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02-18 Washington Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/18/2008
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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (9-16, 3-11 Pac-10) will open its final home stand of the season against the Washington Huskies on Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.? The Wildcats are looking to end a three-game losing streak, and defeat Washington for the first time since 2004.

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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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Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show:

Hosted by Wildcat radio announcer Derrick Palmer, the Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show is broadcast live from 6-7 p.m. every Monday on KTUC 1400 AM and is held at the Varsity Clubs of America, located at Speedway and Alvernon. The show features Bonvicini with several special guests, ranging from players to staff members.

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California Recap:

No. 9 California used a big 21-6 scoring run at end of the first half to take control of the game en route to a 66-45 win over Arizona on Saturday afternoon in Haas Pavilion.? The Wildcats drop their third-straight game to fall to 9-16, 3-11 Pac-10, as Cal wins its sixth-straight to improve to 23-3, 14-1 Pac-10.

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Arizona shot 28.6 percent (18-63) from the field in the game, as Cal shot 49.2 percent (29-59).? The Golden Bears also outrebounded the Wildcats 41-37 and finished with nine blocks.

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Individually for Arizona, junior Amina Njonkou registered her 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and sophomore Rheya Neabors added 10 points.? Freshman Ify Ibekwe finished with eight points and seven rebounds, but senior Ashley Whisonant was held to a season-low five points to go with seven assists.

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Ashley Walker led California with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Devanei Hampton added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

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Arizona held a 9-4 lead early on after a three by Neabors at the 13:09 mark.? The Wildcats led for much of the first half and were up 14-11 with 7:55 left in the first, but Cal finished the rest of the half on a 21-6 scoring run and led 32-20 at halftime.

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Arizona shot 21.9 percent (7-32) from the field in the first half, and went scoreless the last 4:07 of it, as Cal posted a 44.1 percent mark (15-34).?

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Cal opened its lead up even more in the second half, using a 14-4 run to take a 51-28 lead with 9:02 left to play in the game.? The Golden Bears would keep that distance down the stretch, as Arizona shot 35.5 percent (11-31) from the field in the second half compared to a 56 percent mark (14-25) for Cal.

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A Quick Look at Arizona:

Arizona averages 63.2 points a game while shooting 40.8 percent from the field, 25.3 percent from three-point range, and 65.8 percent from the free throw line. Senior Ashley Whisonant leads Arizona with 15.5 points a game (fourth in the Pac-10) while posting 3.3 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game (third in the Pac-10).? Junior Amina Njonkou adds 13.4 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.

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About the Huskies:

The Washington Huskies enter Thursdayˇ?s game with an 11-15 overall record and a 6-8 mark in the Pac-01.? UW has won two-straight, including four of its last six, but is just 1-10 on the road so far this season.? As a team, the Huskies shoot 39.7 percent from the field, 28.3 percent from three point range and 66.4 percent from the free throw line.? Kaelan Redmon leads the team with 12.0 points and 4.5 rebounds a game, and Sami Whitcomb adds 11.1 points and 4.2 rebounds a game.? Head coach Tia Jackson is in her first season at the helm of the UW program.

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Series Notes:

Saturdayˇ?s game will be the 46th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Huskies on the hardwood, with Washington owning a 29-16 all-time series advantage.? Arizona has lost the last six games in the series, winning six-straight before that span.? Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 15-21 against UW, including an 11-9 mark against the Huskies since 1999.? Washington beat the Wildcats 74-59 on Jan. 26, and swept the season series last year with two wins coming by 17 points and 15 points over the Wildcats.

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Washington ˇ?s last five wins over Arizona have combined by an average of 15.6 points.

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Streaky:

After beating New Mexico on the road in ˇ?The Pitˇ± (Dec. 15), the Wildcats had posted their fourth-straight win and were rolling with a 6-4 record.? Since that game, Arizona had lost eight-straight games before beating Washington State on Jan. 24, its longest losing streak since dropping nine-straight during the 2005-06 season.? Arizona is currently riding a two-game winning streak, its longest in Pac-10 play since 2005.

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The Newest Wildcats:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team has added walk-ons Ashley Gilpin and Sabreena Berger to its roster.?

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Gilpin, a senior from Las Cruces, N.M., is a 5-foot-9 guard currently studying psychology at the UA.? She hails from Mayfield HS, the same high school current Wildcat Marie McGee attended, and where the two were teammates.

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Berger, a 5-foot-9 sophomore, is from San Diego, Calif., and played high school ball at Point Loma HS.

