WHAT'S HAPPENING: In the midst of a five-game homestand, the University of Arizona women's basketball team (3-1 overall) will play three games in five days this week. The Wildcats will entertain Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) in a single non-conference matchup on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center.
Arizona then plays host to Fresno State and Bowling Green for the 10th annual Arizona Basketball Classic on Dec. 8-10. The Cats face Bowling Green in the first game on Friday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m., then Bowling Green takes on Fresno State in the second game on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 4 p.m. Arizona rounds-out the tournament against Fresno State on Sunday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m.
All games will be played in the McKale Center. Regular admission will be charged for both Arizona contests, but admission to the Bowling Green-Fresno State game on Saturday will be free.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 22 Veranda James F 6-3 Fr. Pomona, CA 15.0 ppg 11.0 rpg 1.8 apg 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 So. Cloverdale, CA 8.8 ppg 5.8 rpg 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 15.8 ppg 7.0 rpg 1.0 bpg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Sr. Omaha, NE 10.0 ppg 5.3 rpg 5.5 apg 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 Jr. Riverside, CA 9.8 ppg 4.3 rpg 3.5 apg
OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order) 4 Candice Allen G 5-10 Fr. Ontario, CA 2.3 ppg 2.3 rpg 1.3 apg 13 Aimee Grzyb G 5-7 Fr. San Jose, CA 6.8 ppg 1.5 rpg 1.8 apg 14 Jen Chesney G 6-0 Fr. Newberg, OR 0.0 ppg 0.5 rpg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 6.0 ppg 3.3 rpg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 Jr. Oregon City, OR 1.3 ppg 1.5 rpg
ABOUT ARIZONA: Coming off a week's break in action, the Wildcats are on a modest two-game win streak and stand at 3-1 on the year after an 84-71 win over Rice at home on Nov. 28.
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney has a narrow hold on the UA's top scoring spot, with 15.8 points per game. Freshman Veranda James is close behind at 15.0 ppg and is leading both Arizona and the Pac-10 in rebounding with 11.0 rpg. Pickney is second in rebounding for the UA, with 7.0 rpg.
Senior guard Reshea Bristol is the only other player averaging in double digits in scoring, with 10.0 ppg. She is the team leader and is second in the Pac-10 with 5.5 assists per game.
Junior guard Tysell Bozeman is fourth on the scoring chart, with 9.8 ppg, followed by sophomore wing Krista Warren with 8.8 ppg. Warren is third on the team in rebounding, averaging 5.8 rpg. Freshman guard Aimee Grzyb is recording an amazing 26.8 minutes per game off the bench and is averaging 6.8 points per game.
The Cats are leading the Pac-10 in rebounding (45.2 rpg), are second in scoring (74.0 ppg), second in rebounding margin (+6.2 rpg) and are fourth in assists (15.25 apg).
ABOUT UNLV: Off to a perfect 5-0 start on the year, UNLV is coming off wins over Northeastern (62-58) and host Northwestern (84-74) at the Roger L. White Invitational last weekend. The Lady Rebels, who received two votes in this week's Associated Press poll, are in the midst of a four-game road swing.
With 16.8 points per game, sophomore guard Constance Jinks leads UNLV in scoring, closely followed by junior forward Linda Frhlich's 16.5 ppg. Frhlich has a team-best average of 6.0 rebounds per contest. Freshman center Petra Glser is posting 11.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
In her third year at the helm of the UNLV program, head coach Regina Miller (Old Dominion, 1984) holds a 39-23 mark. She has a 99-123 record in eight years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. UNLV: UNLV holds the 3-1 lead in the series with Arizona, including wins in each of the last three meetings. The two teams last met on Jan. 2, 1982, in Las Vegas, with the Lady Rebels taking an 80-56 victory. Wednesday's contest will mark the first time these two teams have met in Tucson since 1975.
CONNECTIONS: Long-time Arizona fans should recognize two faces on the UNLV coaching staff. Lady Rebels head coach Regina Miller got her start in the full-time coaching ranks as an assistant coach at the UA under then-head coach (and current Old Dominion head coach) Wendy Larry from 1986-87.
