WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (14-5 overall, 4-3 Pac-10) is seeking to end a three-game losing skid this weekend when it plays host to the Oregon schools. The Wildcats will play 22nd-ranked Oregon at home on Thursday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., then the Cats face Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 So. Cloverdale, CA 8.9 ppg 5.7 rpg 1.8 apg 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 14.5 ppg 6.1 rpg 1.4 bpg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 9.8 ppg 5.8 rpg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Sr. Omaha, NE 13.9 ppg 4.9 rpg 6.9 apg 13 Aimee Grzyb G 5-7 Fr. San Jose, CA 8.5 ppg 2.1 rpg 2.4 apg OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order) 4 Candice Allen G 5-10 Fr. Ontario, CA 5.6 ppg 2.2 rpg 1.0 spg 14 Jen Chesney G 6-0 Fr. Newberg, OR 1.7 ppg 1.6 rpg 22 Veranda James # F 6-3 Fr. Pomona, CA 13.7 ppg 8.3 rpg 1.3 apg 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 Jr. Riverside, CA 10.3 ppg 4.7 rpg 3.1 apg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 Jr. Oregon City, OR 1.2 ppg 1.7 rpg # may miss this weekend's games with injury
ABOUT ARIZONA: Coming off a stretch that saw them play eight out of 11 games on the road, the Wildcats are 14-5 overall and 4-3 in Pac-10 play. The Cats have dropped their last three games, suffering their longest losing skid since the 1995-96 season. Arizona is coming off a 67-57 loss at Arizona State that ended the Cats' 14-game win streak against the Sun Devils and gave ASU its first win over Arizona since 1993. The Wildcats have not lost four consecutive games since dropping five in a row at the end of the 1994-95 season. After being ranked for three weeks, the Cats have dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25, although they are still ranked this week in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, coming in at No. 23. They received 12 votes in the Associated Press poll, their lowest number of votes since receiving only 11 in the Dec. 11 rankings. With 14.5 points per game, junior forward Elizabeth Pickney continues to lead four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. She is second in rebounding, at 6.1 per game. Senior guard Reshea Bristol is the second-leading scorer, at 13.9 ppg. She is leading Arizona and the Pac-10 in both assists (6.89 apg) and steals (3.16 spg). Freshman forward Veranda James is a very close third in scoring at 13.7 ppg and has the team's top rebounding average at 8.3 per game. Junior guard Tysell Bozeman is fourth in scoring, with an average of 10.6 ppg. Junior center LaKeisha Taylor is fifth on the team in scoring, with 9.8 ppg, and is leading the Pac-10 in field goal percentage, hitting 60.2 percent from the floor. As a team, Arizona is leading the Pac-10 in scoring (79.5 ppg), scoring margin (+13.6 ppg) and assists (16.63 apg). The Cats are second in five other categories, including rebounding (42.1 rpg), free throw percentage (.699) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86).
BONVICINI STILL SEEKING WIN No. 499: Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini will be aiming for career win No. 499 against Oregon on Thursday. Once she crosses the 500-victory mark, Bonvicini will be one of only 17 active Division I women's basketball coaches to reach that mark.
JAMES TENTATIVE FOR THIS WEEKEND'S GAMES: Freshman forward Veranda James is listed as tentative for this weekend's games. James fell in her dorm room last week and hit her head, suffering her second concussion of the season. She had previously sustained a concussion during the Cats' game against UNLV on Dec. 6. As of press time, doctors had not yet cleared James for practice, although she is considered to be currently on a day-to-day basis.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Suffering its first loss to Arizona State in more than seven years, Arizona fell, 67-57, to the Sun Devils in Tempe on Jan. 27. The loss ended a 14-game win streak for the Cats against ASU. The contest was close through the early portion of the game, with neither team leading by more than three points over the first 11 minutes of the game. Arizona led by one (14-13) at the 11:52 mark, but that would prove to be its final lead of the contest. Arizona State out-scored the Wildcats, 27-16, over the remainder of the half to take a 10-point (40-30) lead into the break. Arizona began the second half with six costly turnovers that assisted ASU in its 14-8 period-opening run. The Sun Devils led by 16 twice midway through the second half, and the Cats spent the rest of the game playing catch-up. Arizona ended the contest with a 12-6 spurt, cutting the final deficit back to 10 points. Senior guard Reshea Bristol led all scorers with her 16 points and had a game-high eight assists. Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney had 11 points and tied Bristol for the team lead with seven rebounds each. Freshman guard Aimee Grzyb added 10 points.
