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011-19-2007 NC State Game Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/19/2007
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Complete Release as a PDF

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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (2-2) makes it second trip back East in as many weeks for a game at NC State (3-1) on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in Reynolds Coliseum at 7 p.m. (EST).? The Wildcats and the Wolfpack match up for a second-straight season as Arizona knocked off NC State, 68-66, in overtime last season in McKale Center.

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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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Portland Recap:

Arizonaˇ?s bench finished with 42 points, and the Wildcats held off a late Portland rally to top the Pilots, 78-71, on Friday night before 1,419 fans in McKale Center.?

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As a team, Arizona shot 54.5 percent from the field (30-55), and tallied 14 steals off of 31 Portland turnovers while holding the Pilots to a 43.1 percent mark (25-58) from the field.? The Wildcats also outrebounded Portland 35-31, but only shot 55.2 percent (16-29) from the free throw line.

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Individually for Arizona, freshman Ify Ibekwe came off the bench to lead the team with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field to go with 13 rebounds for her first career double-double.? Sophomore Marie McGee tallied a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting off the bench, and senior Ashley Whisonant finished with 13 points and 10 assists.? Freshman Tasha Dickey added 12 points.

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Sophomore Laiken Dollente led Portland with a game-high 23 points.

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Arizona and Portland traded baskets early, as the Pilots scored on back-to-back possessions to go up 16-12 at the 10:42 mark.? The Wildcats then responded with a 10-0 scoring run over the next 4:19 to take a 22-16 lead with 6:23 left in the first.? Portland answered immediately with a three to cut the deficit to 22-19, but Arizona used another 10-0 run over the next 2:33 to take a commanding 32-19 at the 3:46 mark.? Arizona went into halftime up 41-26 on 53.8 percent shooting (14-26) from the field, holding Portland to a 38.5 percent mark (10-26).? Ibekwe and McGee both had 11 points in the first half.

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Portland came out strong at the start of the second half, using a 9-4 mini run in the first 2:29 to cut the Arizona lead to 45-38.? Arizona led 49-42 at the 15:37 mark before putting together an 11-2 run over the next 4:26 to go up 60-44 with 10:53 left in the game.? The Pilots fought back at the end, using an 11-2 run of their own to cut the deficit to 76-71 with 39 seconds left to play.? A layup by Dickey with 16 seconds left held the Pilots in check down the stretch and sealed the win for the Wildcats.

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About the Wolfpack:

The North Carolina State Wolfpack enters Tuesdayˇ?s game with a 3-1 record.? NC State was ranked No. 24 in last weekˇ?s ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, but suffered its first loss of the year to St. Johnˇ?s, 60-55, on Saturday.? NC State owns wins over UNC-Greensboro, Appalachian State and Brown, and is 2-0 at home so far this season.? NC State returns eight letterwinners and two starters from last yearˇ?s Sweet 16 squad.? As a team, the Wolfpack shoots 43 percent from the field while holding opponents to a 31.7 percent mark.? NC State shoots 27.5 percent from three-point range and 60.6 percent from the charity stripe.? The Wolfpack does have 20 blocks and 53 steals in four games, and has forced 107 turnovers on the opposition.? Individually for NC State, senior Khadijah Whittington leads the team with 19.3 points and 14.3 rebounds a game.? Head coach Kay Yow is in her 33rd season at the helm of the NC State program.

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Series Notes:

Tuesdayˇ?s game will mark the second meeting between NC State and Arizona on the hardwood.? The Wildcats won last yearˇ?s game on Nov. 24 in McKale Center, 68-66, in overtime.

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November Numbers:

Arizona is 40-21 (.655) since 1991 under head coach Joan Bonvicini in the month of November, including a 25-11 mark (.694) in the month since the start of the 1999-00 season.? Last year, Arizona went 4-3 in November, and is 2-2 in the month so far this season.

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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 279-205 (.576) mark at Arizona and is 604-276 (.686) 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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Ainˇ?t No Accident:

Tuesdayˇ?s game will match two of the winningest coaches in womenˇ?s college basketball, as Arizonaˇ?s Joan Bonvicini and NC Stateˇ?s Kay Yow will be roaming the sidelines trying to get another win added to one of their illustrious careers.? Between the two, Bonvicini (604) and Yow (711) have combined to win 1,315 career games, and have a combined winning percentage of .686 (1315-601).

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Hot Shooting:

Arizona was on fire from the floor against Portland, finishing the game with a blistering 54.5 percent mark (30-55).? Arizona was 14-of-26 (53.8 percent) from the floor in the first half, and hit 16-of-29 shots (55.2 percent) against the Pilots in the second half.? Arizona shot over 50 percent in just one game last season, which was in a win at UCLA.

