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012-26-2007 USC Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/26/2007
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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (6-5) returns home to host USC (7-4) in the two teamsˇ? Pac-10 season opener on Friday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.? The Wildcats are 10-6 in Pac-10 openers under head coach Joan Bonvicini, including a 5-3 mark the last eight seasons.

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Catch the Action:

As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Derrick Palmer and Shannon Hobson calling the action from courtside.? Please visit www.arizonaathletics.com for all of your live stats and live video needs.

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UW-Green Bay Recap:

With a squad of only six players, the Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team fell to UW-Green Bay, 81-59, on the road Thursday night before a crowd of 2,021 fans in the Kress Center.? The loss snapped Arizonaˇ?s four-game winning streak.

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As a team, Arizona shot 40.7 percent (22-54) from the field and finished with 10 steals.? UW-Green finished with a 56.4 percent mark from the floor (31-55), including a 10-of-18 clip (55.6 percent) from three point range.

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Individually for the Wildcats, junior Amina Njonkou finished with a career-high 18 points and 10 rebounds, and junior Beatrice Bofia tallied her first career double-double with career highs of 10 points and 11 rebounds.? Senior Ashley Whisonant added 15 points and four steals.

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Junior Rachel Porath led UW-Green Bay with 21 points.

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Arizona hit a jumper to open the game, but UW-Green Bay responded with 13-unanswered points over the next four minutes to go up 13-2 at the 15:35 mark.? The Wildcats struggled from the field at the start of the first half, hitting just 3-of-12 shots (25 percent), while the Phoenix posted a 7-of-11 clip (63.6 percent) including 3-of-5 three pointers for an 18-6 lead at the 11:20 mark.? UW-Green Bay went into halftime up 40-15, holding the Wildcats a 27.3 percent mark (6-of-22) from the field.? The Phoenix shot 60.7 percent (17-28) from the field in the first, led by Kati Hartyˇ?s 15 points.

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UW-Green Bay didnˇ?t let up on the Wildcats in the second half, keeping Arizona at bay with three point shooting.? Arizona closed within 15 points on two occasions down the stretch, but the Wildcats would get no closer than that.? UA shot 50 percent (16-32) in the second half, yielding a 51.9 percent mark (14-27) to the Phoenix.

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The Phoenix has won its last five games against Pac-10 teams.

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Junior Sarah Hays and sophomore Rheya Neabors were held out of Thursdayˇ?s game against UW-Green Bay as the two remained in Tucson to fulfill academic responsibilities.? Freshman Ify Ibekwe missed her second-straight game due to an eye injury, and senior Jessica Arnold missed her fourth-straight game due to a concussion.

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About the Women of Troy:

The USC Women of Troy enter their Pac-10 opener with a 7-4 overall record, having won the last three in a row on the schedule.? USC is 1-3 on the road so far this season.? As a team, USC shoots 42.2 percent from the field, 33.6 percent (71-211) from three-point range and 67.1 percent (98-146) from the free throw line.? Nadia Parker leads the squad with 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, and Camille LeNoir adds 10.4 points a game.? Head coach Mark Trakh is in his fourth season at the helm of the USC program.

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Series Notes:

Fridayˇ?s game will be the 60th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Women of Troy on the hardwood, with USC owning a 43-16 all-time series advantage.? USC has won the last five straight in the series, and seven of the last eight, including a 77-68 win over Arizona on Jan. 18 in McKale Center, and a 66-42 win on Feb. 17 in the Galen Center last season.? Since 1996, Arizona leads the series by a mark of 14-11.

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December Numbers: ?

Arizona is 78-36 (.684) since 1991 under Joan Bonvicini in the month of December, including a 64-25 (.719) mark in the month since the start of the 1995-96 season.? The Wildcats have gone undefeated in the month of December three times, while losing just one game in the month three other times.? Arizona is 4-1 so far in the month of December.

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Welcome Home:

If you donˇ?t recognize the Wildcats on the floor Friday night, there is a reason for that.? Arizona has gone a span of 16 days since playing its last game in the friendly confines of McKale Center.? The Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season, playing seven of their first 11 games on the road.? Counting the trip to Green Bay, and with trips to Penn State, NC State, Long Beach, Calif., and Albuquerque under their belts, the Wildcats have racked up 13,698 round trip travel miles.? Arizona will also head up to Oregon next week.? Weˇ?ll keep you posted on when the Wildcats earn their free round trip to anywhere in the United States.? Arizona is 3-1 at home so far this season, losing only to Middle Tennessee State.

