COMING UP: Arizona (7-18, 3-12), which has lost six in a row, returns to Tucson to host sixth-place California (15-9, 7-7) for a 7 p.m. game this Thursday, Feb. 16, at McKale Center. Video, audio and live stats of the game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com. Live audio of the game is also available on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Despite a heroic comeback effort, Arizona fell 91-83 to Oregon State at Gill Coliseum last Saturday night. It was the first time since the 2001-02 season that the Wildcats lost the season series with Oregon State. Arizona, which trailed by 30 with 11:46 remaining and cut it to six, shot 41 percent from the field, 43 percent from three-point range and 67 percent from the free throw line on the game. Oregon State, meanwhile, connected on 56, 42 and 82 percent, respectively, on the game. The Beavers also out-rebounded the Wildcats 38 to 32. Arizona forced OSU into 22 turnovers while committing 16. Junior Joy Hollingsworth led Arizona with a season-high 24 points. Freshman Kelsey Burns was one rebound shy of a double-double, posting career highs of 19 points and nine boards. Senior Natalie Jones and sophomore Ashley Whisonant added 18 and 16 points, respectively. Jones also pulled down nine rebounds.
Jones leads Arizona this season with 14.7 points per game. Hollingsworth adds 14.5 points and a team-best 6.1 rebounds per game, while Whisonant averages 13.9 points. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 40 percent from the field, compared to the 47 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 34.3 to 39.6.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: California led No. 14 Stanford by three points with 13:11 left in the game, but lost 55-46 last Saturday in front of a Haas Pavilion women’s basketball record crowd of 4,859 fans. The Bears shot just 28 percent from the field, 23 percent from downtown and 61 percent from the free throw line on the game, while Stanford connected on 39 percent from the field, an amazing 70 percent from beyond the arc and 77 percent from the charity stripe. Freshman Devanei Hampton led Cal with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while fellow freshman Ashley Walker tallied 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots.
On the season, the Bears are led by Hampton, who averages 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Alexis Gray-Lawson adds 14.8 points, while Walker averages 13.1 points and 8.1 boards. As a team, Cal is shooting 43 percent from the field, compared to the 37 percent of its opponents. The Bears are also out-rebounding their opponents 39.3 to 36.0.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona leads the all-time series with California 29-14. The last time the two teams met, on Jan. 22, Arizona won 80-76 in Berkeley. The Wildcats are 16-4 at home, 13-9 away and 0-1 at a neutral site vs. the Golden Bears.
INJURY UPDATE: Freshman Amina Njonkou re-aggravated her right foot at Stanford on Jan. 19 and is day-to-day. Sophomore Ch?© Oh suffered a concussion at Washington State on Jan. 28 and is out indefinitely. Junior Linda Pace suffered a left knee injury against Washington State on Dec. 29 and is out for the rest of the season.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: As a team, Arizona ranks in the bottom half of the conference in every statistical category but free throw percentage (fourth), offensive rebounds (fourth), turnover margin (fourth), steals (fifth) and three-point field goal average (fifth).
Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in various categories. Senior Natalie Jones is second in free throw percentage (.825), fifth in steals (2.2), sixth in minutes per game (34.9), and 10th in both scoring (14.7) and three-point field goal average (1.6). Junior Joy Hollingsworth is fifth in three-point field goal average (2.2) and seventh in minutes per game (33.5). Sophomore Ashley Whisonant is fifth in assists (3.8) and 10th in assist/turnover ratio (1.0). Sophomore Ch?© Oh is seventh (2.6) and freshman Whitney Fields is eighth (2.5) in offensive rebounds.
SHOOTING SORROWS LEAD TO LOSSES: In 17 of their 18 losses this season, the Wildcats have had a worse shooting percentage than their opponents. In fact, three of the four times Arizona has produced a better field goal percentage than its opponent (Furman, Lehigh, Chicago State), the team has also won the game. The only time the Wildcats shot better than their opponent and lost was at Washington.