ABOUT OREGON: Winners of eight of their last 10 games, the 22nd-ranked Ducks are 12-5 overall and 5-2 in Pac-10 play. Oregon split home games against the L.A. schools this weekend, falling to USC (53-55) and defeating UCLA (54-43). With 12.5 points per game, senior forward Angelina Wolvert is leading Oregon in scoring. She is tied for second in rebounding with fellow senior Brianne Meharry, each averaging 4.5 rpg. Junior guard Jamie Craighead is second in scoring, with 10.5 ppg, while senior center Jenny Mowe is the team's top rebounder, at 5.8 per game. Oregon is leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense (58.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.467), field goal percentage defense (.370) and three-point percentage defense (.278). Jamie Craighead is the Pac-10 leader in three-pointers made per game (2.53), and Jenny Mowe is the conference leader in blocks per game (1.88). Head coach Jody Runge (Kentucky, 1985) has a 155-66 record in eight seasons at the helm of the Ducks' program.
THE SERIES vs. OREGON: Oregon holds the 19-11 lead in the series with Arizona. The two teams have split their games in each of the last six seasons. Arizona defeated the Ducks, 73-66, on Feb. 4 last year in Eugene, then blew a 22-point lead and lost to Oregon, 75-71, on Mar. 4, 2000, in Tucson. The Wildcats are 5-10 all-time when playing Oregon in Tucson. In recent years, these two teams have been known for winning on each other's home court. Since Joan Bonvicini's arrival at Arizona, the Wildcats have gone 4-5 in Eugene, while Oregon is 5-4 in the McKale Center.
LAST MEETING WITH OREGON: It was a tale of two halves as the Wildcats fell to Oregon, 75-71, in their final home game of the year on Mar. 4, 2000. Arizona opened the game on fire, shooting 58.6 percent in the first half and holding a 46-29 lead at halftime. After pushing the lead to 20 points (57-37) at the 14:37 mark in the second half, Arizona's offense stalled out and never recovered. The Ducks out-scored the UA, 38-14, over the remainder of the game, holding the Cats to only four points in the final eight minutes on the clock. Four Wildcats reached double digits in scoring, with Reshea Bristol coming off the bench to put up 11 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 performance from the line. Elizabeth Pickney had eight points and two rebounds, while Krista Warren added two points in the game.
ABOUT OREGON STATE: After opening the season with a 6-0 mark, the Beavers have gone 5-6 since, moving to 11-6 overall and 3-4 in Pac-10 play. OSU split with the L.A. schools last weekend, defeating UCLA (71-58) and losing to USC (69-67 OT). The Beavers will play at Arizona State on Thursday before heading to Tucson for Saturday's game. Averaging 18.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, junior guard Felicia Ragland is leading Oregon State in both categories. Sophomore guard Nicole Funn is second in both, with averages of 13.4 ppg and 6.7 rpg. Junior center Ericka Cook is third, averaging 12.9 ppg and 6.5 rpg. Oregon State is second in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense (.387), three-point percentage defense (.279) and rebounding margin (+4.8 rpg). Felicia Ragland is the conference's second-leading scorer and is second in steals (2.88 spg) behind Arizona's Reshea Bristol. Judy Spoelstra (Oregon State, 1983) has a 72-83 record in her sixth year at the head of her alma mater's program. She is 170-151 in 12 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. OREGON STATE: The series between Arizona and Oregon State is tied at 15-15, with the Wildcats winning each of the last seven meetings. The Cats defeated the Beavers, 65-49, on Feb. 6 last year in Corvallis, then had to go to overtime to down OSU, 79-77, on Mar. 2, 2000, in Tucson. Arizona has a 10-5 all-time record when playing Oregon State at home. The Cats' last loss to Oregon State was an 85-76 defeat on Jan. 23, 1997, in Corvallis. Arizona has not lost to OSU in Tucson since the 1994-95 season.
