WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (No. 16 AP/No. 14 USA Today) will begin the second round of Pac-10 play this weekend with a pair of contests at home against the Washington schools. The Cats will face Washington on Thursday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., then they take on Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. Both contests will be played in the McKale Center.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 So. Houston, TX 9.5 ppg 4.1 rpg 1.0 bpg 53 Tatum Brown F 6-4 Sr. Tacoma, WA 14.0 ppg 8.4 rpg 0.7 bpg 3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 Sr. Portland, OR 9.4 ppg 2.2 spg 3.7 apg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Jr. Omaha, NE 6.2 ppg 3.1 rpg 2.3 spg 23 Felecity Willis G 5-7 Sr. Apple Valley, CA 8.1 ppg 5.4 apg 1.6 spg OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically): 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 So. Riverside, CA 2.8 ppg 0.9 rpg 0.5 spg 20 Julie Brase G 5-9 So. Tucson, AZ 7.7 ppg 2.9 rpg 2.2 apg 22 Monika Crank G 5-7 Sr. Page, AZ 5.1 ppg 2.9 rpg 2.2 apg 34 Angela Lackey F 6-0 Sr. Louisville, KY 13.1 ppg 5.1 rpg 1.8 spg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 So. Oregon City, OR 1.1 ppg 1.2 rpg 21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 Fr. Simi Valley, CA 1.0 ppg 0.3 rpg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 So. Houston, TX 2.5 ppg 2.6 rpg 0.4 bpg 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 Fr. Cloverdale, CA 3.7 ppg 3.1 rpg 0.6 apg
ABOUT ARIZONA: After garnering their first road sweep of the Oregon schools in 10 years, the Cats improved to 18-3 overall and 7-2 in Pac-10 play. Arizona is on a four-game win streak and has won six of its last seven games. The Cats are in the midst of a stretch which will see them play five of seven games on the road.
With 14.0 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, senior forward Tatum Brown remains the UA leader in both categories. Senior forward Angela Lackey is second in both categories with 13.1 ppg and 5.1 rpg. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in third in both categories, averaging 9.5 ppg and 4.1 rpg.
Senior guards Lisa Griffith (9.4 ppg) and Felecity Willis (8.1) follow on the scoring chart. Willis is the team's assists leader, at 5.4 per game, while junior guard Reshea Bristol is the steals leader, averaging 2.3 per contest.
Arizona leads the Pac-10 in five different statistical categories, including scoring (79.8 ppg), scoring margin (+13.4 ppg) and rebounding margin (+5.4 rpg). Individually, Tatum Brown is second in both rebounding (8.4 rpg) and field goal percentage (.600), while Felecity Willis is second in assists (5.38 apg)
FELECITY WILLIS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Senior guard Felecity Willis has been named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 31-Feb. 6.
Willis, from Apple Valley, Calif., averaged 11.0 points, 7.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while leading the Cats to their first road sweep of the Oregon schools in 10 years. She shot .455 (5-for-11) from the floor and .833 (10-for-12) from the free throw line over the two games.
In the victory at Oregon, which snapped the Ducks' 19-game home winning streak, Willis scored a season- and game-high 19 points, including 17 in the second half. She dished out a game-high eight assists, leading the Wildcats to their first win in Eugene since 1997. Willis went 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:20 to seal the 73-66 win. In the victory at Oregon State, she tallied a game-high seven assists to go with three points and three rebounds.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Willis' career, and the 19th all-time selection for the Wildcats.
Four different Wildcats - Elizabeth Pickney, Tatum Brown, Lisa Griffith and Willis -- have won the honor this season, marking the first time in a decade that one team has had four different recipients of the Player of the Week award in the same season. It is also the first time that Arizona has had four recipients in the same year.
ABOUT WASHINGTON: The Huskies stand at 7-14 overall and 3-6 in conference play after a narrow 56-55 win over Washington State at home on Sunday. UW has won only three of its last 12 contests and is 0-7 in road games this year.
The Huskies feature the Pac-10's leading scorer in junior guard Megan Franza, who is averaging 19.0 points per game. Freshman guard Loree Payne is second on the team and third in the Pac-10 in scoring with 17.5 ppg. Freshman forward Kellie O'Neill and junior forward LeAnn Sheets are tied with the team's top rebounding average, grabbing 6.3 boards per game each.
Washington is giving up more points (76.8 ppg) than any other team in the Pac-10, but it is also third in average three-pointers made per game (4.67). Loree Payne is third in free throw percentage (.807).
