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01-18-2008 California Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/18/2008
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Complete Release as a PDF

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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (6-11, 0-6 Pac-10) ends its season-long three game home stand by hosting No. 8 California (16-2, 7-0 Pac-10) on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.? The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Net.

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Catch the Action:

The game will also be televised live by Fox Sports net with Jim Watson and Mary Murphy calling the action from courtside.? Check your local listings for availability.

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As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Derrick Palmer and Shannon Hobson calling the action from courtside.? Please visit www.arizonaathletics.com for all of your live stats and live video needs.

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Gov. Napolitano to be a Guest Coach:

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano will serve as a guest coach for the University of Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team on Saturday against Cal.? 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.

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This is the fifth time Napolitano has served as a guest coach for the Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team.

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Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show:

Hosted by Wildcat radio announcer Derrick Palmer, the Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show is broadcast live from 6-7 p.m. every Monday on KTUC 1400 AM and is held at the Varsity Clubs of America, located at Speedway and Alvernon. The show features Bonvicini with several special guests, ranging from players to staff members.

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Stanford Recap:

Stanfordˇ?s Kayla Pedersen tied her season-high with 22 points, while Candice Wiggins had 12 of her 19 points in the second half to lead No. 7 Stanford to an 89-64 victory over Arizona on Thursday.

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Stanford (15-3, 5-2) won its 10th straight against Arizona as the Wildcats suffered their 22nd consecutive loss to a ranked team.

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The Cardinal also received 16 from Jayne Appel and 11 from JJ Hones.

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Ashley Whisonant led Arizona (6-11, 0-6) with 17 points. Tasha Dickey and Amina Njonkou scored 14 and 13 points, respectively.

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Arizona trimmed a 23-point lead to 74-60 on a three-pointer from Whisonant with 6:18 left before Appel and Pedersen had back-to-back buckets inside to secure the Cardinal win.

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Stanford made 10 of its initial 13 field goal attempts in the second half, culminating with a three-pointer from Hones to give the Cardinal a 68-46 advantage.

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Wiggins was the hottest Cardinal as she scored her 10th point following the halftime break on a driving lay-in with 12:31 remaining to give Stanford a 65-44 cushion.

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Pederson took care of Stanford inside by making 8 of 10 field goal attempts in the game, while also grabbing 9 rebounds.

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Pederson, who scored 14 points in the first half, converted a three-point play for a 63-42 lead with 13:12 left.? Wiggins scored eight points in the open six minutes, including a pair of three-pointers, and then a breakaway lay-up to give Stanford a 53-39 edge.

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Stanford built a 43-30 lead at halftime on an Appel lay-in at the buzzer as the Cardinal shot 56 percent from the field.? Pederson connected on a pair of free throws and a short jumper, while Hones hit a three-pointer during a seven-point run that put Stanford ahead 30-19 with 7:04 remaining.

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A Quick Look at Arizona:

Arizona averages 65.4 points a game while shooting 41.8 percent from the field, 25.1 percent from three-point range, and 65.1 percent from the free throw line. Senior Ashley Whisonant leads Arizona with 16.1 points a game (4th in the Pac-10) while posting 3.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game (3rd in the Pac-10).

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About the Golden Bears:

The No. 8 California Golden Bears enter Saturdayˇ?s game with a 16-2 overall record and a perfect 7-0 mark in the Pac-10.? Cal is 7-2 on the road so far this season and 3-0 on the road in Pac-10 games, and is riding a current eight-game winning streak.? As a team, Cal shoots 45.3 percent from the field, 36.3 percent from three-point range and 65.2 percent from the free throw line.? Junior Ashley Walker leads the team with 17 points and 9.8 rebounds a game, and Junior Devanei Hampton adds 13.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest.? ? Head coach Joanne Boyle is in her third season at the helm of the Golden Bear program.

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Series Notes:

Saturdayˇ?s game will be the 47th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Golden Bears on the hardwood, with Arizona owning a 29-17 all-time series advantage.? Cal swept the Wildcats last season by an average margin of 18.5 points.? Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 24-10 against Cal, including a 24-6 mark against the Golden Bears since the 1993 season.? Arizona had a 19-game winning streak against Cal from 1994-2005, but Cal has won four of the last five meetings.

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Streaky:

After beating New Mexico on the road in ˇ?The Pitˇ± (Dec. 15), the Wildcats had posted their fourth-straight win and were rolling with a 6-4 record.? Since that game, Arizona has lost its last seven-straight games, its longest losing streak since dropping nine-straight during the 2005-06 season.

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The Newest Wildcat:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team added walk-on Ashley Gilpin to its roster, head coach Joan Bonvicini announced Jan. 11.?

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Gilpin, a senior from Las Cruces, N.M., is a 5-foot-9 guard currently studying psychology at the UA.? She hails from Mayfield HS, the same high school current Wildcat Marie McGee attended, and where the two were teammates.