LAST MEETING WITH OREGON STATE: The Wildcats needed overtime to edge surging Oregon State, 79-77, in Tucson on Mar. 2, 2000. The Beavers jumped on the Cats right away, pulling out to leads as great as 13 midway through the first half before the UA recovered to end the period on a 17-6 run. OSU had a two-point (36-34) edge at the break. Oregon State led most of the second half, gaining a lead as big as 12 points until the UA made a 21-7 spurt to take a two-point (67-65) lead with just 31 seconds remaining in regulation. A foul was called on Arizona's Tatum Brown with barely a second remaining in regulation, and OSU's Chassie Wiersma hit her two free throws to send the game into overtime. During the extra period, there were five ties, but Arizona never trailed. Felecity Willis nailed a pair of free throws with 29 seconds remaining in the overtime to give the Cats the two-point lead, and OSU's late attempt at a tying shot fell short Elizabeth Pickney led the Cats with 17 points, including a 9-for-9 performance from the free throw line. Reshea Bristol shot 7-for-11 from the floor en route to 15 points, while LaKeisha Taylor and Krista Warren contributed four and two points, respectively.
NOTING THE PAC-10: With 5-2 league records, Oregon and Arizona State are tied for first place in the Pac-10 standings. Washington is holding down third place, with a 5-3 mark, with Arizona and Stanford following at 4-3 each. At 14-5, Arizona still has the best overall record in the conference. Arizona State's current four-game win streak is the longest active win streak in the Pac-10.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats kick off the second round of Pac-10 play next weekend in Washington. Arizona plays at Washington on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. PST, then the Cats are at Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. PST. The contest at WSU will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.
BIOGRAPHY OF A LOSING SKID: Over the last three games, the Wildcats have averaged only 60.0 points and 34.0 rebounds per game. They have been out-scored by an average of 9.0 ppg and have been out-rebounded by an average of 7.7 rpg. They have shot only 41.3 percent from the floor, while opponents have hit 41.5 percent of their field goals. The Cats have shot only 26.7 percent from three-point range and have averaged 25.0 turnovers per game. During the first 16 games of the season, however, the Wildcats averaged 83.2 ppg and 43.6 rpg. They out-scored opponents by an average of 17.8 ppg and out-rebounded opponents by an average of 5.8 rpg. Arizona shot 45.9 percent from the floor and 32.7 percent from three-point range during that span, and averaged only 18.3 turnovers per game.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Tues. Jan. 30 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Jan. 31 2:30-4:30 p.m. (lifting after) McKale Thurs. Feb. 1 vs. Oregon, 7 p.m. McKale Fri. Feb. 2 2-4 p.m. (lifting after) McKale Sat. Feb. 3 vs. Oregon State, 2 p.m. McKale Sun. Feb. 4 OFF Mon. Feb. 5 2-4:30 p.m. (lifting after) McKale Tues. Feb. 6 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Feb. 7 12-2:30 p.m. (lifting before) McKale depart for SeattleHEAD 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 173-110 (.611) 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 498-181 (.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.
COUNTDOWN TO 500: Joan Bonvicini is only two 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 89-80 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 55-24 league mark over the last five seasons combined.
WILDCAT RADIO FREQUENCY HAS CHANGED: All Arizona women's basketball broadcasts have moved, along with host station KCEE, to a new frequency. All broadcasts, including games and the Joan Bonvicini Coach's Show (Mondays, 6-7 p.m.), can now be heard on 97.1 KCEE FM, instead of the previous frequency of 940 AM.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 9-3 when out-rebounding its opponent... 12-2 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 13-3 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 11-1 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring... 9-0 when leading at halftime... 10-1 when forcing more turnovers than it commits... 13-0 when scoring 70 points or more... 11-3 when opponents score 71 points or less.