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Make Those Layups!:

In basketball, it is almost a sin to miss a layup.? You just have to have layupsˇ? period.? After missing a combined 51 layups at the WBCA/Basketball Travelers Classic to open the season, the Wildcats improved in that department against Portland .? Arizona cut down its misses to 10 after missing 12 layups against Penn State, 17 layups against Pittsburgh and 22 layups against Charlotte.

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Slow Starts:

Before Fridayˇ?s game against Portland, Arizona was outscored 122-82 by the opposition in the first half in its first three games.? The Wildcats reversed that trend, leading the Pilots 41-26 at the break.

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Itˇ?s a Winning Streak:

Arizona beat Charlotte and Portland in consecutive contests, a modest two-game winning streak that is of some significance.? It is Arizonaˇ?s first winning streak since winning three-straight games at the beginning of last season when the Wildcats beat TCU and NC State in overtime, followed by a win at UTEP.? Each win was in what month?... November of course.

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Needs Improvement:

For Arizona to continue its winning ways, the Wildcats will need to improve their outside shooting from behind the three-point line.? Through four games, Arizona has hit 12-of-51 three pointers for a 23.5 percent clip.? Opponents, on the other hand, are putting up a 39.3 percent mark (35-89) from three point land on the Wildcats.? Portland made an opponent season-high 10 threes against the Wildcats on Friday.

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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 97 times, but is only shooting 66 percent (64-97) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting a solid 73.9 percent (65-88) from the line against the Cats.? Against Portland, Arizona put up 29 free throws, only hitting 16 of them for a 55.2 percent mark.?

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Grab That Ball:

So far, Arizona isnˇ?t doing the job it is supposed to do on the boards.? Through four games, Arizona is getting outrebounded by the opposition 166-147.? The Wildcats, however, have managed to pull down 58 offensive rebounds, including 14 against the Pilots on Friday.

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What do you know about Pressure?:

The Wildcats can put some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through four games, Arizona has forced 94 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 23.5 turnovers a game.? The Wildcats, on the other hand, have only turned the ball over 76 times, and own a +4.5 turnover margin.? Arizona forced Portland to commit 31 turnovers on Friday, and scored 38 points off of those fumbles.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 43 steals so far on the season for a 10.8 steals per game average.? Arizona has racked up 27 steals in its last two games, including 14 against Portland.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Against Portland, the Wildcats outscored the Pilots 46-18 inside the paint.

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Lotta Action:

So far, a lot of Wildcats are getting a lot of action.? Through three games, 10 Wildcats are averaging double figures in playing time, led by senior Ashley Whisonantˇ?s 37.8 minutes per game average.

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Splinters Out:

Arizonaˇ?s bench gave the Wildcats a major boost in win over Portland.? The UA bench combined for 42 points in the game, led by freshman Ify Ibekweˇ?s 21 points and a career-high 17 points from sophomore Marie McGee.? McGee and Ibekwe combined to shoot 15-of-19 (78.9) from the floor off of the pine.

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vs. Ranked Teams:

In case NC State remains ranked this week, here is a note about the Wildcats against ranked opponents.? Arizona faced No. 20 Pittsburgh on Saturday but was unable to reverse a recent trend, losing to the Panthers, 58-81.? Over the last three seasons, the Wildcats are 0-20 against ranked opponents, going 0-12 against ranked teams last year.

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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-American level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game while snagging 2.0 steals a contest.? Against Portland, Whisonant posted double-double with 13 points and 10 assists in a career-high 40 minutes of action.? Last season, the 1,000-point scorer averaged 11.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game.

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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 62 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 1,078 career points (97 games), Whisonant needs 66 points to catch Yolanda Turner (1984-87) for the No. 12 position.

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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.? Through four games, Njonkou is averaging 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds a game, while shooting 45.9 percent (17-37) from the field.? Last season, the 6-foot-1 Foumban, Cameroon native averaged 8.4 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds a game, posting a team best four double-doubles.?

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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 four games, Dickey is averaging 10.8 points on 17-of-31 shooting (54.8 percent), 2.8 rebounds and a team-best 2.5 steals a game.? Against Portland, Dickey finished with 12 points on 5-of-10 shooting to go with three steals.

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Impressive Start:

Freshman Ify Ibekwe comes from a family of distinguished athletes and she is trying to prove that she is the best yet.? The 6-foot-1 Carson, Calif., native from Narbonne HS has been a spark on the court in the first four games, averaging 10.5 points on a team-best 69.2 percent shooting (18-26) and 5.8 rebounds a game in just 15.8 minutes per game.? 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.? One area Ibekwe needs to improve on is free throw shooting.? On the season, Ibekwe is shooting just 46.2 percent (6-13) from the line, as she was just 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) against Portland on Friday.

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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 returns home to host Middle Tennessee on Sunday, Nov. 25 at?2 p.m. in McKale Center.

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