COMING UP:The Arizona women’s basketball team plays Cal Poly Pomona, a highly-successful Division II program, in a 2 p.m. exhibition game this Sunday, Nov. 6, in McKale.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS:Arizona returns two starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s team that put together a 20-12 record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
In the annual Red & Blue game on Tuesday, the team fell to men’s practice players and walk-on Jessie Robinson 85-80 in double overtime. The Red Team shot 35 percent from the field, 24 percent from three-point range and 71 percent from the free throw line on the game, compared to the 55, 10 and 80 percent, respectively, of the Blue Team. However, they out-rebounded the Blue Team 46-36 and forced 30 Blue turnovers. Senior Natalie Jones led the Red Team with 18 points, followed by sophomore Ashley Whisonant with 16 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Ch?© Oh tallied a double-double ?- 13 points and 12 rebounds, nine of which were offensive. Junior Joy Hollingsworth finished with 13 points on the night.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:Cal Poly Pomona returns seven players, including three starters, from its 2004-05 squad that went 20-8 and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the second straight season and for the eighth time in the last nine years. The Broncos finished second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) with a 15-5 record. Cal Poly Pomona is an amazing 160-45 over the past seven seasons, including a sizzling 117-31 mark in the CCAA that has resulted in three conference titles. The Broncos welcome seven new players to their roster, including five freshmen and a pair of Division I transfers.
The Broncos have won five NCAA Division II championships, which is tied with North Dakota State for the most in the division, and have appeared in eight national title games. Cal Poly Pomona has the most NCAA Division II postseason victories with 48 and remains second to Bentley College for most NCAA postseason appearances with 20 after reaching the playoffs once again in 2005. Cal Poly Pomona has also had six national Players of the Year, including former Wildcat Candice Allen, who received the honor last season after leading the NCAA Division II in scoring for the second straight year.
Head Coach Paul Thomas, the national Coach of the Year in 2002, is recognized as one of the top head coaches in the country. He begins his 12th season as the Broncos’ head coach and has led Cal Poly Pomona to a 224-92 record and two national championships.
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. Five-time defending conference champion Stanford was voted as the favorite to win this year’s Pac-10 title.
In the media poll, Arizona was picked to finish seventh in the conference, receiving 59 votes. Stanford, which finished 32-3 overall and advanced to its second consecutive Elite Eight last season, was picked to finish first, garnering 10 first-place votes. This is the fifth-straight year that Stanford has been picked by the media as the preseason favorite.
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:As always, the Wildcats have a challenging schedule this season, one 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.
GOING POLLING:Six of Arizona’s 2005-06 opponents (Stanford, Maryland, UCLA, USC, Utah and Arizona State) are 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 are ranked in all three polls.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS:Senior Natalie Jones ranks eighth all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.747) and three-point field goals attempted (249), and ninth in three-point field goals made (72).
GOOD BEGINNINGS:With Joan Bonvicini at the program’s helm, the Wildcats have won 11 of their 14 season openers. Last year, Arizona defeated Saint Mary’s 87-72 at home in its first game of the season in the Preseason WNIT.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO:All of Arizona’s games this season will be broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson returning for 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 games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Saturday, Nov. 26 - 7:30 p.m. vs. Utah (FSN Arizona)
Sunday, Jan. 8 - noon vs. USC (FSN)
Saturday, Jan. 14 - noon vs. Oregon (FSN)
Sunday, Jan. 22 - 1 p.m. (PT) 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 hosts Fort Lewis College for its last exhibition game of the season at 7 p.m. next Friday, Nov. 11, at McKale Center.