COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (5-11, 1-5) hosts Oregon (10-5, 1-4) at noon this Saturday, Jan. 14. The game will be broadcast live to a national audience on FSN. 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. Live audio of the game is also available on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona dropped its fifth-straight game, a 64-46 defeat to Oregon State at McKale Center Thursday night. The Wildcats shot a season-low 25 percent from the field, 20 percent from beyond the arc and a season-low 50 percent from the free throw line on the game. Oregon State, meanwhile, connected on 50 percent from the field, 31 percent from downtown and 84 percent from the charity stripe on the game. The Beavers out-rebounded Arizona 40 to 38, but the Wildcats won the turnover battle, committing 16 to OSU’s 18. Senior Natalie Jones led Arizona with 15 points, followed by junior Joy Hollingsworth with 13. Hollingsworth and sophomore Ch?© Oh each pulled down seven boards to pace the Wildcats.
Hollingsworth leads Arizona this season with 14.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant and Jones each add 13.8 points per game. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 40 percent from the field, compared to the 47 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 35.3 to 37.9.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Oregon held No. 15 Arizona State to 14 second-half points on 5-of-36 shooting, but the Sun Devils hit a trey with 14 seconds left, sending the Sun Devils to a 44-43 win. The Ducks later had two chances to win, but junior Eleanor Haring and senior Chelsea Wagner narrowly missed attempts before the buzzer. The Sun Devils escaped with the win despite shooting 26 percent from the field and 50 percent from the foul line. The difference in the game was turnovers, with the Ducks committing 22 miscues compared to 11 for the Sun Devils. Junior guard Cicely Oaks was the only Duck to reach double digits, scoring 10 points. Haring had eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
On the season, the Ducks are led by Gabrielle Richards, who averages 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Wagner adds 9.3 points, while Carolyn Ganes averages 8.3. As a team, Oregon is shooting 43 percent from the field on the season, compared to the 33 percent of its opponents. The Ducks are also out-rebounding their opponents 38.0 to 35.9.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona trails the all-time series with Oregon 17-23. The last time the two teams met, on Feb. 19, 2005, Oregon won 69-51 in Eugene. The Wildcats are 10-10 at home, 7-12 away and 0-1 at a neutral site vs. the Ducks.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior Linda Pace suffered a left knee injury against Washington State on Dec. 29 and is out for the rest of the season.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: As a team, Arizona ranks in the bottom half of the conference in every statistical category but offensive rebounds (second), turnover margin (fourth) and free throw percentage (fifth).
Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in various categories. Senior Natalie Jones is fifth in minutes per game (34.7) and steals (2.3), sixth in free throw percentage (.811), ninth in three-point field goal average (1.5) and 10th in scoring (13.8). Sophomore Ashley Whisonant is fifth in assists (3.6), and 10th in both scoring (13.8) and field goal percentage (.463). Junior Joy Hollingsworth is sixth in three-point field goal average (2.1), seventh in rebounding (6.7), eighth in offensive rebounds (2.6) and ninth in scoring (14.1). Sophomore Ch?© Oh is second in offensive rebounds (2.9) and 10th in minutes per game (33.0), while freshman Whitney Fields is fifth in offensive rebounds (2.7).
NJONKOU SET TO MAKE FIRST START: After missing the first 15 games of the season due to a stress fracture in her foot, freshman Amina Njonkou made her Wildcat debut vs. Oregon State on Thursday. In 12 minutes, she finished with four points on 67 percent shooting to go with two boards. The Cameroon native looks to make the first start of her career vs. the Ducks on Saturday.
SHOOTING WOES LEAD TO LOSSES: In each of their 11 losses this season, the Wildcats have had a worse shooting percentage than their opponents. In fact, the three times Arizona has produced a better field goal percentage than its opponent (Furman, Lehigh, Chicago State), the team has also won the game. Two times (Loyola Marymount, Washington State) the Wildcats have shot worse than the other team and still managed to win the game.
SHOOTING THE THREE OFTEN: Arizona has made 81 three-pointers this season, edging its opponents, which have made 77. However, the Wildcats have 69 more attempts than their counterparts, which accounts for the difference in percentage (36 percent compared to 29 percent).
LOOKING BACK: The last time Arizona started the season 5-11 was in 1990-91, when the Wildcats finished 6-25 overall and 1-17 in the Pac-10. That year, Arizona lost 21 of its last 22 games.
HALFTIME SCORE INDICATIVE OF FINAL RESULT: In Arizona’s 16 games this season, the halftime score has been indicative of the final result 14 times. The Wildcats are 0-9 when trailing at the intermission and 5-2 when leading. The only two games Arizona lost after leading at halftime were against Central Connecticut State and Utah.
HACK AWAY: The Wildcats are fouling quite a bit this season. In its 16 games, Arizona has committed more fouls than its opponent 11 times and the same number once. The Wildcats have fouled less than their opponent only four times, against Chicago State, Arizona State, Washington State and Oregon State. Arizona has committed 20 or more fouls in eight games this season, six 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 62 percent of the team’s points. Whisonant and Hollingsworth have reached double-digit scoring in 14 of the 16 games, while Jones has 10 or more points in 13 games.
JONES STARTS 80TH STRAIGHT GAME: Senior Natalie Jones started her 80th consecutive game at USC last Sunday. On her career, the guard has started 85 total games.
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 12 of their 16 games this season. The only games in which Arizona pulled down more boards than its opponent were against Loyola Marymount, Furman, UW-Green Bay and UCLA. In the other 12 games, the Wildcats have managed just 33.2 rebounds to their opponents’ 39.8 (-6.6).
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones ranks sixth all-time at Arizona in both free throw percentage (.761) and three-point field goals attempted (334), and seventh in three-point field goals made (96). She looks to become just the 14th Arizona player ever to score 1,000 or more points as she has 937 on her career.
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 was ranked as high as No. 8, while Pac-10 teams USC and Arizona State were ranked in all four 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. Paul Johnson is in his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have two more games this season that will be broadcast on 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 travels to the Bay Area for a pair of games next Thursday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 22. On Thursday, the Wildcats face Stanford at 7 p.m. (PST). Sunday, Arizona plays at California in a nationally-televised game on FSN that tips off at noon (PST).