JONES FIRING ON ALL CYLINDERS: Over the last five games, senior Natalie Jones has taken matters into her own hands. The guard has led the team in scoring in four of the five games, posting three 20+ point games and finishing with double-doubles in twice. Over that span, she is averaging 21.4 points and 8.2 boards in 36.2 minutes per game.
BURNS BURNING IT UP: Over the last eight games, freshman Kelsey Burns has really stepped up her game. During that time, the guard has averaged 9.1 points in 19.4 minutes per game. In the first 17 games, she had averaged 1.6 points in 5.6 minutes. Burns finished with a career-high 19 points and nine rebounds at Oregon State last Saturday, had 15 points against UCLA on Feb. 4, scored 11 points against USC on Feb. 2 and had 10 points in Arizona’s upset of California on Jan. 22.
JONES JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB: Senior Natalie Jones became just the 14th Arizona player ever to reach 1,000 points on her career on a free throw at the 2:02 mark of the second half at Washington State on Jan. 28. The guard now has 1,085 points on her career.
HALFTIME SCORE INDICATIVE OF FINAL RESULT: In Arizona’s 25 games this season, the halftime score has been indicative of the final result 21 times. The Wildcats are 2-16 when trailing at the intermission and 5-2 when leading. The only two games Arizona won after trailing at halftime were at home against Oregon and at California. Conversely, the two games the Wildcats lost after leading at halftime were against Central Connecticut State and Utah.
WILDCAT TRIFECTA: Senior Natalie Jones, junior Joy Hollingsworth and sophomore Ashley Whisonant lead the Wildcats this season. The trio account for 63 percent of the team’s points. Whisonant has reached double-digit scoring in 22 of the 25 games, while Jones and Hollingsworth have 10 or more points in 21 games each.
JONES STARTS 90TH STRAIGHT GAME: Senior Natalie Jones started her 90th consecutive game at Oregon State on Saturday. On her career, the guard has started 94 total games.
LACK OF SIZE EXPOSED: With the death of 6-5 Shawntinice Polk and the medical redshirt of 6-2 Shannon Hobson, Arizona is left without much size inside. As a result, the Wildcats have been out-rebounded in 19 of their 25 games this season. In those 19 games, the Wildcats have managed just 32.0 rebounds to their opponents’ 41.7 (-9.7).
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones is third all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.772), fifth in games played (121), three-point field goals attempted (369) and free throws made (288), sixth in three-point field goals made (111), seventh in games started (94), minutes played (3,420), free throws attempted (373), and personal fouls (308), ninth in minutes per game (28.3) and 12th in scoring (1,085). Sophomore Jessica Arnold ranks ninth in three-point field goal percentage (.340).
PAC-10 ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS: Arizona boasts several of the Pac-10’s active career statistical leaders. Senior Natalie Jones ranks second in assists (294), fourth in steals (185), sixth in three-point field goals made (111), sixth in scoring (1,085) and seventh in rebounds (523). Junior Joy Hollingsworth ranks fifth in three-point field goals made (123), seventh in steals (119), eighth in scoring (951), ninth in rebounds (453) and 11th in assists (151).
STACKED PAC: As a conference, the Pac-10 finished last season ranked as the third toughest conference in the nation after sending five teams to the NCAA Tournament. Finishing ahead of the Pac-10 were the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Wildcats have a challenging schedule that includes 12 games against eight teams (Arizona State, Maryland, Oregon, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Utah and Wisconsin-Green Bay) that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year. Of those teams, six advanced to the second round, while Arizona State made it to the Sweet 16 and Stanford to the Elite Eight.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM. Paul Johnson is in his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer.
UP NEXT: Arizona closes out its home schedule with a 2 p.m. game against Stanford this Saturday, Feb. 18 As is custom at the last home game each season, Arizona’s two seniors - Anna Chappell and Natalie Jones - will be honored after the game. In addition, the jersey of Shawntinice Polk will be retired.