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Women's Basketball Hosts UCLA on Saturday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/19/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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COMING UP: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (7-13, 1-7 Pac-10) looks for a win against the UCLA Bruins (9-11, 3-5 Pac-10) in the second of four-straight home games on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 12 p.m. (noon) in McKale Center.  The Arizona vs. UCLA matchup will be televised live on Fox Sports Net.

 

CATCH THE ACTION: Saturday’s game will be televised live by Fox Sports Net with Mary Murphy and Tracy Warren calling the action from courtside.

 

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: arizonaathletics.com.

 

GOVERNOR NAPOLITANO TO BE GUEST COACH: Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano will serve as a guest coach for the University of Arizona women’s basketball team on Saturday for the Wildcats’ game against the UCLA Bruins.  Napolitano will sit with the Wildcats on the team bench during the game, and will join the team during timeout huddles.  She will also attend team meetings at halftime and after the game in the Arizona locker room.

 

This is the fourth time Napolitano has served as a guest coach for the Arizona women’s basketball team.

 

USC RECAP: USC overcame an 11-point second half deficit using a 15-4 scoring run in the final 4:23 to pull away for a 77-68 win over Arizona on Thursday night in McKale Center. 

 

Arizona shot 40.7 percent (24-59) from the field in the game, including a 20.0 percent (4-20) mark from three point range, and finished with a 16-of-21 mark (76.2 percent) from the free throw line.  USC shot 41.0 percent (25-61) from the field, 32.0 percent (8-25) from behind the arc, and 73.1 percent (19-26) from the charity stripe.

 

Individually for Arizona, senior Joy Hollingsworth led four players in double-figures with 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field, to go with five rebounds and three steals.  Sophomore Amina Njonkou posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.  Junior Jessica Arnold added 11 points, and junior Ashley Whisonant finished with 10 points and six assists.

 

USC senior guard Shay Murphy posted a double-double with 30 points and 10 rebounds, 25 points coming in the second half, as she shot 6-of-17 from the field, but 14-of-15 from the free throw line in the second half alone.  Murphy scored 13 of USC’s final 15 points in the game.  Senior guard Jamie Hagiya added 14 points and four assists.

 

After trailing 7-5 at the 16:55 mark in the first half, the Wildcats put together a 10-0 scoring run over the next 3:54 to take a 15-7 lead on a three-point play by freshman Rhaya Neabors.  Arizona held USC scoreless for 6:27 in the first half, until a three by Hagiya cut the UA lead to 16-10 at the 10:28 mark.

 

USC responded with a 14-2 run to take a 21-17 lead at the 6:15 mark.  Arizona countered with a 9-1 run to end the half, capped by a Njonkou jumper as time expired, and went into halftime up 34-26.  Arizona shot 38.7 percent (12-31) from the field in the first half, while holding USC to a 34.5 percent mark (10-29).

 

Arizona opened up a 42-31 lead in the second half with 16:26 left in the game on a three-point play by Arnold.  USC then came back with 16-5 run over the next 4:04 to tie the game at 47-47, and went up 57-51 with 9:32 left to play.  Arizona scored seven-straight points for a 58-57 lead on a three by Hollingsworth at the 8:13 mark.

 

The Wildcats led USC 64-62 with 4:53 left in the game before Murphy went on a tear scoring 13 of USC’s final 15 points in the game, sparking a 15-4 Trojan run to end the game.

 

UA shot 42.9 percent (12-28) from the field in the second half, as USC shot 46.9 percent (15-32).

 

A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 64.1 points a game while shooting 40.1 percent (489-1218) from the field, 25.8 percent (81-314) from three-point range, and 67.0 percent (223-333) from the free throw line.  The Wildcats have also tallied 189 steals (9.5 spg), third-best in the Pac-10, off of 401 opponent turnovers.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 16.2 points a game (6th in the Pac-10) while posting 6.0 rebounds, and 2.4 steals per game (2nd in the Pac-10).