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Arizona Head Coach Joan Bonvicini (17th season):

The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 17 seasons at the helm, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to nine postseason appearances, including seven NCAA Tournament berths and a WNIT Championship.? Under Bonvicini's tutelage, the Wildcats have finished in the upper tier of the Pac-10 in nine of the last 11 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history.

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During this time, Arizona has been nationally ranked multiple times, including a best ever ranking of No. 7 in 1998.? Bonvicini's success is mirrored in her players' accolades. She has produced one All-American, five honorable mention All-America selections, a Pac-10 Player of the Year, three Pac-10 Freshmen of the Year, 22 All-Pac-10 honorees, 17 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 18 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 283-208 (.576) mark at Arizona and is 608-279 (.685) in 29 years as a head coach. On Feb. 8, 2007, Bonvicini became the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball history to reach the 600 win milestone with a 65-61 victory over Oregon State in McKale Center. She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances.

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Just Win, Baby:

Before losing to UW-Green Bay in its last game, Arizona was riding a four-game win streak, a season-long stretch topping a two-game streak from earlier this year.? Last season, the Wildcats had only one winning streak in the form of a three-game stretch.

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Got 4 On It:

With a win at New Mexico, Arizona won its fourth-straight games for the first time since the 2004-05 season.? Since going on a four-game streak from Jan. 16-26 in 2005, Arizona has managed to win consecutive games three times, and has won three-straight games three times.

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Bounce Back:

Since 1991, when Arizona had a four-game winning streak or better snapped, the Wildcats are pretty good at responded afterwards.? In games following a loss that has snapped a winning streak for Arizona, the Wildcats own a 14-8 (.636) mark under head coach Joan Bonvicini.

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Road Warriors:

With a wins against Long Beach State and New Mexico, the Wildcats managed to win two-straight road games for the first time since the 2004-05 season.? Arizona last won two-straight on the road in December of 2004 with wins at Chicago State and Washington.?

Home Wreckers:

Arizona went into New Mexicoˇ?s Pit and did something most visiting teams canˇ?t do: win.? The Wildcats snapped the Lobosˇ? 13-game home winning streak with their 44-36 win, as New Mexico was 7-0 on the season before Saturdayˇ?s game.

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Slow Starts:

Through 11 games, Arizona is getting outscored 370-305 by opponents in the first half, and is 3-5 when trailing at the half.? When leading at the half, Arizona is 3-0, as the Wildcats are outscoring the opposition 393-375 in the second half.

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Almost History:

Arizonaˇ?s 44-36 win over New Mexico came very close to some intriguing historical proportions.? Arizonaˇ?s 44 points in the win was the programˇ?s lowest point total in a victory since beating Utah, 46-36, on Jan. 17 1974.? Arizonaˇ?s school low for a point total in a win is 36 in a win (36-30) over Northern Arizona on Feb. 10, 1973.

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Just How Low?:

New Mexicoˇ?s 22.8 percent shooting (13-57) from the field on Saturday came anemically close to an Arizona opponent school record low mark for shooting percentage in a game.? The lowest opponent shooting percentage against Arizona in school history is 19.4 (12-62) percent by Rice on Nov. 14, 2005.? However, Arizona gave up an opponent season-high 56.4 percent (31-55) mark to UW-Green Bay in its last outing.

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Toe That Line:

So far, the Wildcats have shown an ability as a team to get to the free throw line.? Arizona has made it to the line 198 times (18 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 65.7 percent (130-198) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting 71.1 percent (133-187) from the line against the Cats.?

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What do you know about Pressure?:

The Wildcats can put on some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through 11 games, Arizona has forced 235 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 21.4 turnovers a game.? The Wildcats, on the other hand, have turned the ball over 223 times, and own a +1.1 turnover margin, the fourth-best mark in the Pac-10.? Arizona forced 20 turnovers on UW-Green Bay last week.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 109 steals so far on the season for a 9.9 steals per game average.? Arizona has racked up 95 steals in its last nine games (10.6 spg), including a season-high 14 against Portland, NC State and NAU.? Arizona ranks second in the Pac-10 in the steals department.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through 11 games, the Wildcats have posted 393 points in the paint, which accounts for 55.1 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (713).? Arizona is averaging 35.7 points per game in the paint, and outscored Boise State 42-12 in that department last week, and New Mexico 30-14 inside the key.? In its last four games, Arizona has outscored the opposition 141-72 in the paint, despite being outscored in the paint 34-25 against UW-Green Bay.