UNLV assistant coach Brenda Pantoja is one of the top guards ever to come through the Arizona program. A Wildcat from 1991-96, Pantoja still owns six school records and is the UA career leader in assists (688).
ABOUT BOWLING GREEN: The Falcons are 2-3 on the season after a 94-75 loss at home to Detroit on Saturday. Bowling Green will play at St. Bonaventure on Tuesday before heading to Tucson for the tournament.
Averaging 12.8 points per game, junior guard Francine Miller leads BGSU in scoring. She is second in rebounding at 5.8 rpg. Senior guard Angie Farmer is the second-leading scorer, with 10.2 ppg. Redshirt freshman forward Pam Brown is the team's top rebounder, grabbing 6.0 per contest.
Bowling Green head coach Dee Knoblauch (Bowling Green, 1983) has a 26-34 mark in her third year at the helm of her alma mater's program. She is 208-153 in 14 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. BOWLING GREEN: Friday's meeting will be a first for Arizona and Bowling Green.
ABOUT FRESNO STATE: Fresno State, whose roster boasts nine freshmen and sophomores, improved to 2-2 on the season with a 67-61 win over Sacramento State at home last Friday. The Bulldogs will play at Loyola Marymount on Tuesday before traveling to Tucson, and they will face Bowling Green in the second day of the UA's tournament on Saturday before taking on the Cats on Sunday.
With 16.0 points per game, sophomore guard Lindsay Logan leads three Fresno State players averaging in double digits in scoring. Sophomore forward Omelogo Udeze is second in both scoring (11.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg). Sophomore guard Tiffany Simon is third on the scoring chart, with 11.3 ppg, while sophomore center Channan High is leading the team in rebounding, at 9.0 rpg.
Fresno State head coach Britt King (Providence, 1986) has a 22-39 record in her third season with the Bulldogs. She is 96-114 in eight years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. FRESNO STATE: Fresno State won the only other previous meeting with Arizona, 70-56, on Dec. 9, 1994 in Tucson.
ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT: The Arizona Basketball Classic is the 10th annual UA women's basketball tournament, a tradition started by Joan Bonvicini during her first season at Arizona. Previous tournaments had a championship format, and the Wildcats made it into the championship game of each of the nine earlier tourneys. Arizona has won its tournament six of the nine years, including a victory last season.
A tournament MVP and an all-tournament team will be named, and the tournament champion will be crowned during an awards ceremony following Sunday's game.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Arizona kicked off a five-game homestand on Nov. 28 with an 84-71 win over Rice.
The Cats raced out to an early 13-4 advantage, only to see it disappear behind a 27-11 Rice run that gave the Owls a seven-point (31-24) lead late in the first half. A trio of Wildcat buckets and an 11-for-13 performance from the line through the remainder of the period gave the UA the one-point (41-40) edge at the break.
Arizona couldn't seem to push beyond a six-point lead through the early goings of the second half, then the Wildcats put on a 22-7 spurt to gain a 21-point (80-59) lead at 3:47. Rice outscored the UA, 12-4, over the remainder of the game but was unable to recover from the Wildcat run.
Freshman forward Veranda James exploded for game highs of 24 points and 16 rebounds. Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the line en route to 18 points and seven rebounds.
Guards Reshea Bristol and Tysell Bozeman each contributed 10 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore wing Krista Warren grabbed eight rebounds while adding six points.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats wrap up their homestand with a contest against Louisville on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. The Cats then head to Puerto Rico for the San Juan Shootout on Dec. 19-21, where they will face Auburn, Puerto Rico-Mayaguez and Nebraska, respectively.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Tues. Dec. 5 6-8:30 p.m. McKale Wed. Dec. 6 vs. UNLV, 7 p.m. Thurs. Dec. 7 2-4:30 p.m. McKale Fri. Dec. 8 vs. Bowling Green, 7 p.m. Sat. Dec. 9 12-2 p.m. McKale Sun. Dec. 10 vs. Fresno State, 2 p.m. Mon. Dec. 11 OFF Tues. Dec. 12 1:30-4 p.m. McKale Wed. Dec. 13 6-9 p.m. McKale Thurs. Dec. 14 5-7:30 p.m. McKale
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In her 10th year at the helm of the Arizona women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Bonvicini has posted a 162-106 (.604) mark in 10 seasons at Arizona and has more wins at the UA than all six of the previous Wildcat coaches combined. In 22 years as a collegiate head coach, Bonvicini has a 487-177 (.733) career record. She also has a 23-14 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 14 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.