Washington head coach June Daugherty (Ohio State, 1978) is 58-48 in her fourth year at the helm of the Husky program. She holds a 181-122 record in 11 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON: Washington holds the decisive 22-6 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Cats have taken five of the last eight meetings between the two teams. Earlier this season, on Jan. 15, the UA downed the Huskies, 96-85, in Seattle.
Arizona won the last meeting between the two teams in Tucson, 84-58, on Feb. 4, 1999.
LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON: Lisa Griffith drained seven 3-pointers en route to a career-high 26 points as she led Arizona to its first win ever at Washington, 96-85, on Jan. 15.
Neither team led by more than five points through the first 13 minutes of the contest, then Arizona finished out the first half on a 23-12 run that gave it a 10-point (50-40) lead at the break. The UA opened the second half on a 26-17 spurt that pushed its lead to 19 points (76-57) at the 10:47 mark. Washington rallied for its own 20-10 run, but came no closer than eight points for the remainder of the contest.
Angela Lackey contributed a season-high 24 points for the Cats, including an 8-for-8 performance from the line. Felecity Willis added 15 points and a career-high-tying 10 assists. Lackey and Tatum Brown grabbed nine rebounds each.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars slipped to 4-15 overall and 1-8 in the Pac-10 after a 56-55 loss at Washington last Sunday. WSU has lost 10 of its last 11 contests.
Senior forward Alke Dietel is the Cougars' top scorer at 14.0 ppg and is second in rebounding at 5.3 rpg. Senior guard Jen Kerns is second in scoring, with 11.7 ppg, and junior forward Yvonne Volkman is the team's top rebounder, averaging 5.4 per game.
WSU is the best free throw shooting team in the Pac-10, hitting .743 from the line this season.
First-year head coach Jenny Przekwas (Wyoming, 1986) is 4-15 at WSU. She is 137-114 in nine years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars have a 16-11 advantage in the series with the Wildcats. The UA has won five of the last seven meetings with WSU, including the last two straight. In this season's first meeting, Arizona registered an 83-68 victory over the Cougars in Pullman. The last time the two teams played in Tucson was Feb. 6, 1999, an 85-64 win by the Wildcats.
LAST MEETING WITH WSU: Arizona had to recover from a strong first half by Washington State to defeat the Cougars, 83-68, in Pullman on Jan. 13.
The Cats scored the first bucket in the game, a trey, then WSU went on a 17-1 run, taking a 13-point (17-4) lead at the 15:51 mark. Arizona gradually fought back and ended the half on an eight-point run which gave the Cats a three-point (39-36) edge at the break.
WSU hung on through much of the second half, never down more than seven until the Cats put on a 16-3 run that gave them a 15-point (73-58) lead at 4:40. The Cougars came no closer than 10 points the remainder of the game.
Held to only six points in the first half, Tatum Brown scored 12 in the second and came up with a team-high 18 points for the game. Lisa Griffith drained four 3-pointers en route to her 14 points, and Tysell Bozeman came off the bench to put up 12 points. Brown led all players with nine rebounds.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Despite committing 28 turnovers and 27 fouls, Arizona dominated Oregon State in Corvallis on Feb. 6, downing the Beavers, 65-49.
OSU scored the first bucket of the game and never led again as the Cats pushed out to a 14-point lead (32-18) by the 3:50 mark in the first. The UA took a 12-point advantage (39-27) into the lockerroom at the break.
The Cats opened the second half with an 11-0 spurt that gave them a 23-point lead, their largest of the game, by the 16:12 mark. The Beavers were shut down for the remainder of the game, as they shot a miserable 19.4 percent from the floor in the second half.
Racking up her first double-double of the season, Elizabeth Pickney led all players with 17 points and 11 rebounds. She was the only Wildcat in double digits in scoring, but 12 of the 13 UA players made it onto the scoring column.
The victory gave Arizona its first road sweep of the Oregon schools since the 1990 season. OSU's 21.3 percent shooting from the floor was Arizona's best defensive performance since holding Cal State Fullerton to only 19.6 percent in the 1996 season. It was also a new UA school record for the lowest field goal percentage ever by a Pac-10 opponent.
TRACKING THE PAC-10: At 7-2 in Pac-10 play, the Cats are tied with UCLA and Stanford for the conference lead. Oregon is fourth with a 6-3 record, followed by Oregon State at 5-4.
LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona takes to the road once again next weekend for a pair of games in Los Angeles. The Wildcats will play at USC on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. PST in the L.A. Sports Arena. On Saturday, Feb. 19, the Cats play at UCLA in a 1 p.m. PST contest which will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming schedule for the Wildcats...
