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01-02-2008 Oregon State Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/02/2008
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Complete Release as a PDF?

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C oming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (6-7, 0-2 Pac-10) looks to open the 2008 year with a win and end a three-game losing streak at Oregon State (7-5, 0-1 Pac-10) on Thursday, Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. in Gill Coliseum.? The Wildcats have won the last two-straight games against the Beavers in the series.

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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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UCLA Recap:

UCLA freshman Nina Earl had season-bests 23 points and 10 rebounds, including a pair of key free throws down the stretch to hold off a late Arizona rally for a 68-59 victory on Sunday.

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Earl had 10 of the Bruinsˇ? initial 15 second-half points, including a lay-in with 10:03 remaining to give UCLA a 57-39 lead.

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Arizona came back, however, cutting the lead to five on an Ashley Whisonant reverse lay-in with 3:28 remaining as it capped off a 14-2 run.

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Earl took the Wildcat momentum away with a pair of free throws with 3:10 remaining to halt Arizonaˇ?s big run. Tierra Henderson added two more charity tosses to extend the Bruinsˇ? lead to 63-54.

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Whisonant had a driving bucket with 34 seconds left to narrow the gap to six, but the Bruins secured the win with late free throws.

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UCLA (6-7, 1-1) had Lindsey Pluimer add 10 points and nine rebounds.

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Whisonant led Arizona (6-7, 0-2) with 17 points, while Tasha Dickey finished with 13 points and Amina Njonkou registered her fourth-straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

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The Bruins took control in the opening moments of the second half when Earl had back-to-back lay-ups, followed by a pair of Regina Rogers inside buckets to go ahead 50-34.

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Earl, following a jumper from Whisonant, took advantage of a 3-on-1 break for a lay-in after rebounding a missed shot for a 52-36 edge. The Bruins out-rebounded Arizona 12-2 in the opening eight minutes of the second half.

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The Bruins controlled the middle of the court by outscoring Arizona 38-18 in the paint.

UCLA took advantage of a 10-0 run midway through the first half to go into the break with a 42-30 lead after shooting 53 percent from the field.

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About the Beavers:

The Oregon State Beavers enter Thursdayˇ?s game with a 7-5 overall record and a 0-1 mark in Pac-10 play.? Oregon State lost to Oregon, 72-76, in its Pac-10 opener at home on Dec. 29.? The Beavers are 3-3 at home so far this season.? As a team, OSU shoots 44.5 percent from the floor, 69.7 percent from the free throw line and 34.9 percent from three point range.? Individually for the Beavers, Ashley Allen leads the way with 20.3 points and 4.3 rebounds a game, and Brittany Davis adds 12.4 points a game.? Head coach LaVonda Wagner is in her third season at the helm of the Beaver program.

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Series Notes:

Thursdayˇ?s game will be the 48th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and Beavers on the hardwood, with Arizona owning a 25-22 all-time series advantage.? Last season, OSU defeated Arizona, 69-62, on Jan. 13 in Gill Coliseum, but Arizona knocked off the Beavers, 65-61 on Feb. 8 in McKale Center during the regular season.? Arizona also scored a 69-54 win over OSU in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament on March 2.? Since 1998, Arizona is 16-7 against the Beavers.

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New Year, New Start: ?

Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 10-6 in the first game of the New Year.

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On the Road Again:

Another week of basketball, another week of traveling for Arizona.? This season, the Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season, playing seven of their first 13 games on the road.? With trips Green Bay, Wis., Penn State, NC State, Long Beach, Calif., and Albuquerque under their belts, the Wildcats have already racked up 13,698 round trip travel miles on the season.? Arizona will now head to Oregon to add another 2,784 round trip miles for a grand total of 16,482 miles (and it is only January).? Weˇ?ll keep you posted on when the Wildcats earn their free round trip to anywhere in the United States.

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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 283-210 (.574) mark at Arizona and is 608-281(.684) 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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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.?

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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 13 games, Arizona is getting outscored 443-365 by opponents in the first half, and is 3-7 when trailing at the half.? When leading at the half, Arizona is 3-0, as the Wildcats are outscoring the opposition 462-44 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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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 256 times (19.7 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 64.8 percent (166-256) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting 69.4 percent (159-229) from the line against the Cats.?

