 games of the season. The Cats' 4-0 start in Pac-10 play this year was also their best start ever in conference action.
The Cats struggled down the stretch, losing 10 out of their final 16 games of the season and, for the first time since the 1990-91 season, dropping each of their final eight road games.
For the first time since 1996, Arizona failed to earn an NCAA tournament berth, but it did receive a Women's National Invitation Tournament slot. The Wildcats downed Pepperdine, 85-65, in the first round of the WNIT but fell, 75-62, at New Mexico in the second round to end their season. The WNIT berth gave the Wildcats their sixth straight postseason appearance, the third-longest active postseason streak in the Pac-10.
The team set or tied 39 school records this year, including most home victories (15), most points scored in a season (2,521) and highest single season scoring average (78.8 ppg).
Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring offense (78.8 ppg), scoring margin (+9.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.470) and assists (16.59 apg). The Cats were second in both free throw percentage (.700) and rebounding (39.8 rpg) and were third in field goal percentage defense (.400) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86).
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT:
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney ended the season as the Cats' leading scorer, with 16.4 ppg, and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). Senior guard Reshea Bristol was second in scoring, with 15.6 ppg, and ended the year as the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.56 apg).
Despite missing 11 contests through the year, freshman forward Veranda James was still the team's third-leading scorer, averaging 13.1 points per game. She also had the team's top rebounding average, at 8.2 per game.
Junior center LaKeisha Taylor (9.5 ppg) and sophomore wing Krista Warren (9.3 ppg) were fourth and fifth, respectively, in scoring. Warren was the team's third-leading rebounder, averaging 5.4 rpg.
In addition to leading the Pac-10 in assists, Bristol was second in steals (3.0 spg), fifth in scoring and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.34). Pickney was third in the league in scoring, fourth in blocked shots (1.47 bpg), sixth in field goal percentage (.505) and ninth in rebounding. Taylor was second in field goal percentage (.587). Veranda James would have ranked high in many Pac-10 categories but did not play in enough games during the season to qualify for the league minimums.
To read the rest of the season review, click here.