Wed. Feb. 9 2-4:30 p.m. McKale lifting after Thurs. Feb. 10 vs. Washington, 7 p.m. McKale Fri. Feb. 11 2-4:30 p.m. McKale Sat. Feb. 12 vs. Washington State, 2 p.m. McKale Sun. Feb. 13 OFF Mon. Feb. 14 2-4:30 p.m. McKale lifting after Tues. Feb. 15 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Feb. 16 1-2:30 p.m. McKale lifting before depart for Los Angeles
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In nearly a decade at the helm of the University of Arizona's women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Now in her ninth year at the UA, Bonvicini has posted a 152-101 (.601) mark and has a 477-172 (.735) record in 20 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 22-13 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.
Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is in her eighth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and the perimeter coach. Second-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players, assists with scouting and recruiting and directs the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp. In his first year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved primarily with scouting and with coaching the post players.
THE CATS IN PAC-10 PLAY: Currently at 7-2 in conference play, the Cats have tied the 1998 team for the best start ever in league action. A win for Arizona on Thursday would give the Wildcats their best Pac-10 start ever. The UA has never made it through the first 10 conference games with less than three losses.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 79-74 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 45-18 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
RACKING UP THE WINS: Joan Bonvicini needs only seven more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined (159).
BY THE NUMBERS: Sixteen of Arizona's wins this year have been by an average of 10 points or more... Each loss has been by an average of only 5.7 points... The Cats have hit five or more 3-pointers in 14 games this season... Arizona has 20 or more assists in 10 games this year... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 15 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 14 contests, and no opponent has committed less than 14.
LONG RANGE BOMBING: The Wildcats have hit at least one 3-pointer in 54 consecutive games, dating back to Mar. 5, 1998.
FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats, who ended last year shooting 72.1 percent from the free throw line, have been wildly inconsistent from the stripe this season. They have shot as well as 84 percent (21-25 vs. Tennessee Tech, Nov. 20) and as poorly as 53.1 percent (17-32 vs. Northern Illinois, Dec. 15) so far this year.
The UA has shot over 70 percent from the charity stripe in only 11 of the 21 games this year and has been over 80 percent only four times.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: Rebounding was a major problem for the Wildcats over the last few years, but they are on an upswing in that area. The UA has out-rebounded or been equal to its opponent in 20 of this season's games so far. That's a great improvement over last season, when the Cats out-rebounded only seven opponents in all 29 games combined.
BENCH CONTRIBUTIONS: The UA bench has been quite productive this season, contributing an average of 29.0 points per game. The highest point total from the bench so far this year came on Dec. 10 against Texas Southern, when 47 of the UA's 96 points came from the subs.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted an 89-40 mark in McKale Center, including a 58-12 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 155-148 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Several of the UA's opponents this season are ranked in this week's polls.
UC Santa Barbara is 12th in this week's A.P. poll, while Oklahoma is 17th, UCLA is 20th, Kansas is 23rd and Stanford is 24th. Oregon also received votes for ranking.
In this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, UC Santa Barbara is No. 13, UCLA is No. 20, Oklahoma is No. 22 and Kansas is No. 23. Stanford, Oregon and Hawai'i all received votes for ranking.
DUALLY SUCCESSFUL: Ten schools had both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked among the A.P. Top 25 this week. They are Arizona, Stanford, Duke, Tennessee, Auburn, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Kansas and Louisiana State.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: Seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 28-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 119-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 79-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 24-18 in games settled by five points or less, including a 8-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS: Over the last nine seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 49 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 16-3 when out-rebounding its opponent... 15-0 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 16-2 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 15-1 when scoring 70 points or more... 14-2 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent... 14-3 when three or more players reach double digits in scoring.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Cats are forcing opponents to commit an average of 3.34 more turnovers per game than the UA, the highest ratio in the Pac-10... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 311-392 (.442) all-time record, however it is 115-56 (.673) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 169-88 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 9-2 at home this season, 6-1 in road games and 3-0 in neutral contests. Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests last year.
ARIZONA ON THE TUBE: The Wildcats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for two more games...
Sat. Feb. 19 at UCLA Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST Sat. Feb. 26 at Arizona St. Fox Sports Net Ariz. 8 p.m.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Lisa Griffith is the Arizona and the Pac-10 career leader in both three-pointers made (261) and attempted (689). She is in the #6 spot on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list, with 1,112 career points. She needs 32 more points to move into the #5 spot.
Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #3 with 99 career starts. She is tied with former teammate DeAngela Minter on the career steals chart, with 204, and is fifth on the career assists list, with 427.
Felecity Willis is sixth in career three-pointers attempted (176) and is seventh in three-pointers made (50). She is holding down fourth place on the UA all-time assists chart and is eighth all-time in the Pac-10, with 485 career dishes.
