Coming Up: The University of Arizona women’s basketball team (8-16, 2-10 Pac-10) travels to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies (13-10, 6-6 Pac-10) on Saturday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m. (PST). The Wildcats will look to give head coach Joan Bonvicini her 600th career win, as she will become the 18th coach in NCAA history to accomplish that feat.
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.
Washington State Recap: Junior guard Jessica Arnold hit two free throws with 8.9 seconds left in the game to lift Arizona to a 55-51 win over Washington State on Thursday night at Beasley Coliseum. The win ends a six-game losing streak for the Wildcats, and gives head coach Joan Bonvicini 599 victories in her career, as she stands just one win shy of becoming the 18th coach in NCAA history to reach the 600 win milestone.
Arizona shot a season-low 28.6 percent (18-63) from the field, but out-rebounded WSU 42-33, including 21 offensive boards. The Wildcats also shot 38.1 percent (8-21) from three point range, 73.3 percent (11-15) from the free throw line, and finished with eight steals and 13 assists.
Individually for Arizona, senior Joy Hollingsworth led the way with a game-high 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting, including a career high five three pointers on 10 attempts. Arnold added 13 points, and junior Shannon Hobson added eight points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Amina Njonkou finished with nine points and six rebounds.
Marisa Stotler led Washington State with 16 points.
Arizona started the game off strong, jumping out to a 12-6 lead over the Cougars at the 13:41 mark in the first half. Washington State responded with a 7-0 scoring run over three minutes to take a 13-12 lead. The Wildcats went scoreless for a stretch of seven minutes until a three by Hollingsworth gave Arizona a 16-15 lead at the 6:48 mark. Arizona extended its lead to 26-19 with 1:26 left in the first, but WSU closed the half out with five straight points and trailed 26-24 at halftime. Arizona shot 29.6 percent (8-27) from the field in the first.
The second half was very close, as the Cougs and Cats traded leads until the final minute. Arizona trailed 46-43 with 5:41 left, but a three by Hollingsworth tied the game up at 46-46 with 5:15 left. With the game tied up at 51-51, Njonkou hit a layup with 1:07 left in the game to put Arizona up 53-51. Arnold sealed the win with two free throws down the stretch to give Arizona its first win in seven games.
Arizona will next travel to Washington on Saturday, Feb. 3, for a 1 p.m. matchup with Huskies in Bank of America Arena.
A Quick Look at Arizona: Arizona averages 64.6 points a game while shooting 39.5 percent (583-1477) from the field, 27.1 percent (109-402) from three point range, and 68.6 percent (275-401) from the free throw line. The Wildcats have tallied 217 steals (9.1 spg), third-best in the Pac-10, off of 466 opponent turnovers. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 16.2 points a game (7th in the Pac-10) while posting 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game (third in the Pac-10).
About the Huskies: The University of Washington Huskies enter Saturday’s game with a 13-10 overall record, and a 6-6 mark in the Pac-10. UW has lost three straight games, and six of its last seven games since beating Arizona, 83-66, on Jan. 4 in McKale Center. The Huskies are 9-3 at home so far this season. Senior guard Cameo Hicks leads UW with 17.3 points and 5.4 rebounds a game. Head coach June Daugherty is in her 11th year at the helm of the UW program.
The Washington-Arizona Series: Saturday’s game will be the 44th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Huskies on the hardwood, with Washington owning a 28-15 all-time series advantage. Arizona has lost the last four games in the series, winning six-straight before that span. The Huskies beat the Wildcats 83-66 on Jan. 4 in McKale Center. Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 15-20 against UW, including an 11-8 mark against the Huskies since 1999.
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 274-198 (.579) mark at Arizona and is 599-269 (.690) in 27 years as a head coach, needing just ONE wins to become the 18th 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.
Win #600: As mentioned above, head coach Joan Bonvicini stands just ONE win shy of 600 in her career. With a win on Saturday, she will become the 18th coach in NCAA history to accomplish the 600-win plateau.
Get Ahead, Stay Ahead: Arizona is 7-4 this season when leading at halftime. However, the Wildcats were 1-3 when leading at the half before beating Washington State on Thursday after leading the Cougars 26-24 at halftime. Arizona is 1-12 when trailing at the half, with its only come-from-behind win coming against Washington State at home.
Cardiac Cats: So far this season, the Wildcats have succeeded in the close ball games. Arizona is 5-2 in games decided by five points or less. The Wildcats topped the Cougars on Thursday with a four-point victory (55-51).
