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Wildcat Women Open Season vs. Loyola Marymount
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 11/19/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team opens the 2005-06 season with an 8:30 p.m. game against Loyola Marymount this Friday, Nov. 18, at McKale. The game is part of a doubleheader with the volleyball team, which hosts USC at 6 p.m. One ticket will allow fans to see both games.

Live video and stats of the game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona breezed past Fort Lewis 86-55 in its final exhibition game last Friday. The Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and 55 percent from the free throw line on the game, compared to the 53, 50 and 67 percent, respectively, of the Skyhwaks. Arizona also out-rebounded Fort Lewis 35-27 and forced 31 Skyhawk turnovers, while committing just 12 of its own. Senior Natalie Jones led all players with 26 points on 9-of-12 (75 percent) shooting. Junior Joy Hollingsworth added 18 points, four steals and three assists, while freshman Kelsey Burns finished with 12 points. Sophomore Ch?© Oh pulled down a team-high nine rebounds to go along with eight points, while sophomore Ashley Whisonant dished out eight assists and scored eight points on the game.

In its three exhibition games, Arizona had four players average double-digit scoring, led by Jones with 18.7. Whisonant (16.3), Hollingsworth (14.0) and Oh (11.7) rounded out the group. Oh also added a team-best 9.3 boards.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: After a close first half, Loyola Marymount struggled in the second half with cold shooting and costly turnovers, falling to Love and Basketball, 75-55, in its final exhibition game last Thursday. Jevay Grooms led the Lions in scoring for the second straight game with 12 points, while Bronwyn Evans grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds.

Loyola Marymount returns three starters from last year’s team that went 16-13 overall and 9-5 in the West Coast Conference, good for second place. The Lions’ top returner is senior Rachael Ziemann, an All-WCC performer last year who averaged a team-best 10.2 points per game.

Three-time WCC Coach of the Year Julie Wilhoit enters her 11th season at the helm, boasting a 130-153 record at LMU. She led the Lions to a WCC title and its only NCAA Tournament appearance in the 2003-04 season.

INJURY UPDATE: Freshman Amina Njonkou has a stress fracture in her right foot and is out 3-7 weeks.

CATS PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH, SEVENTH IN PAC-10: Arizona was picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Wildcats garnered 42 points, just one point behind fifth-place Oregon. In the media poll, Arizona was picked to finish seventh in the conference, receiving 59 votes.

GOING POLLING: Six of Arizona’s 2005-06 opponents (Stanford, Maryland, UCLA, USC, Utah and Arizona State) are nationally ranked in the various preseason polls. Pac-10 power Stanford is ranked as high as No. 8, while Pac-10 teams USC and Arizona State are ranked in all four polls. Arizona received votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) polls.

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.

CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones ranks eighth all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.747) and three-point field goals attempted (249), and ninth in three-point field goals made (72).

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program’s helm, the Wildcats have won 11 of their 14 season openers. Last year, Arizona defeated Saint Mary’s 87-72 at home in its first game of the season in the Preseason WNIT.

WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season will be broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson returning for his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.

WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have five games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:

Saturday, Nov. 26 - 7:30 p.m. vs. Utah (FSN Arizona)

Saturday, Dec. 31 - 4 p.m. vs. Washington (FSN Northwest)

Sunday, Jan. 8 - noon vs. USC (FSN)

Saturday, Jan. 14 - noon vs. Oregon (FSN)

Sunday, Jan. 22 - 1 p.m. (PST) at California (FSN)

In addition, the Wildcats’ games at home against Stanford (Feb. 18) and at Arizona State (Feb. 25) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package.

UP NEXT: Arizona travels to Anchorage, Alaska, for the Great Alaska Shootout next Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 22 and 23. The Wildcats face Furman at 8 p.m. (AKST) Tuesday. On Wednesday, Arizona will play either Alaska-Anchorage or Central Connecticut State. The consolation game begins at 2:30 p.m. and the championship game follows at 5 p.m.

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