HOW TO AVOID A LOSS: According to the season's trends thus far, the best way for Arizona to avoid losing this season might be to lead at the half, shoot better from the floor than the opponent, commit fewer turnovers than the opponent and score 70 points or more. The Cats are only 5-5 this year when tied or trailing at halftime, 2-3 when shooting worse from the field than the opponent, 3-4 when committing more turnovers than the opponent, 1-2 when shooting below 40% from the floor, 1-5 when scoring 69 points or less, and 3-4 when three or fewer Wildcats reach double digits in scoring.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Including a perfect 9-0 record so far this year, the Wildcats have won 14 of their last 15 home games and are 32-6 on their home court over the last three seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 10 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 101-41 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 167-149 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
ROAD WOES: In contrast to their 9-0 home record this year, the Wildcats are only 4-4 in road games this season. They are averaging 88.7 points per game and are out-scoring opponents by an average of 24.6 ppg in home games. Those numbers are significantly lower in road contests this year. A comparison...
STEPPING UP: Junior center LaKeisha Taylor seems to have come into her own this season. During her first six games, Taylor registered only 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting 58.3 percent (14-24) from the floor. However, over the last 12 games, Taylor has averaged to 11.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while hitting 60.7 percent (54-89) from the field. She scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds while leading the Cats to an 88-72 win over Washington at home on Jan. 13.
A TALE OF TWO HALVES: Arizona seems to be a "second-half team" this season. The Cats are averaging 37.2 ppg during the first halves of this season's contests, out-scoring opponents by an average of only 4.6 ppg in that period. During the second halves of this season's games, though, the Wildcats are averaging 42.2 ppg and are out-scoring opponents by an average of 9.2 ppg for that period.
BY THE NUMBERS: Ten of Arizona's wins this year have been by a total of 10 points or more... Five of those wins have been by spreads of 30 points or more... The Cats have hit four or more 3-pointers in 14 games... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in 11 games... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 10 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 12 contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in nine games.
GETTING TO THE LINE: Arizona is averaging 18.0 points per game from the free throw line so far this season. The Cats have made it to the free throw line 489 times over 19 games, for an average of 25.7 attempts per contest. The Wildcats have connected on 342 of those attempts (69.9 percent).
STRONG SCHEDULE: Several of Arizona's 2001 opponents were listed in this week's national rankings. In this week's Associated Press Top 25, Notre Dame is No. 1 and Oregon is No. 22. Arizona State and Stanford were among teams receiving votes for ranking. In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, Notre Dame is No. 1 and Oregon is No. 21. Stanford, Auburn, Louisville and UC Santa Barbara were all among the teams receiving votes.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Senior guard Reshea Bristol is third on the Arizona career list in free throws made (293), third in steals (224), fourth in free throws attempted (407), fifth in three-pointers attempted (223), fifth in three-pointers made (71) and seventh in assists (360). She is in the No. 8 spot on the UA's all-time scoring list, with 1,026 career points, and needs 24 points to move into the No. 7 spot. Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney is third on the UA career list in blocked shots (93), fourth in rebounding average (5.4 rpg), fifth in free throws made (269), tied for sixth in scoring average (11.5 ppg) and is sixth in free throws attempted (361). She is holding down the No. 17 spot on the all-time scoring chart with 920 career points, needing five more points to move to No. 16.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 27-21 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 55 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 130-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 90-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
ON LOCATION: Arizona has a 9-0 mark at home this year, is 4-4 on the road and is 1-1 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 332-400 (.454) all-time record, however it is 136-64 (.680) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 179-94 career record against Pac-10 teams.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Cats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for at least three more games...
Sat., Feb. 10 at Washington St. Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST Sun., Feb. 18 USC Fox Sports Net 2 p.m. Thurs., Mar. 1 at Oregon State Fox Sports Northwest (taped delay)
The Mar. 3 (at Oregon) and Mar. 10 (California) contests have been selected by Fox Sports Net as potential TV games. The television status of each contest will be determined approximately 12 days before the specified dates.