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vs. Ranked Teams:

No. 8 Cal heads Arizonaˇ?s way on Saturday for the Wildcatsˇ? third-straight game versus a ranked opponent.? Arizona dropped its games against No. 25 Arizona State (65-75) and No. 7 Stanford (64-89) in its last two outings. So far this season, Arizona is 0-3 against ranked teams, also losing to No. 20 Pitt (81-58). Over the last three seasons, the Wildcats are 0-22 against ranked opponents, going 0-12 against ranked teams last year.? Arizonaˇ?s last win against a ranked team was its 88-83 win over the Cardinal on Feb. 5, 2004.

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Welcome Home:

Arizona is finally back home in McKale Center, as it ends a season-long three game home stand this Saturday against Cal.? The Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season, playing nine of their first 15 games on the road.? With trips Oregon, Green Bay, Wis., Penn State, NC State, Long Beach, Calif., and New Mexico under their belts, the Wildcats have already racked up a grand total of 16,482 round trip miles (and it is only January).? Weˇ?ll keep you posted on when the Wildcats earn their free round trip to anywhere in the United States.

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Arizona Head Coach Joan Bonvicini (17th season):

The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 17 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 11 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history.

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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, 22 All-Pac-10 honorees, 17 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 18 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 283-214 (.570) mark at Arizona and is 608-285(.680) in 29 years as a head coach. On Feb. 8, 2007, Bonvicini became the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball history to reach the 600 win milestone with a 65-61 victory over Oregon State in McKale Center. She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances.

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Road Warriors:

With a wins against Long Beach State and New Mexico, the Wildcats managed to win two-straight road games for the first time since the 2004-05 season.? Arizona last won two-straight on the road in December of 2004 with wins at Chicago State and Washington.?

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Pit This:

Arizona went into New Mexicoˇ?s Pit and did something most visiting teams canˇ?t do: win.? The Wildcats snapped the Lobosˇ? 13-game home winning streak with their 44-36 win, as New Mexico was 7-0 on the season before Saturdayˇ?s game.

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Slow Starts:

Through 17 games, Arizona is getting outscored 589-482 by opponents in the first half, and is 3-10 when trailing at the half.? When leading at the half, Arizona is 3-1, as the Wildcats relinquished their first halftime lead at Oregon State (Jan. 3) after being up by 12 at halftime and leading by as many as 16 points in the second half.? In its last game, Arizona trailed Stanford 43-30 at halftime.

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Almost History:

Arizonaˇ?s 44-36 win over New Mexico came very close to some intriguing historical proportions.? Arizonaˇ?s 44 points in the win was the programˇ?s lowest point total in a victory since beating Utah, 46-36, on Jan. 17 1974.? Arizonaˇ?s school low for a point total in a win is 36 in a win (36-30) over Northern Arizona on Feb. 10, 1973.

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Toe That Line:

So far, the Wildcats have shown an ability as a team to get to the free throw line.? Arizona has made it to the line 335 times (19.7 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 65.1 percent (218-335) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting 71.1 percent (216-304) from the line against the Cats.

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Make Those Free Throws:

Free throw shooting has been a major factor in Arizonaˇ?s ability to win and lose games.? In the Wildcatsˇ? loss against USC (Dec. 28), Arizona shot 17-of-29 from the line (58.6 percent) against the Women of Troy, including a 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) mark in the second half.? Poor shooting from the line kept Arizona from making legitimate comeback attempt at the end of the game, as the Wildcats scored five-straight points in the final 22 seconds of the game to cut the deficit to seven points.? Against UCLA (Jan. 30), Arizona shot 19-of-29 from the line (65.5 percent) against the Bruins, including an 11-of-18 mark (61.1 percent).? Even though the 19 free throws were the second most for the Wildcats on the season, not being able to hit free throws in the second half prevented another comeback attempt, as Arizona cut the deficit to six points with 33 seconds to play in the game.

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Despite playing with six players, and with four players down the stretch, Arizona could have held off an Oregon State comeback (Jan. 3) had it hit its shots at the line.? The Wildcats shot a season-low 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the free throw line against the Beavers, including a 3-of-7 mark in the first half, and a 3-of-8 mark in overtime.

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Against Oregon (Jan. 5), the Wildcats erased a 16-point second half deficit and trailed 56-53 with 1:10 left to play, but shot 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the charity stripe.

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Itˇ?s an Improvement:

In its last two games, Arizona has been knocking down its shots at the free throw line, shooting 77.5 percent (31-40) over that span spearheaded by junior Amina Njonkouˇ?s 16-of-18 foul shooting.? Against Arizona State last Saturday, the Wildcats shot a solid 72.7 percent (16-22) from the free throw line.? Against Stanford on Thursday night, the Wildcats posted a 15-of-18 mark (83.3 percent), its Pac-10 season high.? Those numbers are a vast improvement from Arizonaˇ?s free throw shooting in the previous three games before that, as the Wildcats posted a 58.8 percent mark (57-of-97) from the free throw line over that span.

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Three-out of-Five:

Arizona played some pretty good defense against Arizona State last Saturday, but the Wildcats just couldnˇ?t seem to stop two Sun Devils, Sybil Dosty and Briann January.? Dosty and January combined for 32 points on a perfect 13-of-13 mark from the field on Saturday.? The rest of the Sun Devils combined to shoot 14-of-37 from the floor, or 37.9 percent, against Arizona.