Willis is also holding down the #16 spot on the UA all-time scoring list, with 889 career points. She needs only six points to move into the #15 spot.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in fifth place with 55 career blocks.
GRIFFITH BECOMES PAC-10 LEADER: On Jan. 30, senior guard Lisa Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in three-pointers attempted, surpassing former Washington player Jamie Redd's total of 675. Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in 3-pointers made during the 1998-99 season.
BONVICINI REACHES MILESTONES: With the win over Arizona State on Jan. 30, Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 150th win at the UA and 475th win as a head coach.
PICKNEY TOPS 500: Against UCLA on Jan. 20, sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney became the latest Wildcat to top the 500-point plateau in career scoring.
LISA GRIFFITH NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 17): Senior guard Lisa Griffith was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 10-16.
Griffith averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 rebounds per game while leading the Wildcats to their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools on Jan. 13 and 15. She shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the floor, including a blazing 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from three-point range.
In the win at Washington, Arizona's first victory ever in Seattle, Griffith drained a school-record-tying seven treys en route to a career-high 26 points. She shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, marking the first time any Wildcat has hit seven treys in one game since Griffith herself did it twice during the 1996-97 season. In the win over Washington State, she tallied 14 points, four steals and seven assists.
The Player of the Week honor is the second of Griffith's career (also Feb. 17, 1997), and the 18th all-time selection for Arizona.
CATS EARN FIRST ROAD SWEEP IN WASHINGTON: With wins at Washington State (83-68) on Jan. 13 and at Washington (96-85) on Jan. 15, Arizona completed its first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. While the Cats had previously been able to defeat Washington State in Pullman, this season's win at Washington was the UA's first in 14 attempts.
A GREAT START: With their victory over California on Jan. 6, the Wildcats tied the 1995-96 team for the best start ever at 12-1. The UA's 14-2 record through the first 16 games of the year was also a program best.
CATS SET RECORD WITH HOME WIN STREAK: Arizona set a new school record this season with a 15-game home win streak, dating from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 8, 2000. They saw their streak end with a 98-95 loss to Stanford on Jan. 8. The previous long streak was a string of 10 games midway through the 1997-98 season.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: The Cats went 11-1 in regular season non-conference play this year, their best non-conference mark since the 1995-96 team went 9-0. The 11 victories are the most regular season non-conference wins ever under Joan Bonvicini.
During the 12 non-conference games, the Cats averaged 83.1 points per game and out-scored their opponents by an average of 18 points per game. They shot 48.8 percent from the field, including a blazing 42.3 percent from three-point range. The UA out-rebounded its opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per contest. The Cats also averaged 20.0 assists and 11.0 steals per game, while forcing opponents to commit an average of 22.8 turnovers per game.
CATS TAKE SEELBACH CLASSIC TITLE: Arizona won its third regular-season tournament when it swept through the Seelbach Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 28-29. The Cats had a solid showing in the first round with a 91-61 pounding of Marshall on Dec. 28. Although host team Louisville managed to hang with the UA most of the contest, the Cats pulled out an 80-70 victory in the championship game to take the tournament title.
After averaging 14.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the two contests, Wildcat Tatum Brown was selected the Tournament MVP, her second such honor of the year. Louisville native Angela Lackey was selected to the All-Tournament Team as well, also her second such honor of the season.
GRIFFITH JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB: With 3:04 left in the first half at Kansas on Dec. 21, senior guard Lisa Griffith knocked down her third three-pointer of the game to become the eighth Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring. The last Wildcat to join the 1,000-point club was Griffith's former teammate, Adia Barnes, who reached that mark during the 1996-97 season.
WILDCATS CLAIM TITLE OF INSIGHT.COM BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC: After falling in the championship game of the 1998 tournament, Arizona reclaimed the title of its ninth annual Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic with victories over Texas Southern (96-46) and Indiana (87-70) on Dec. 10-12.
The UA's Tatum Brown was unanimously voted the Tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals over the two games. Angela Lackey was named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
RECORDS FALLING ALREADY: Tatum Brown's 11-of-12 shooting performance against Colorado State on Dec. 6 tied the UA single-game record for field goal percentage (.917). It is also a new McKale Center record, breaking the previous mark of 84.6 percent (11-13) set by former UCLA player Denise Curry on Jan. 17, 1981.
Arizona also set a new school record by hitting a sizzling 75.9 (22-29) percent in the first half against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30.