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Make Those Free Throws:

Free throw shooting has been a major factor in Arizonaˇ?s ability to win games.? In the Wildcatsˇ? loss against USC, Arizona shot 17-of-29 from the line (58.6 percent) against the Women of Troy, including a 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) mark in the second half.? Poor shooting from the line kept Arizona from making legitimate comeback attempt at the end of the game, as the Wildcats scored five-straight points in the final 22 seconds of the game to cut the deficit to seven points.? Against UCLA, Arizona shot 19-of-29 from the line (65.5 percent) against the Bruins, including an 11-of-18 mark (61.1 percent).? Even though the 19 free throws were the second most for the Wildcats on the season, not being able to hit free throws in the second half prevented another comeback attempt, as Arizona cut the deficit to six points with 33 seconds to play in the game.

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Bombs Away:

Arizona surrendered a season-high 13 three point field goals to USC on Friday night.? The Women of Troy hit 13 threes on 27 attempts (48.1 percent), as those 13 makes equaled a USC school record.? The Wildcats rebounded defensively against UCLA, holding the Bruins to just a 2-of-8 mark from behind the arc, as those two makes were an opponent season low.

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Thatˇ?s an Improvement:

Against UCLA, Arizona had a decent game shooting from three point range.? The Wildcats hit six three pointers on 18 attempts for a season-high 33.3 percent mark from behind the arc.? The six makes from three point range is the second-best tally on the season.

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Need More Baskets:

Although Arizona had 19 free throw makes and six treys, the Wildcats made a season-low 17 field goal attempts against the Bruins on Sunday.

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Bench Help:

With a squad of eight players, Arizona is looking for contributions from all of its players.? The Wildcatsˇ? lack of depth showed against USC on Friday night as USCˇ?s reserves outscored Arizonaˇ?s bench 42-6, but were outscored just 21-19 against the Bruins.

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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 13 games, Arizona has forced 277 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 21.3 turnovers a game.? Arizona forced 26 turnovers on UCLA in Sundayˇ?s game, scoring 21 points off of those fumbles.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 123 steals so far on the season for a 9.5 steals per game average.? Arizona has racked up 109 steals in its last 11 games (9.9 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 13 games, the Wildcats have posted 449 points in the paint, which accounts for 53.3 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (842), and average 34.5 points per game down low.? In its last six games, Arizona has outscored the opposition 197-132 in the paint, including a 38-22 advantage down low against USC on Friday night.? UCLA outscored Arizona 38-18 in the paint, however.

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Lotta Action:

So far, a lot of Wildcats are getting a lot of action.? Through nine games, nine Wildcats are averaging double figures in playing time, led by senior Ashley Whisonantˇ?s 36.7 minutes per game average.

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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 14.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists a game while snagging 1.9 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 36.7 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 USC, Whisonant finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

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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 1,181 career points (104 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 10 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 326 career assists, Whisonant needs 8 more to claim the No. 10 spot in school history.? With a 4.7 assists per game average, Whisonant is on pace to finish with 136 assists this season, the ninth-best mark in school history.

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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.? Against USC, Neabors finished with a career-best 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds and a career-high five assists.? On the season, she is averaging 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds a game.

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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.? On the season, she is averaging 6.8 points and 1.8 rebounds a game in 21.0 minutes of action.? Dickey is also second on the squad with 20 steals.? Against UCLA, Dickey posted 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, including a 2-of-3 mark from three point range in just 18 minutes of action.

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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.? Against USC, McGee had 13 points a career-high seven rebounds and a career-high three assists.? On the season, McGee is averaging 5.3 points and 2.8 rebounds a game in 21.4 minutes of action per contest.? As a starter, she is averaging 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds a game.

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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 seven-straight games including double-doubles in the last four consecutive games.? Over the last seven contests, Njonkou is averaging 14.3 points and 9.1 rebounds a game over that span.? In the last four games, Njonkou is posting 16.5 points and 11.3 rebounds a game.?

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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. ?Against USC on Friday night, Njonkou finished with a career-best 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting and a season-high 12 rebounds.? She was also 8-of-10 from the free throw line. She then posted 12 points and 11 rebounds a game against UCLA on Sunday.

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On the season, Njonkou is posting 12.2 points and 7.0 rebounds a game while shooting 47.8 percent (55-115) from the field.

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Double-Double Machine:

With double-doubles in the last four straight games, Amina Njonkou is joining some very exclusive company in the Arizona history books.? Njonkou is the first player to record four-straight double-doubles since Shawntinice Polk posted five-straight double-doubles during the 2003-04 season (Feb. 7-19).? Njonkou has six double-doubles so far on the season.

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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 will take on the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. in McArthur Court.

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