APPROACHING A MILESTONE: Joan Bonvicini is only 13 wins away from reaching the 500-victory mark for her career.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach two years ago, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is in her ninth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Third-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 second year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 85-77 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 51-21 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
TOUGH EARLY GAMES: The season is young, but the Wildcats have already played four teams which competed in last year's NCAA tournament. Still ahead on the non-conference slate are three more NCAA tourney teams -- Auburn, Nebraska and Kansas.
ARIZONA IN THE RANKINGS: Although the Wildcats are not currently nationally ranked, they did receive votes for ranking in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN polls. In the Dec. 4 AP poll, the Cats earned nine votes, while they picked up 48 votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: The Wildcats are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per game this year. The best rebounding margin of the season so far was at Notre Dame on Nov. 20, when the Cats out-rebounded the Irish by 15.
Individually, freshman Veranda James grabbed a team season-high 16 boards against Rice on Nov. 28. That's the highest individual single-game rebound total for any player since then-freshman Adia Barnes pulled down 18 against Arizona State on Jan. 7, 1995.
GETTING TO THE LINE: Arizona is averaging 24.0 points per game from the free throw line so far this season. The Cats have made it to the free throw line 143 times over four games, for an average of 35.8 attempts per contest. The Wildcats have connected on 96 of those attempts (67.1 percent).
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 94-41 mark in McKale Center, including a 63-13 record over the last six seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 160-149 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Several of Arizona's 2001 opponents have been listed in the preseason rankings.
In Monday's Associated PressTop 25, Notre Dame was No. 4, Oregon was No. 10, Auburn was No. 11 and Stanford was No. 16. USC, Nebraska, Kansas and UNLV were among teams receiving votes for ranking.
In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Notre Dame was No. 4, Oregon was No. 12, Auburn was No. 13 and Stanford was No. 23. Kansas, Nebraska, UC Santa Barbara, USC and Brigham Young were all among the teams receiving votes.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Senior guard Reshea Bristol is fifth on the Arizona career list in free throws made (241), sixth in free throws attempted (332), eighth in three-pointers attempted (157), ninth in three-pointers made (47), 10th in assists (251) and tied for tenth in steals (170). She needs only three more points to break into the UA top-20 all-time leading scorers list.
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney is fourth on the career list in blocked shots (70).
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 26-19 in games settled by five points or less, including a 9-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS: Over the last 10 seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 50 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: It seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 29-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 122-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 82-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
ON LOCATION: Arizona has a 2-0 mark at home this year, is 1-1 on the road and is 0-0 in neutral games. The Wildcats were 12-3 at home last season, 9-4 in road games and 4-0 in neutral contests.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 321-396 (.448) all-time record, however it is 125-60 (.676) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 175-91 career record against Pac-10 teams.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 2-1 when out-rebounding its opponent... 3-0 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 3-0 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 3-0 when scoring 70 points or more... 3-0 when opponents score 71 points or less.
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won six straight season openers and eight in the 10 years she has been at the UA.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Cats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for four different games...
Fri., Dec. 29 Kansas Fox Sports Net 6:30 p.m. Sat., Jan. 6 at Stanford Bay TV 7:30 p.m. PST Sat., Feb. 10 at Washington St. Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST Sun., Feb. 18 USC Fox Sports Net 2 p.m.
The Mar. 3 contest at Oregon and the Mar. 10 contest against California have been selected as potential TV games. The television status of each contest will be determined approximately 12 days before the specified dates.