 

ABOUT THE BRUINS: The UCLA Bruins enter Saturday’s game with a 9-11 overall record, a 3-5 mark in the Pac-10, while losing its last two contests.  UCLA lost at Arizona State on Thursday, 92-52, and is 4-4 on the road so far this season.  As a team, the Bruins shoot 42.7 percent (511-1198) from the field, 35.2 percent (80-227) from three point range, and 67.3 percent (264-392) from the free throw line, while averaging 68.3 points a game.  Individually for UCLA, senior Noelle Quinn leads the team with 16.5 points (fifth in the Pac-10) and 6.4 rebounds a game, and junior forward Lindsey Pluimer adds 15.8 points and 6.2 rebounds a game.  Head coach Kathy Olivier is in her 14th season at the helm of the Bruin program.

 

THE UCLA-ARIZONA SERIES: Saturday’s game will be the 57th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Bruins on the hardwood, with UCLA owning a 38-18 all-time series advantage.  UCLA swept the two-game series last year, including a 90-64 win in McKale Center.  Arizona has won seven of the last 11 matchups in the series, including five of the last six against the Bruins at home.  Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats are 16-14 against UCLA.

 

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 273-195 (.583) mark at Arizona and is 598-266 (.692) in 27 years as a head coach, needing just three 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 two wins shy of 600 in her career. With two more wins, she will become the 18th coach in NCAA history to accomplish the 600 win plateau.

 

DO WE PLAY HERE?: Arizona will finally enjoy the comforts of playing at home in McKale Center, as the Wildcats opened a season long four-game home stand on Thursday against USC.  Arizona played 11 of its first 19 games away from McKale Center, including five of its first seven Pac-10 games on the road.

 

TOUGH BEATS: Arizona has lost 13 games on the season, but its beats have come against some of the top teams in the nation.  Entering Saturday's game against UCLA, Arizona's 13 losses have been against teams with a combined record of 167-64 (.722), with seven of those losses being to ranked teams.

 

According to collegerpi.com, Arizona's schedule is ranked as the 11th-toughest in the nation.

 

HOME AGAINST THE PAC: Arizona has been very successful at home in McKale Center, especially during Pac-10 Conference play.  Since the 1995-96 season, Arizona is 75-27 (.735) against Pac-10 teams at home, including a 65-21 mark (.756) since the 1997-98 season.  The Wildcats once owned a 20-game winning streak against the Pac-10 at home, which included two undefeated (9-0) seasons in 2003 and 2004.  The Wildcats went 2-7 at home against Pac-10 teams last season, and are 1-2 at home so far this season.

 

GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 6-4 this season when leading at halftime. However, the Wildcats are 1-3 in the last four games when leading at the half.  Against USC on Thursday, the Wildcats owned a 34-26 halftime lead, but were outscored 51-34 in the second half to hand the Women of Troy a 77-68 win.

 

CARDIAC CATS: So far this season, the Wildcats have succeeded in the close ball games.  Arizona is 4-1 in games decided by five points or less.  The Wildcats have notched two overtime wins decided by three points or less, a road win by four points, and a thrilling 59-57 win over Washington State.

 

MAGIC NUMBER: So far this season, Arizona is 4-1 when scoring 70 points or more in a game, including a season-high 83 points scored in its season-opening win against Nicholls State.  All-time, Arizona is 176-21 (.893) when scoring 80 points or more, as the Wildcats are 129-14 (.902) under head coach Joan Bonvicini when reaching the 80 point plateau.  Arizona is 1-9 this season when posting 60-69 points in a game.

 

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: 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

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: 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

 

WATCH YOUR POCKETS: The Wildcats have excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this season.  Arizona has tallied 189 steals (9.5 spg) on the year, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has forced 401 opponent turnovers, converting 351 points (17.6 ppg) off of turnovers.  The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in 10 games this season, including nine steals against USC on Thursday.  The Wildcats also tallied 28 points off of 20 USC turnovers in the game.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.4 spg, the second-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 270 offensive rebounds, leading to 246 second-chance points.  Arizona is averaging 13.5 offensive rebounds and 12.3 second-chance points a game, and has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 16 of 20 games.  Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds the last five consecutive games, and eight of the last nine games, including 12 against USC on Thursday.

 

BIG POINTS: Arizona went the first 12 games of the season without giving up 80 points to an opponent.  In the last seven games, the Wildcats have given up 80 or more points four times, including 86 points to Oregon last Thursday.  Arizona is 0-4 when giving up 80 points or more, and 0-6 when allowing 70 points or more in a game to the opposition.  Arizona gave up 77 to USC on Thursday.

