COMING UP:The Arizona women’s basketball team (4-3) travels to Fresno, Calif., for a 1 p.m. (PST) game at Fresno State (5-2) this Saturday, Dec. 17. Live stats of the game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS:Senior Natalie Jones scored a career-high 29 points, but the Wildcats fell 92-67 at No. 8/9 Maryland last Sunday. Arizona shot 35 percent from the field, 36 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free throw line on the game. Maryland, meanwhile, was on fire, connecting on 62 percent from the field, 63 percent from beyond the arc and 89 percent from the charity stripe. The Terps also out-rebounded the Wildcats 39 to 28. The only stat category Arizona won was turnovers, as the Wildcats forced 24 by Maryland while committing 18. Jones also added five rebounds, four assists and five steals. Junior Joy Hollingsworth chipped in 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant, playing in her home state, finished with 11 points in just 21 minutes.
Jones leads the Wildcats this season, averaging 17.9 points. Hollingsworth adds 15.1 points and a team-best 5.7 rebounds, while Whisonant averages 15.0 points and 5.1 assists per game. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 41 percent from the field, compared to the 44 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 37.7 to 36.6.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:Fresno State (5-2), which hosts No. 10/12 Arizona State Thursday, defeated UC Riverside 67-50 last Saturday. The Bulldogs shot 41 percent from the field on the game and held UC Riverside to just 30 percent shooting. Fresno State also out-rebounded UC Riverside 44 to 34. Senior Amy Parrish notched her second double-double of the year with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Brittani Green and Erica Henry matched career-high totals with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
On the season, the Bulldogs are led by Parrish, who averages 14.9 points and 10.1 rebounds. Chantella Perera adds 13.7 points. As a team, Fresno State is shooting 43 percent from the field on the season, compared to the 37 percent of its opponents. The Bulldogs also out-rebound their opponents 47.9 to 34.1.
SERIES SHORTS:Arizona is 1-1 all-time vs. the Bulldogs, with both games having been played in Tucson. The last time the two teams met, on Dec. 10, 2000, the Wildcats won 92-55.
INJURY UPDATE:Freshman Amina Njonkou has a stress fracture in her right foot and is out at least another week.
HOLLINGSWORTH A JOY IN GAMES AS A WILDCAT:After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, junior Joy Hollingsworth finally made her debut as a Wildcat in the team’s season-opening win over Loyola Marymount. In her seven games at Arizona, the guard is averaging 15.1 points per game on 46 percent shooting and has been named to the Great Alaska Shootout and Fiesta Bowl Classic all-tournament teams.
THE DISH ABOUT WHISONANT:Sophomore point guard Ashley Whisonant, playing in a new position this season, is averaging 15.0 points, 5.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game. The Bowie, Md., native dished out a career-high 11 assists in Arizona’s win over Furman on Nov. 22 and tied her career high of 21 points against Lehigh on Dec. 4. She has also been named to both all-tournament teams in which Arizona has participated.
JONES SCORES 750TH CAREER POINT:Senior Natalie Jones scored her 750th career point in Arizona’s win over Furman on Nov. 22 in her hometown of Anchorage. The senior is averaging 17.9 points per game for the Wildcats this season, including a career-high 29 at Maryland (Dec. 11). She has also been named to the Great Alaska Shootout and Fiesta Bowl Classic all-tournament teams.
PACE SETTING A NEW PACE:Junior Linda Pace has more than quadrupled her minutes and points from a year ago. The guard from San Diego, who has started all seven games for the Wildcats this season, is averaging 4.3 points in 22.1 minutes per game. In 21 appearances last season, she averaged 0.9 points in 4.2 minutes per game.
WILDCAT TRIFECTA:Senior Natalie Jones, junior Joy Hollingsworth and sophomore Ashley Whisonant lead the Wildcats this season. The trio account for 67 percent of the team’s points. All three have reached double-digit scoring in each of the seven games.
ARIZONA WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE:In each of its seven games this season, Arizona has committed fewer turnovers than its opponent. In fact, the Wildcats average 7.4 less turnovers than its opponents.
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) were 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 tied for third all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.772), tied for sixth in three-point field goals attempted (288) and tied for eighth in three-point field goals made (83).
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO:All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in 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 four more games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Saturday, Dec. 31 - 4 p.m. vs. Washington (FSN Northwest, tape delayed on FSN Arizona)
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 Santa Barbara, Calif., for a 7 p.m. (PST) game next Monday, Dec. 19, at UC Santa Barbara.