Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Women's Basketball Hosts Long Beach State Tuesday Night
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: December 11, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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COMING UP: The University of Arizona women’s basketball team (5-5) hosts Long Beach State (1-8) on Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.  The Wildcats are 3-1 at home on the season, and 13-3 against teams from the Big West Conference since 1991.


CATCH THE ACTION: As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Paul Johnson calling the action from courtside.


Live statistics and live video feeds are available at Arizona athletics department official website:


UTAH RECAP: Arizona committed 17 second-half fouls and Utah (5-4) converted 20-of-23 free throws in the final half to take a 66-60 win over the Wildcats (5-5) on Saturday afternoon in the Huntsman Center, in a game that had 21 lead changes.


Arizona finished the game shooting 42.6 percent (23-54) from the field, and held Utah to a 38.3 percent mark (18-47).  Utah out-rebounded Arizona 35-28, and finished the game 25-of-31 (80.6 percent) from the free throw line.  The Wildcats shot 8-of-11 from the charity stripe.


Individually for Arizona, junior Jessica Arnold posted a season-high 20 points, one off her career high.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth posted 17 points and seven rebounds, and junior Ashley Whisonant added 10 points and six assists.


Morgan Warburton scored 19 points for the Utes, as she shot 3-of-13 from the floor, but 11-of-12 from the free throw line in the second half alone.


Arizona took a 4-0 lead in the early minutes, and led 14-9 on an Arnold trey at the 13:30 mark.  Utah responded with a 10-0 scoring run and led 19-14 with 10:19 left to play in the first half, and used a 7-0 run to lead 26-17 at the 7:18 mark.  Arizona was down 29-21 with 6:00 left when the Wildcats went on a 9-0 run over 2:42 to take a 30-29 lead on a Hollingsworth three with 3:18 left.  Arizona went into halftime with a 33-32 lead on 50 percent shooting (12-24) from the field, as Arnold scored 11 points in the first half alone to equal her previous season high.


The Wildcats ran into foul trouble in the second half, as Utah shot 80.6 percent (20-23) from the charity stripe.  The entire second half went back-and-fourth, as the lead changed a total of 13 times.  Arizona opened the second half shooting 1-of-6 from the field, but took a 45-40 lead at the 13:14 mark on a Hollingsworth layup.  Arizona went up 60-59 at the 2:06 mark on a three by Whisonant.  The Wildcats trailed 62-60 in the final minute, but a layup by Warburton gave the Utes a 64-60 lead with 16 seconds left to play.  The Utes hit two more free throws down the stretch for the six point win.  Arizona shot 36.7 percent (11-30) from the field in the second half, as the Utes shot 30 percent (6-20) from the floor.


A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 64.9 points a game while shooting 40.9 percent (251-614) from the field, 24.8 percent (39-157) from three-point range, and 66.3 percent (18-163) from the free throw line.  The Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents 376-370, and have tallied 92 steals (9.2 spg) off of 198 opponent turnovers.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.0 steals per game.


ABOUT THE 49ERS: The Long Beach State 49ers enter Tuesday’s game with a 1-8 overall record.  Long Beach State is 1-4 on the road, collecting a 53-37 win at San Diego on Dec. 6.  As a team, The Beach shoots 34.1 percent (167-490) from the field, 21.7 percent (26-120) from three point range, and 62.6 percent (77-123) from the free throw line, while averaging 48.6 points a game.  Sophomore guard Karina Figueroa leads the team with 10.7 points per game.  Head coach Mary Hegarty is in her fourth season at the helm of the Long Beach State program.


THE LONG BEACH STATE-ARIZONA SERIES: Tuesday’s game will be the 17th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the 49ers on the hardwood, with Long Beach State owning a 14-2 series advantage.  Arizona has won the last two contests in the series, as these two teams have not played since Dec. 1, 1996, a 97-57 win for the Wildcats in Long Beach, Calif.


FAMILIAR FOE: Head Coach Joan Bonvicini has coached two Division-I teams in her 27-year coaching career, and both of her teams will meet Tuesday night in McKale Center.  Bonvicini began her coaching career at Long Beach State in 1980, and tallied a 325-71 record (.820) there in 12 seasons, including two trips to the NCAA Final Four.  In 1991, Bonvicini moved on to Arizona where she has compiled a 271-187 (.592) in 15 plus seasons as the coach of the Wildcats.


Interestingly enough, Bonvicini went 13-0 against Arizona as the head coach of the 49ers, defeating the Wildcats by an average margin of victory of 37 points.  As the head coach of Arizona, Bonvicini is 2-0 against her former team.


ARIZONA HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 15 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 10 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history. 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, 21 All-Pac-10 honorees, 16 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 11 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 271-187 (.592) mark at Arizona and is 596-258 (.698) in 27 years as a head coach, needing just four wins to become the 13th coach in NCAA history to reach 600 career wins.  She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances. 