 

LOOKING FOR DIMES: The Wildcats have been moving the ball around on offense the last two games, and it shows in the stat column.  Arizona posted a season-high 21 assists against Oregon State last Saturday, and followed that performance up with 15 assists against USC on Thursday.  The UA mark of 36 dimes in a two-game span is a season-best.

 

PAC-10 PRODUCTIVITY: Through eight Pac-10 games, Arizona has four players averaging double-figures in scoring during conference play.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads the way at 16.1 points a game, followed by junior Ashley Whisonant with 10.6 ppg, junior Jessica Arnold at 10.4 ppg, and sophomore Amina Njonkou with 10.1 ppg.

 

BALANCED SCORING: Arizona had four players score in double-figures on Thursday against USC.  It was the first time in 11 games four Wildcats scored in double-figures, and the third such occasion this season.

 

GETTING TO THE LINE: The Wildcats have been very successful at getting to the free throw line in the last five games, making 106 attempts (21.2 FTA per game average) in that span compared to a mark of 87 attempts by the opposition.  Arizona is shooting 69.8 percent (74-106) in the last five games, reaching the charity stripe 21 times or more in four of the last five contests.  On the season, the Wildcats are shooting 67.0 percent (223-333) from the line.

 

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR: In Arizona's last four losses, the Wildcats have played tough in the second half only to see the game go into the hands of the opposition.  Against Washington on Jan. 4, the Wildcats used a 13-3 run to cut the Husky lead to 60-54 with 8:12 left in the game, only to be outscored 23-12 the rest of the way.  Against Oregon on Jan. 11, Arizona cut the Oregon lead to 58-53 14:24 left to play, but gave up a 13-1 run to the Ducks over the next 5:54 that put the game out of reach.  At Oregon State on Saturday, Arizona trimmed the OSU lead to 39-35 at the 14:54 mark in the second half, but gave up six-straight points to give the Beavers a 45-35 lead, enough of a cushion to last down the stretch for the OSU win.

 

Against USC on Thursday, the Wildcats owned a 42-31 lead in the second half with 16:26 left in the game, only to give up a 16-5 run and a 15-4 run to the Women of Troy for the USC win.

 

GIVE HER THE ROCK: Joy Hollingsworth has been on a tear offensively as of late, posting 17 or more points in each of her last five games.  In her last five outings, Hollingsworth is averaging 21. 6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 2.4 steals a game.

 

The Seattle native is averaging a team-best 16.2 points a game (6th in the Pac-10), as she has scored 22 points or more on six different occasions.  She is also averaging 6.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals a game (second in the Pac-10), and has posted double-figure point totals in 17 out of 20 games this season.  Hollingsworth is shooting 39.8 percent from the field (117-294), and averages 14 shots from the field a game. 

 

ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant serves as the Wildcats’ floor general, and she has picked up her game running the Arizona offense.  Last Saturday against Oregon State she dished out a career-high tying 11 assists against the Beavers.  She last recorded 11 assists as a sophomore against Furman on Nov. 22, 2005.  Against USC on Thursday, the Bowie, Md., native passed out six assists to go with 10 points.  The 17 assists is her highest total of the season in a two-game span.

 

On the season, Whisonant is averaging 11.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game, including marks of 10.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in Pac-10 play.

 

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 9.8 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds a game.  She leads the team with 64 offensive rebounds (second in the Pac-10), and is shooting 47.7 percent (73-153) from the field. 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 on Thursday, Njonkou posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high four assists.  So far this season, she has recorded five rebounds or more in 18 of her 20 games.  In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 10.1 points and 7.4 rebounds a game.

 

STEPPING UP: Junior Jessica Arnold has been on target from the field as of late, as she is averaging 14.7 points a game in her last three outings.  Against Oregon last Thursday, Arnold poured in 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, while taking just one shot from three point range.  Arnold drove to the basket more than usual on the Ducks, getting to the line a season-high seven times to hit a season-best five free throws, to go with two rebounds, three assists and a season-high two steals.  Against Oregon State on Saturday, Arnold scored 16 points, shooting 4-of-9 from three-point range, and converting on 4-of-5 free throw attempts.  Arnold finished with 11 points against USC on Thursday. 

 

In Pac-10 play, Arnold is averaging 10.4 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, seven of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25.  So far this season, Arizona is 0-7 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.

 

UP NEXT: Arizona host Stanford on Thursday, Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

 

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