BRISTOL HITS 1,000: At the 17:03 mark in the second half of the game at USC on Jan. 18, senior guard Reshea Bristol drained a three-pointer and became only the ninth Wildcat women's basketball player to reach the 1,000-point mark in career scoring.
NICE START: With their 14-2 start, the Wildcats tied the 1999-2000 team for the best record ever through the first 16 games of a season. The Cats' 4-0 start in Pac-10 play this year is their best start ever in conference action.
BRISTOL NAMED NATIONAL STAR OF THE WEEK (Jan. 8): After leading the Cats to a road sweep of the Bay Area schools, senior guard Reshea Bristol was named the WomensCollegeHoops.com "National Star of the Week" for Jan. 2-9.
BRISTOL NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan 8): Wildcat senior guard Reshea Bristol was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Jan. 2-8. She averaged 22.0 points, 6.5 assists, 4.5 steals, 4.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while leading the Wildcats to a road sweep of the Bay Area schools. She shot 90.9 percent (10-11) from the line, 66.7 percent (4-6) from three-point range and 46.9 percent (15-32) from the floor. That was the second straight week that Bristol earned the Player of the Week honor. The Player of the Week honor is the third of Bristol's career, her second this season and the 22nd all-time selection for Arizona.
BRISTOL NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 1): Wildcat senior guard Reshea Bristol was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 18-31. She helped lead Arizona to a 3-1 mark during that time frame, including all-tournament acclaim as the Cats earned runner-up honors at the San Juan Shootout. In wins over Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, Nebraska and Kansas and a narrow loss to then-No. 9 Auburn, she averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game in 123 total minutes of play. The Player of the Week honor is the second of Bristol's career.
THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-3 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last eight years.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: The Wildcats wrapped up regular season non-conference play this year with an outstanding 10-2 mark. Their only two losses were to No. 5 Notre Dame and No. 9 Auburn. During its 10 non-conference wins, Arizona averaged an astounding 86.8 points per game and out-scored opponents by an average of 24.9 points per game. Arizona has recorded a 60-14 mark against non-conference opponents over the last six years combined.
WHAT A GAME!: During the Dec. 20 contest against UPR-Mayaguez at the San Juan Shootout, Arizona set a new school record for margin of victory by defeating the Bulldogs, 105-41, a margin of 63 points. That surpassed the previous record if 56 points (99-43) set only 12 days earlier against Bowling Green on Dec. 8. Arizona's 105 points in that contest is its highest offensive output since scoring 105 points against Sacramento State at home on Dec. 17, 1994. The 41 points scored by the Bulldogs is the best defensive effort since the Cats allowed Cal Poly-SLO to score only 39 on Jan. 9, 1996, in Tucson. The Cats also out-rebounded the Bulldogs by 24 (46-22), the best rebounding margin since the UA out-rebounded Sacramento State by 31 (59-28) during that Dec. 17, 1994 game.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: For the first time in the program's history, the Wildcats had four consecutive games of 90 points or more. Arizona defeated UNLV (91-74) on Dec. 6, Bowling Green (99-43) on Dec. 8, Fresno State (92-55) on Dec. 10 and Louisville (90-60) on Dec. 17 to put together the first-ever string of four straight games with offensive outputs of 90+ points.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 11): Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 4-11. She averaged 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game while leading the Wildcats to a 3-0 record for the week. In the three home victories, she shot a combined .489 from the floor (23-for-47), .824 from the line (14-for-17) and hit her first career three-pointer. This is Pickney's second career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor and Arizona's 20th Player of the Week honor all-time.
DISHING IT OUT: Against UNLV on Dec. 6, senior guard Reshea Bristol racked up a career-high 14 assists. That was the highest single-game assists total for any individual since former Wildcat Brenda Pantoja -- who was on UNLV's bench for that Dec. 6 game as an assistant coach -- collected 14 against Washington State at home on Feb. 29, 1996.
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.
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.
WHAT THE COACHES THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches... 1. Stanford, 2. Oregon, 3. USC, 4. ARIZONA, 5. Arizona State, t6. UCLA, t6. Washington, 8. Oregon State, 9. California, 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.