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
18 points: 23-5 run over the first 12:38 of the second half vs. Long Beach State
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
14 points: 15-1 run over 3:57 in the second half vs. Long Beach State
12 points: 16-4 run over 5:16 in the second half vs. Stanford
12 points: 17-5 run over 3:30 in the second half vs. UCLA
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
11 points: 14-3 run over 9:20 to start the second half vs. Washington State
10 points: 17-7 run over 6:24 in the first half vs. New Mexico
10 points: 13-3 run over 4:24 in the second half vs. Washington
10 points: 10-0 run over 1:47 in the second half vs. GW
10 points: 10-0 run over 3:54 in the first half vs. USC
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
20 points: 26-6 run at Arizona State over 9:26 to start the first half
19 points: 27-8 run to Stanford over 7:41 in the first half
16 points: 16-0 run to California over 7:45 in the first half
16 points: 21-5 run to UTEP in the final 3:37 of the game
14 points: 17-3 run at Oregon over 4:28 in the first half
13 points: 13-0 run to Fresno State in the final 4:33 of the game
13 points: 16-3 run to Louisiana Tech over 5:29 in the first half
12 points: 14-2 run to USC over 7:14 in the first half
12 points: 13-1 run at Oregon over 5:54 in the second half.
12 points: 16-4 run to New Mexico over 5:21 to start the first half
12 points: 15-3 run to Washington State over 4:51 in the first half
11 points: 11-0 run to California over 3:06 in the first half
11 points: 16-5 run to USC over 4:04 in the second half
11 points: 15-4 run to USC in the final 4:23 of the game
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
10 points: 10-0 run to UCLA over the final 2:34 of the first half
Watch Your Pockets: The Wildcats have excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this season. Arizona has tallied 217 steals (9.1 spg) on the year, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has forced 466 opponent turnovers. The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in 11 games this season, and finished with eight steals on Thursday at WSU. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.3 spg, the third-best mark in the Pac-10.
Offensive Boards: So far this season, the Wildcats have done a solid job on the offensive glass. On the year, the Wildcats have grabbed 321 offensive rebounds. Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 19 of 24 games this season. Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in eight of the last nine games, and 11 of the last 13 games, finishing with 21 offensive boards at Washington State, the second-highest total this season.
Glass Work: Arizona out-rebounded Washington State 42-33 on Thursday night. Out-rebounding the opposition leads to good things for the Wildcats, as Arizona owns a 5-3 record this season when owning the rebound advantage.
Handles: Arizona did a magnificent job taking care of the ball on the offensive end on Thursday night against the Cougars. The Wildcats finished the game with a season-low 10 turnovers.
Looking for a Dime: Of Arizona’s 18 field goals on Thursday against WSU, 13 were by way of assists, good for 72.2 percent of the offensive production. On the season, Arizona has finished with double-figures in assists in 22 of 24 games.
Sea-Town’s Finest: Arizona might be on the road, but expect the Wildcats to have its own fan section in Saturday’s game at Washington. Senior Joy Hollingsworth, and sophomores Kelsey Burns and Malia O’Neal each calls Seattle their hometown.
Give Her the Rock: Senior Joy Hollingsworth was due to have a good game on Thursday against the Cougars. She was coming off a performance against California in the previous game in which she scored eight points on 2-of-18 shooting (11.1 percent) including a 0-of-8 mark from three point range. She rebounded from that with a 20 point outburst against WSU on 7-of-16 shooting from the field with a career-best five three point field goals. The last time she had an “off” performance was at California on Dec. 30 when she finished with five points on 2-of-14 shooting including a 0-of-6 mark from behind the arc. She responded in the next game by scoring a career-high 31 points against Washington on 10-of-24 shooting from the field.
On the season, Hollingsworth leads the team with 16.2 points a game.
Love Them DAWGS: Joy Hollingsworth might take extra enjoyment in playing the Huskies on Saturday. Not only will she be playing before a hometown crowd, she will also try to duplicate the career-high performance she had against UW in her first game this season against the Huskies. On Jan. 4 against UW in Tucson, Hollingsworth went off for a career-high 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting.
Ms. Consistency: Sophomore Amina Njonkou has been a monster with her play in the paint this season, as she has become one of Arizona's most consistent players. The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 9.6 points and a team-best 7.1 rebounds a game. She leads the team with 78 offensive rebounds (tops in the Pac-10), and is shooting 47.2 percent (85-180) from the field. She is the only Wildcat this season to post a double-double, as she leads the team with four, including two in her last four games. Against Fresno State, Njonkou finished with 15 points and a career-best 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Njonkou recorded the first double-double of her career with a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds against Nicholls State.
Against USC, Njonkou posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high four assists. Against Stanford last Thursday, Njonkou finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists. So far this season, she has recorded five rebounds or more in 22 of her 24 games. She finished nine points and six rebounds against Washington State.
Heating Up: Junior Jessica Arnold is starting to provide quite the offensive threat on the perimeter for the Wildcats. In her last seven games, Arnold is averaging 13.4 points a game, while shooting 23-of-27 from the free throw line (85.2 percent). Her two free throws at the end of the game Thursday sealed the win for Arizona. She has scored in double-figures in six of her last seven games, including a team-high 19 point performance against Cal on Saturday, on 7-of-14 shooting from the field to go with a career-high four steals. She posted 13 points and four assists against Washington State on Thursday. In Pac-10 play, Arnold is averaging 11.1 points a game.
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, six of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25. So far this season, Arizona is 0-9 against ranked opposition.
Cats Picked to Finish Seventh in the 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.
Up Next: Arizona will return home to host Oregon State on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.