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On the Road, Again:

The Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season, starting the season playing nine of their first 15 games on the road.? Arizona will also end the regular season with five of its last seven games on the road.? With trips to Washington, Oregon, Green Bay, Wis., Penn State, NC State, Long Beach, Calif., and New Mexico under their belts, the Wildcats have already racked up a grand total of 19,822 round trip miles.? Add 200-plus miles this week with a bus trip up to and from Tempe, and the Wildcats have traveled over 20,000 miles this season, with a trip to LA still waiting.? After the Wildcatsˇ? trip to the Bay Area for games at Stanford and Cal, Arizona added 1,800 more roundtrip miles to their traveling profile to bring their running season total to 21,800.? 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 286-219 (.566) mark at Arizona and is 611-290 (.676) 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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500:

Head coach Joan Bonvicini reached another milestone on Jan. 26 at Washington.? The game at Washington marked head coach Joan Bonviciniˇ?s 500th game as the leader of the Wildcat program.? She became just the sixth coach in Arizona history in any sport to coach 500 games.

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900:

On Thursday at Stanford, head coach Joan Bonvicini coached in her 900th career game on the sidelines.? She became the 14th head coach in NCAA Division I womenˇ?s basketball history to coach in 900 games.?

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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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Pit This:

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 25 games, Arizona has been outscored 849-704 by opponents in the first half, and is 4-14 when trailing at the half.? When leading at the half or tied at the half, Arizona is 5-1.? Arizona was down 32-18 at the half against Stanford en route to a 69-46 loss, and trailed 32-20 at Cal before losing 66-45.

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Shoot better = W:

As simple as it may seem, Arizonaˇ?s best equation for winning ball games is to shoot better than its opponents.? The Wildcats are 9-3 so far this season when outshooting the opposition.?

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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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Making History:

Arizonaˇ?s shooting against Cal on Jan. 19 made some dubious school history.? In that game, the Wildcats shot a school record low 24.1 percent from the field (13-54) in Pac-10 play.? Arizonaˇ?s 13 field goals in the game are also a school record low in Pac-10 play.

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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 462 times (18.5 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 65.8 percent (304-462) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting 71.8 percent (305-425) from the line against the Cats.

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Arizona was 5-of-8 (62.5 percent) at the line at Cal on Saturday, the Wildcatsˇ? season low for makes on the season.

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Make Those Free Throws:

Free throw shooting has been a major factor in Arizonaˇ?s ability to win and lose games.? In the Wildcatsˇ? loss against USC (Dec. 28), 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 (Jan. 30), 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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Despite playing with six players, and with four players down the stretch, Arizona could have held off an Oregon State comeback (Jan. 3) had it hit its shots at the line.? The Wildcats shot a season-low 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the free throw line against the Beavers, including a 3-of-7 mark in the first half, and a 3-of-8 mark in overtime.

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Against Oregon (Jan. 5), the Wildcats erased a 16-point second half deficit and trailed 56-53 with 1:10 left to play, but shot 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the charity stripe.

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What do you know about Pressure?:

Arizona can put on some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through 25 games, Arizona has forced 490 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 19.6 turnovers a game.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 207 steals so far on the season for an 8.3 steals per game average.? Arizona ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in the steals department, but had a season-low three steals at Cal on Saturday.

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Rejectmuch:

Last season, Arizona tallied 51 blocked shots the entire season.? This year, it is a different story.? The Wildcats surpassed last yearˇ?s total in 15 games with 53 blocks, and own 94 blocks in 25 games.? Arizona currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in the blocks department behind Stanford, averaging 3.8 blocks a game.? A big reason for the complete 180 when it comes to blocks has with its aggressive play upfront.? Freshman Ify Ibekwe leads the team with 25 blocks on the year, and junior Beatrice Bofia is second on the team with 22 blocks.? Sophomore Rheya Neabors is third on the squad with 16 blocks so far this season.? Arizona has posted four blocks or more in 11 games so far, including eight of the last 12 contests, and has recorded 31 blocked shots in the last seven games.? In the last 12 games, Arizona is averaging 4.4 blocks per contest.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through 25 games, the Wildcats have posted 821 points in the paint, which accounts for 51.9 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (1,580), and average 32.8 points per game down low.? Arizona scored 20 of its 46 points against Cal in the paint.