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Lotta Action:

So far, a lot of Wildcats are getting a lot of action.? Through nine games, 10 Wildcats are averaging double figures in playing time, led by senior Ashley Whisonantˇ?s 36.3 minutes per game average.

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Splinters Out:

Arizonaˇ?s bench has given the Wildcats a major boost on the court.? The UA bench has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games so far, including a season-best 42 points against Portland.? Arizonaˇ?s reserves have accounted for 214 points for a 19.5 ppg average, which is also 30 percent of the teamˇ?s total output.? Arizona finished a season-low nine points off the bench against New Mexico, and had 10 bench points against UW-Green Bay.

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant will be counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has already flourished in that position.? So far this season, Whisonant has played at an All-Pac-10 level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 14.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists a game while snagging 2.1 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 36.3 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring average, first in assists per game, fifth in steals per game, and first in minutes per game.? Against UW-Green Bay, Whisonant finished with 15 points, five rebounds and four steals.

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All-Time Scorer:?

Ashley Whisonant scored her 1,000th career point in the final game of the season last year, and look for her to climb up the Arizona all-time point leader list this season.? With 76 points in the first three games, Whisonant moved past Kim Conway (1,060 points, 1990-94) for the No. 13 spot on the all-time scoring list.? Now standing at 1,164 career points (103 games), Whisonantˇ?s eight points against New Mexico allowed her to pass Yolanda Turner (1984-87) in the No. 12 position, and passed former teammate Natalie Jones (1,149 points, 2003-06) for sole possession the No. 11 spot.? With 35 more points, Whisonant will tie Lisa Griffith (1,199 points, 1997-2000) for the No. 10 spot in school history.

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Ms. 100:

Senior Ashley Whisonant has been a constant in the Arizona lineup ever since her freshman season, and she is one pace to be one of Arizonaˇ?s all-time leaders in games played.? She played in her 100th career game against NAU (Dec. 6), and is on pace to finish her career with 123 games played, a figure that will rank No. 3 all-time in school history.

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Looking For a Dime:

With each dime Ashley Whisonant dishes out, she is moving to the top of the line on Arizonaˇ?s all-time career assists list.? With 319 career assists, Whisonant needs 15 more to claim the No. 10 spot in school history.? With a 4.1 assists per game average, Whisonant is on pace to finish with 142 assists this season, the ninth-best mark in school history.

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Ms. Wildcat:

Freshman Tasha Dickey, simply put, was born to be a Wildcat.? The daughter of two former Arizona athletes, Dickey has shown her tremendous athletic ability on the court.? In the first 11 games, Dickey is averaging 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game.? Dickey always seems to be doing the little things right on the court.? Against Long Beach State, Dickey finished with seven points, two rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench.? With the Arizona down 10-8 to Long Beach State, Dickey came in the game and gave the Wildcats an immediate spark, putting in a layup and hitting a three on consecutive possessions to put Arizona up 13-10.? Against Boise State, she came off the bench to tally eight points and two steals in 19 minutes of action.

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Narbonne ˇ?s Finest:

Freshman Ify Ibekwe comes from a family of distinguished athletes and she is trying to prove that she is the best yet.? Before getting hit in the eye during last Fridayˇ?s practice, the 6-foot-1 Carson, Calif., native from Narbonne HS had been a spark on the court in the first nine games, averaging 11.6 points on 61.6 percent shooting (45-73), the second-best mark in the Pac-10, and a team-high 7.8 rebounds a game in just 20.3 minutes a game.? In her last six games, Ibekwe is averaging a team-high 13.8 points and 10.0 rebounds a game, numbers highlighted by performances against Portland and Middle Tennessee at home, and a homecoming game at Long Beach State.? Against Portland, Ibekwe straight went off against the Pilots.? She finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with 13 rebounds for her first career double-double.? Against the Middle Tennessee, Ibekwe finished with a team-high 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.? In her first career start against NAU, Ibekwe finished with seven points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals in 22 minutes of action.? Against the 49ers, Ibekwe finished with a game-high 15 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-high four blocked shots before a hometown crowd. ?