FOUL TROUBLE: Arizona was the victim of over-aggressive defense on Saturday, as the Wildcats committed a season-high 28 fouls against Utah.  Juniors Ashley Whisonant and Shannon Hobson, and freshman Rhaya Neabors each fouled out in the game, as the Utes converted 25-of-31 (80.6 percent) from the charity stripe, including a 20-of-23 mark (87.0 percent) off of 17 fouls in the second half alone.  Arizona was outscored 25-to-8 from the free throw line on Saturday.


POST PICKUP: Although Arizona’s post play has anchored the Wildcat offense in the early season, the Arizona backcourt has picked up the offensive production for the post as of late.  Against Utah on Saturday, the Arizona backcourt combined to score 47 of the team's 60 points (78.3 percent).  Arizona’s post went 5-of-11 from the field for 13 points against the Utes.


GET TO THE LINE: Arizona is 5-5 on the season, and one statistic that has shown to be the difference maker for the Wildcats in terms of winning and losing has been free throw shooting.  In Arizona’s five wins this season, the Wildcats have made 65 free throws on 100 attempts while opponents have converted 40-of-60 from the charity stripe.  In the Wildcats’ five losses, opponents have made 85-of-117 free throw attempts compared to a 43-of-63 mark for the Wildcats.


NOTHING BUT RIM: Arizona will look to improve on its field goal percentage on Tuesday after struggling from the floor in the last four games.  In its last four contests, the Wildcats have shot a combined 38.6 percent (90-233) from the field, and 19.1 percent (13-68) from three point range, while opponents are shooting 42.5 percent (93-219) from the floor, and 32.4 percent (22-68) from behind the arc in that span.  Opponents have also shot 57-of-78 (73.1 percent) from the free throw line to Arizona’s 48-of-65 mark (73.8 percent) mark.


FREE THROWS = FREE POINTS: Although Arizona hasn't put the ball in the basket from the floor, the Wildcats have done a solid job of getting to the line and knocking down their free throws.  In the last four games, Arizona has shot 73.8 percent (48-65) from the charity stripe, a mark well above the team's season average of 66.3 percent (108-163).  UA was shooting 61.2 percent (60-98) before the previous four contests.


NO LONG DISTANCE SERVICE: Hopefully the Wildcats' cell phones work off the court, because on the court, Arizona has not been able to connect from long distance.  In the last four games, Arizona is shooting 19.1 percent (13-68) from three point range. So far this season, Arizona has shot 30 percent or lower from behind the arc in eight of its 10 contests, while making three or less treys on six occasions.  The Wildcats are shooting 24.8 percent (39-157) from three-point range on the season.


RUN IT, RUN IT:  So far this season, Arizona has shown the ability to put together some large scoring runs.  Here is a breakdown of some of the Wildcats' major scoring-streaks:


25 points: 30-5 scoring run over 12:50 in the first half vs. Nicholls State

21 points: 30-9 run over the final 6:53 of the first half at UTEP

16 points: 16-0 run over 3:13 in the first half vs. Louisiana Tech

16 points: 20-4 run over the final 8:11 of the game at Maryland

15 points: 15-0 run over 4:40 in the first half vs. GW

12 points: 12-0 run over 5:55 in first half vs. NC State

12 points: 18-6 run over the final 7:50 of the game vs. Nicholls State

10 points: 17-7 run over 6:24 in the first half vs. New Mexico

10 points: 10-0 run over 1:47 in the second half vs. GW


THE BIG, BAD RUN: Although Arizona can score points in bunches, the Wildcats have a tendency to give up large scoring runs to the opposition.  Here is a look at some of the scoring runs Arizona has given up to opponents:


26 points: 31-5 scoring run to Maryland over 9:59 to start the first half

21 points: 26-5 run to Texas A&M in the final 7:31 of the first half

16 points: 21-5 run to UTEP in the final 3:37 of the game

13 points: 16-3 run to Louisiana Tech over 5:29 in the first half

12 points: 16-4 run to New Mexico over 5:21 to start the first half

11 points: 15-4 run to New Mexico over 4:51 midway through the second half

10 points: 10-0 run to Utah over 3:16 in the first half


ON THE REBOUND: So far this season, Arizona has out-rebounded its opposition 376-370.  The Wildcats have grabbed 141 offensive rebounds, leading to 138 second-chance points.  Arizona is averaging 14.1 offensive rebounds and 13.8 second-chance points a game, and has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in eight of the first 10 games.  Against Utah on Saturday, Arizona grabbed 12 offensive rebounds that led to 16 second-chance points.


WATCH YOUR POCKETS: Arizona has tallied 92 steals (9.2 spg) on the season off of 198 opponent turnovers, converting 186 points (18.6 ppg) off of turnovers so far this season.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 3.0 spg.