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Pac-10ˇ?s Best:

In Pac-10 play, a few Wildcats have been tearing it up.? Through 14 Pac-10 contests, senior Ashley Whisonant is averaging 16.1 points a game, second in the Pac-10, and a league best 37.9 minutes of action.? Junior Amina Njonkou is third in scoring and fourth in rebounding with 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds a game in league play, and is the top offensive rebounder in conference play by pulling down 58 offensive rebounds.

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant has been counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has flourished in that position.? Whisonant has played at an All-Pac-10 level all season long.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game while snagging 1.8 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 37.2 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks second in the Pac-10 in scoring average, third in assists per game, and first in minutes per game.?

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Game of a Lifetime:

Ashley Whisonant showed why she is one of the best players in the Pac-10 at Oregon State on Jan. 3.? Whisonant led a team of just six players with a career-high 34 points in 48 minutes of action.? Her 34 points is the fourth-best mark in school history, one point shy of the all-time school record (35 points).? She tied a school record with 15 field goal attempts, and set a new school record with 29 field goal attempts.?

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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 continue to climb up the Arizona all-time point leader list this season.? So far this season, Whisonant has moved up nine spots on the all-time Arizona scorers list, and currently ranks fifth all-time with 1,390 career points in 118 games (11.8 career ppg average).? Her 20 points at Washington moved her past Timi Brown (1987-91, 1,315 points) for fifth-place all-time in school history.? She now needs 77 points to tie former teammate Shawntinice Polk (2003-05, 1,467 points) for fourth all-time.? With five more points, she will become just the fifth player in school history to amass 1,400 career points.

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On Fire:

So far this season, Whisonant has posted double-figures in points in 20 of 25 games, including 11 of the last 13, as she has been on an absolute tear as of late.? However, Against Stanford, Whisonant was held to a season-low eight points, and scored a new season-low five points at California.

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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 on 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 379 career assists, Whisonant is now the No. 9 assists disher in Arizona history.?

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Whisonant has 114 on the season, marking her third-straight season with 100 or more assists.

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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 19-straight games including eight double-doubles over that span.? Over the last 19 contests, Njonkou is averaging 14.6 points and 8.2 rebounds a game.? In the last 16 games, Njonkou is posting 15.2 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.?

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Against Stanford, Njonkou posted 14 points and six rebounds, going 6-of-10 from the field.? She posted 10 points and a season-high 12 rebounds at Cal on Saturday.

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On the season, Njonkou is averaging 13.4 points and 7.3 rebounds a game while shooting 50 percent (120-240) from the field, the fifth-best mark in the Pac-10.? In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds a game, and is shooting a team-best 75.2 percent (94-125) from the free throw line.

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Double-Double Machine:

Before her 17 point and nine rebound performance against Oregon State (Jan. 3), Amina Njonkou had posted double-doubles four straight games, putting her in some very exclusive company in the Arizona history books.? Njonkou became 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 10 double-doubles so far on the season after finishing 10 and 12 at California, the second best total in the Pac-10.

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Big Lift:

Sophomore Rheya Neabors has been picking up her game as of late. The 6-foot-1 lefty forward has scored in double figures in six of the last eight games, including a 10 point performance at California on Saturday. ?Over the last eight games she is averaging 10.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 36.5 minutes a game.? On the season, Neabors is averaging 8.4 points and 3.9 rebounds a game.

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Spark Plug:

When freshman Ify Ibekwe is on the floor, you will definitely take notice.? The 6-foot-1 forward seems to be everywhere on the court for the Wildcats, and always seems to be around to grab a rebound, block a shot or snatch a steal.? Since coming back from an eye injury, Ibekwe is averaging 8.8 points and 7.9 rebounds a game.? She has posted six or more rebounds in each of the last nine games, including 11 against California, 10 against Washington and 13 against Oregon State.? She is also leads the team with 25 blocks on the season.? Through 19 games, Ibekwe leads the team with a 7.8 rebounds per game average and posts 10.1 points a game.? She finished with 16 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks at Stanford, and had eight points and seven rebounds at Cal.

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Hays Factor:

Junior forward Sarah Hays quietly goes about her business on the court but her presence is definitely felt in the box score for Arizona.? At Cal, Hays finished with a season-high eight points on 4-of-8 shooting to go with six rebounds in 22 minutes of action.? She has started the last two games for the Wildcats, and is averaging 3.3 points and 3.4 rebounds a game this 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 host its regular season finale against Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.? The team will honor its seniors following the game.

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