BRASE TO REDSHIRT: Wildcat junior guard Julie Brase will redshirt for the 2000-2001 season after having wrist surgery before the start of the season. Brase played in all 32 games last year, starting 19, and averaged 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
CATS INK EARLY SIGNEES: The Arizona women's basketball program signed four players on the first day of the early signing period last week. Forwards Danielle Adefeso (Santa Monica, CA/St. Monica HS) and Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, CA/Hanford HS) and guards Robin Roberson (Berkeley, CA/Berkeley HS) and Dee Dee Wheeler (Chicago, IL/Dunbar HS) will all join the Wildcats for the 2001-02 season.
WHAT THE COACHES THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
5. Arizona State
8. Oregon State
10. Washington State
The Pac-10 women's basketball media members picked Arizona to finish fourth, as well.
BUT WE CAN DO BETTER: In each of the previous three years, Arizona has equalled or bettered the Pac-10 coaches' pick for its finish... 2000 - picked fourth, finished tied for second; 1999 - picked fifth, finished fourth; 1998 - picked second, finished tied for second.
PAC-10 APPROVES CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS: The Pacific-10 Conference Chief Executive Officers have approved the establishment of men's and women's post-season basketball tournaments.
The men's tournament will be an eight-team event to be staged at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The women's tournament will be a 10-team event hosted on campus by one of the Pac-10 members. Both tournaments will begin in March 2002. In each case, the winner of the Tournament will earn the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The Conference previously conducted a men's tournament following the 1987 through 1990 seasons. It has never sponsored a similar event for women.
OREGON TO HOST FIRST TOURNAMENT: Oregon has been selected as the first school to host the Pac-10 women's basketball tournament. The historical event will take place in March 2002 on the UO campus.
1999-2000 IN REVIEW: After returning 10 letterwinners and all five starters from the previous year's squad, the 1999-2000 Wildcats utilized their depth and experience to roll to a 25-7 overall mark, setting a new school record for most wins in a season. The Cats garnered a 13-5 record in Pac-10 play, finishing in a tie for second with Stanford.
Arizona opened the season with a nine-game win streak and went on to register an 11-1 mark in non-conference action. By winning their first Pac-10 game to improve to 12-1, the Cats tied the school record for the best start in the history of the program.
Pac-10 play brought about several historical moments as well. With wins at Washington State and Washington during the second weekend of January, the Cats earned their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. They repeated the feat during the final weekend of the regular season, recording their first-ever road sweep of Stanford and California.
The Wildcats earned their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament berth, ending up as the No. 8 seed in the Mideast Region. Arizona travelled to Knoxville, Tenn., where it downed No. 9 seed Kent, 73-61, in the first round of the tournament. The Cats faced No. 1 seed and eventual national runner-up Tennessee in the second round and put up a valiant fight, only to fall, 75-60.
The UA set or tied 23 school records during the season, including most wins in a season (25), highest winning percentage (.781), most three-point field goals made in a season (162) and most points in a season (2,484). The Wildcats were ranked 21st in the final Associated Press Poll of the year and were 20th in the last USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring (77.6 ppg), scoring margin (+9.9 ppg) and assists (17.94 apg). The Cats were second in three-point field goal percentage (.379), rebounding margin (+4.3 rpg), steals (10.31 spg), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.89) and three-point field goals made (5.06 per game).
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: With 12.7 points per game, forward Angela Lackey finished as Arizona's leading scorer for the second straight year. She was second in rebounding, at 5.3 per game. Fellow forward Tatum Brown was second in scoring, with 12.4 points per game, and was the team's top rebounder, with 7.7 boards per contest. Forward Elizabeth Pickney was third in both categories, averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Guards Lisa Griffith (8.9 ppg), Reshea Bristol (8.6 ppg), Felecity Willis (7.8 ppg) and Julie Brase (6.1 ppg) followed on the scoring chart. Willis was the team's assists leader, at 5.3 per game, while Griffith had the highest steals average, at 2.1 per game.
Tatum Brown ended the season as the Pac-10 leader in field goal percentage (.590) and was third in rebounding (7.7 rpg). Felecity Willis was third in the league in assists (5.28 apg), and Lisa Griffith was fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.420).