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In the Books:

Ify Ibekweˇ?s performance against Middle Tennessee was one for the history books, as her 22 points came off of a scorching 10-of-11 shooting mark from the field.? Her .909 shooting percentage is the second-best single game performance in school history, matching Shawn Coderˇ?s 10-of-11 mark against Cal State Northridge on Dec. 13, 1991.

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Wonˇ?t you be my Neabor?:

Sophomore Rheya Neabors has been stepping up for the Wildcats on the outside perimeter.? Against NAU, the 6-foot-1 Pomona, Calif., native had a career-high 15 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists, and a block and a steal in 35 minutes of action.? She put up a career-best 10 three pointers, hitting a career-high five three point field goals.? Against Long Beach State, Neabors had nine points and five rebounds in a career-high 37 minutes of actions.? She finished with seven points in 36 minutes of action against Boise State, and five points and five rebounds in 37 minutes against New Mexico.? On the season, she is averaging 7.9 points and 4.4 rebounds a game.

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Stepping Up her Game:

Sophomore Marie McGee is playing a more vital role in the Arizona lineup this season, as the Las Cruces, N.M., native earned her first career start against NAU.? She responded by finishing with six points and two steals, hitting a career-best two three pointers.? In her second-career start against Long Beach State, McGee had six points, three rebounds and a career-high three steals in a career-high 24 minutes of action.? Against New Mexico, she posted four points and a career-best five rebounds in her home state.? On the season, McGee is averaging 4.5 points and 2.4 rebounds a game in 20.1 minutes of action per contest.? As a starter, she is averaging 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds a game.

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Lucky Charm?:

Arizona is 4-1 with Marie McGee in the starting lineup.

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Amina the Bull:

Junior forward Amina Njonkou is a force down low in the paint, and her strength allows her to bull over defenders.? The 6-foot-1 Cameroon native has posted double-figures in points in the last five-straight games, and is averaging 13.2 points and 8.2 rebounds a game over that span.? Against NAU, she finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds and a career-best five steals.? Against Long Beach State, she had her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.? Versus Boise State, Njonkou finished with 10 points and three rebounds, and had 14 points and a season-high 12 rebounds in a career-high 34 minutes of action against New Mexico.? Against UW-Green Bay, Njonkou posted a career-high 18 points to go with 10 rebounds in a career-high 35 minutes of action, sinking a career-best eight free throws on 11 attempts.? On the season, Njonkou is posting 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds a game while shooting 51.1 percent (45-88).

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Queen B:

Junior Beatrice Bofiaˇ?s had a career day against UW-Green Bay in her last outing.? The 6-foot-7 center finished with a career-high 10 points and 11 rebounds for her first career double-double.? She also played a career-high 33 minutes of the bench.? On the season, Bofia is averaging 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds a game.

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Cats Picked To Finish Eighth in the Pac-10:

The University of Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team was selected to finish eighth in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conferenceˇ?s head coaches.? The Wildcats garnered 31 points in the poll, as seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this yearˇ?s Pac-10 title.

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The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes and 79 points, as Arizona State received a first-place nod and tallied 71 points to place second. California was tabbed to finish third with a first-place vote and 68 points, followed by fourth-place USC with 56 points and fifth-place UCLA with 44 points. Washington grabbed 41 points to place sixth, followed by Oregon (34), as Arizona (31), Oregon State (16) and Washington State (10) rounded out the poll.

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Tough Schedule:

Year in and year out, Arizona never runs away from a challenge, but rather takes on the best teams in the nation head on during the nonconference schedule before playing in the always daunting Pac-10 Conference.

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The Wildcats will play 29 games during 2007-08, 13 games in McKale Center and 16 on the road, with 14 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.

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The UA will take on 10 teams that competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, with non-conference matchups against Middle Tennessee State, Pittsburgh, Boise State, New Mexico, NC State, and UW-Green Bay, along with Pac-10 series against California, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State.

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Rank This:

Arizonaˇ?s tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this yearˇ?s preseason rankings.? In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN and AP Preseason poll, five of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the regular season.? Arizona will face No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 California, No. 21 Pittsburgh and No. 25 NC State.? Additionally, six other Arizona opponents (Middle Tennessee, USC, New Mexico, UCLA, Boise State and Wisconsin-Green Bay) each received votes in the poll.

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Up Next:

Arizona w ill host UCLA on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.

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