SPLINTERS OUT: Arizona's depth is certainly displayed in the team's bench play, as reserves have totaled 166 bench points in 10 games (16.6 ppg).  Arizona has posted double-figures in bench points eight of its 10 games this season, as the bench has accounted for 25.5 percent of the team's 649 points.  The Wildcats only managed four bench points against Utah on Saturday.


LOTTA ACTION: Arizona has some depth this year (when healthy), and look for the Wildcats to take advantage of it.  In 10 games, nine players are averaging double-figures in playing time.  In the past six games, seven Wildcats or more have posted double-figures in playing time.


HEATING UP: Junior guard Jessica Arnold provided Arizona with a must needed spark from the outside against Utah on Saturday.  The 5-foot-4 Tucson native posted a game-high and season-high 20 points (one off her career high) on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including a 3-of-8 mark from three-point range, to go with three rebounds and three assists.  Arnold posted 11 points in the first half, equaling her previous season high, as she connected on 4-of-5 shots from the field and 2-of-3 from behind the arc.  On the season, Arnold is averaging 5.9 points a game.


GIVE HER THE ROCK: Senior Joy Hollingsworth has proven she can put the ball in the basket during her career, and she is continuing her scoring ways this season.  The 5-foot-10 guard is averaging a team-best 15.3 points a game, as she scored 22 points on three different occasions.  She is also averaging 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals a game, and has posted double-figure point totals in nine out of 10 games this season.  Hollingsworth is shooting 39.4 percent from the field (54-137), and averages about 14 shots from the field a game.


ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant has upped her game recently, scoring in double-figures in four-straight contests, and five of the last six.  The 5-foot-8 Bowie, Md., native led Arizona with 14 points against Texas A&M, and a career-high 22 points against Louisiana Tech, and finished with 12 points against New Mexico. She posted 10 points and six assists against Utah on Saturday.  In her last four games, Whisonant is averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 assists a game.  On the season, Whisonant is averaging 12.1 points and a team-best 3.5 assists per game.


STAT STUFFER: Sophomore Amina Njonkou has been a monster with her play in the paint.  The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 9.5 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds a game.  She leads the team with 29 offensive rebounds, and is shooting 50.7 percent (38-75) from the field, and 76.0 (19-25) percent from the free throw line.  Njonkou recorded the first double-double of her career with career-highs (and game highs) of 17 points and 11 rebounds against Nicholls State, and has recorded five rebounds or more in nine of her 10 games.


BRING IT: Like every season, Arizona competes against some of the toughest competition in the nation.  This year will be no different.  The Wildcats will face a strong non-conference slate to go along with the always-difficult Pac-10 Conference season.  Arizona will play 20 games this season against 12 teams that participated in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.  The Wildcats will face defending national champion Maryland and NCAA Tournament teams George Washington and TCU in the first week of the season.  Arizona also hosts NC State, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico, and travels to Texas A&M and Utah.  After the brutal non-conference slate, Arizona must throw blows with its Pac-10 Conference foes, including Arizona State, California, Stanford, Washington, USC, and UCLA, all tournament teams from a year ago.


RANK THIS: Arizona's tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this year's preseason rankings.  In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN Preseason Top-25 Poll, nine of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the season.  Defending champs Maryland tops the list at No. 1 in the nation, followed by No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 21 California, No. 22 USC, No. 23 UCLA, and No. 25 Washington.  Additionally, five other Arizona opponents (George Washington, Utah, TCU, Louisiana Tech, and NC State) received double-digit votes in the poll.


This week, seven of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25.  So far this season, Arizona is 0-4 against ranked opposition.


CATS PICKED TO FINISH SEVENTH IN PAC-10: The University of Arizona women's basketball team was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conference's head coaches on Oct., 16.  The Wildcats garnered 32 points in the poll, as defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this year's Pac-10 title.


The Cardinal received nine of 10 first-place votes and 81 points, as Arizona State received the remaining first-place nod and tallied 70 points to place second. USC was tabbed to finish third with 63 points, followed by California and Washington with 53 points for a tie for the fourth-place slot. UCLA grabbed 46 points to place sixth, followed by Arizona (32), as Oregon (22), Washington State (16) and Oregon State (14) rounded out the poll. 


Arizona was also selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Media Poll released Nov. 7.


DECEMBER NUMBERS:  Arizona is 73-31 (.702) since 1991 under Joan Bonvicini in the month of December, including a 59-20 (.747) mark in the month since the start of the 1995-96 season.  The Wildcats have gone undefeated in the month of December three times, while losing just one game in the month three other times.  Arizona is 1-2 so far in the month of December.


UP NEXT: Arizona will host Fresno State on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.



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