BROWN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 6): Senior forward Tatum Brown was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 29-Dec. 5. Brown scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead No. 21 Arizona to an 86-76 upset over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30. In just 26 minutes of action, she shot 9-for-12 (.750) from the field and 3-for-4 (.750) from the line.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Brown's career, and the 17th all-time selection. Brown's honor followed Elizabeth Pickney's Player of the Week laurels the previous week, marking the first time in school history that the Wildcats have had back-to-back Pac-10 Players of the Week.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT: The Cats shot a school-record 75.9 percent (22-29) from the floor in the first half of the UCSB contest on Nov. 30. For the game, they shot 63 percent (34-54), the highest field goal percentage for any team since the school record was set at 64.3 percent (36-56) against Drake on Nov. 25, 1990.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 29): Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Nov. 15-28. Pickney averaged 16.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game in the UA's four straight victories to open the season. She shot a team-high .575 (23-40) from the field and .720 (18-25) from the line during that stretch.
Pickney was named the Tournament MVP at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, leading Arizona to the team title with three wins. In the tourney, she averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Player of the Week honor was the first of Pickney's career and the 16th all-time selection for Arizona.
SULTANS OF SWAT: The Wildcats racked up nine blocked shots in the contest against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20. That is the highest single-game block total since the 1985 squad collected 10 at Tennessee-Chattanooga on Jan. 5, 1985. Elizabeth Pickney had five of the UA's blocked shots against Tennessee Tech, a career high for her.
As a team, Arizona collected 20 blocks over the first four game of the year, the highest block total ever over that stretch in any season.
CATS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP AT HAWAIIAN REGENT WAHINE CLASSIC: The Wildcats swept through three games in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21 to take the title at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, hosted by the University of Hawai'i.
Arizona garnered victories over Oklahoma (75-59), Tennessee Tech (87-71) and host team Hawai'i (86-73) to open the 1999-2000 season with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Elizabeth Pickney averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Cats and was the overwhelming favorite for tournament Most Valuable Player laurels. Felecity Willis and Tatum Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
DOVE IANELLO AMONG TOP ASSISTANTS: In a survey of head women's coaches conducted by the Women's Basketball Journal last fall, UA associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello received votes for consideration as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
FUTURE WILDCATS: On the first day of the early signing period (Nov. 10), Arizona inked a trio of high school recruits from the state of California. The signees were 5-10 guard Candice Allen (Ontario, CA/Ayala HS), 5-7 guard Aimee Grzyb (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) and 6-3 forward Veranda James (Pomona, CA/Ganesha HS).
WHAT THE COACHES THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
1. UCLA 6. Washington 2. Oregon 7. USC 3. Stanford 8. Oregon State 4. ARIZONA 9. California 5. Arizona State 10. Washington StateThe Pac-10 media also picked Arizona to finish fourth in the league standings this year.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: For the third year in a row, the Wildcats earned a preseason national ranking. The Cats were ranked 25th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, and they were 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason Top 25.
The Wildcats were ranked among the top 25 teams in five different "unofficial" preseason polls this fall. The UA's highest ranking in these polls was 13th by Women's Basketball magazine and the lowest was 22nd by both Street & Smith's and the Basketball News Report.
Angela Lackey earned preseason third team All-America honors from Lindy's College Basketball and honorable mention All-America laurels from Street & Smith's College Basketball.
1998-99 IN REVIEW: Despite losing the squad's only two seniors before the season ever started, the very young 1998-99 Wildcats held their own and came up with an 18-11 overall record and went 12-6 in the Pac-10 to finish in fourth place.
The Cats faced a rough non-conference schedule that featured three teams which spent most of the season among the top four in the national rankings. Arizona went 5-4 against those non-conference opponents, with quality losses to Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Colorado State and a big road win over UC Santa Barbara.
That tough early slate prepared the Cats for a season of Pac-10 play which showed more parity than it has in years. After getting off to a rocky 1-3 start in league play, the Cats rebounded to finish the season 11-3, with wins over Pac-10 co-champion Oregon and over perennial power Stanford.
The Wildcats then received their third consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, earning a #6 seed in the Midwest Region. In Piscataway, N.J., Arizona faced NCAA tourney veteran Florida in the first round of play and defeated the Gators, 87-84, in overtime to move on to the second round for the third straight year. The Cats then took on host Rutgers, only to end the season on a sour note, falling to the Scarlet Knights, 90-47.
For the season, Arizona had its most balanced offense in five years, with four players averaging in double digits in scoring, and ended its season by winning 12 of its final 16 contests. The Cats broke or tied 13 school records on the year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).
With 14.4 points per game, Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by Elizabeth Pickney at 11.4 ppg. Pickney was the team's top rebounder, with 5.8 per game, while Willis was the team's assists leader, averaging 5.5 apg. Lackey was second in rebounding with 5.4 rpg, and Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.