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Against Stanford on Thursday night, the Wildcatsˇ? defense showed the same trend.? Arizona couldnˇ?t stop Kayla Pedersen and Jayne Appel, as the two combined for 38 points on 16-of-21 shooting from the field (76.2 percent).? The rest of the Cardinal combined to shoot 21-of-40, or 52.5 percent, against Arizona.

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What do you know about Pressure?:

Arizona can put on some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through 17 games, Arizona has forced 345 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 20.3 turnovers a game.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 149 steals so far on the season for an 8.6 steals per game average.? Arizona ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in the steals department, but finished with a season-low three steals against Stanford on Thursday night.

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Rejectmuch:

Last season, Arizona tallied 51 blocked shots the entire season.? This year, it is a different story.? The Wildcats surpassed last yearˇ?s total in 15 games with 53 blocks, and owns 58 blocks in 17 games.? Arizona currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in the blocks department behind Stanford.? A big reason for the complete 180 when it comes to blocks has to do with junior Beatrice Bofia and her 18 blocks shots so far this season.? Sophomore Marie McGee is second on the team with 10 blocked shots.? Arizona has posted four blocks or more in six games so far this season, including three of the last four contests.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through 17 games, the Wildcats have posted 585 points in the paint, which accounts for 52.6 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (1,112), and average 34.4 points per game down low.? In its last 10 games, Arizona has outscored the opposition 333-280 in the paint, but was outscored by Stanford in the paint 48-22 on Thursday night.

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Pac-10ˇ?s Best:

In Pac-10 play, a few Wildcats have been tearing it up.? Through six Pac-10 contests, senior Ashley Whisonant is averaging a league-best 18.8 points a game in 39.7 minutes of action.? Junior Amina Njonkou is third in rebounding with 8.2 rebounds a game in league play, and junior Beatrice Bofia leads with 1.8 blocks a game in Pac-10 play.

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant has been counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has flourished in that position.? So far, Whisonant has played at an All-Pac-10 level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists a game while snagging 1.8 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 37.5 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring average, third in assists per game, ninth in steals per game, and first in minutes per game.?

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Game of a Lifetime:

Ashley Whisonant showed why she is one of the best players in the Pac-10 last Thursday against the Beavers.? Whisonant led a team of just six players with a career-high 34 points in 48 minutes of action.? Her 34 points is the fourth-best mark in school history, one point shy of the all-time school record (35 points).? She tied a school record with 15 field goal attempts, and set a new school record with 29 field goal attempts.?

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All-Time Scorer:?

Ashley Whisonant scored her 1,000th career point in the final game of the season last year, and look for her to climb up the Arizona all-time point leader list this season.? So far this season, Whisonant has moved up seven spots on the all-time Arizona scorers list, and currently ranks seventh all-time with 1,277 career points in 110 games (11.6 career ppg average).? She needs 22 more points to tie Dana Patterson (1985-88, 1,299 points) for sixth all-time.?

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On Fire:

So far this season, Whisonant has posted double-figures in points in 14 of 17 games, including the last five-straight as she has been on an absolute tear as of late.? In her last five games, Whisonant is averaging 21 points a game.? Against Stanford on Thursday, Whisonant finished with a team-high 17 points to go with four assists in all 40 minutes of action.

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Ms. 100:

Senior Ashley Whisonant has been a constant in the Arizona lineup ever since her freshman season, and she is on pace to be one of Arizonaˇ?s all-time leaders in games played.? She played in her 100th career game against NAU (Dec. 6), and is on pace to finish her career with 123 games played, a figure that will rank No. 3 all-time in school history.

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Looking For a Dime:

With each dime Ashley Whisonant dishes out, she is moving to the top of the line on Arizonaˇ?s all-time career assists list.? With 342 career assists, Whisonant is now the No. 10 assists disher in Arizona history.? She needs 6 more to tie Aimee Grzyb (2001-04, 348 assists) for No. 9 all-time.

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Amina the Bull:

Junior forward Amina Njonkou is a force down low in the paint, and her strength allows her to bull over defenders.? The 6-foot-1 Cameroon native has posted double-figures in points in the last 11-straight games including double-doubles in the last five of the last eight games.? Over the last 11 contests, Njonkou is averaging 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds a game over that span.? In the last eight games, Njonkou is posting 16.5 points and 8.9 rebounds a game.?

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Against ASU, Njonkou finished with a career-best 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and a 9-of-11 mark from the free throw line to go with five boards.? Against Stanford, she posted 13 points but finished with just two rebounds.

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On the season, Njonkou is posting 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds a game while shooting 48.1 percent (76-158) from the field, the eighth-best mark in the Pac-10.? In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 16.7 points and 8.2 rebounds a game, and is shooting a team-best 77.6 percent (38-49) from the free throw line.

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Double-Double Machine:

Before her 17 point and nine rebound performance against Oregon State (Jan. 3), Amina Njonkou had posted double-doubles four straight games, putting her in some very exclusive company in the Arizona history books.? Njonkou became the first player to record four-straight double-doubles since Shawntinice Polk posted five-straight double-doubles during the 2003-04 season (Feb. 7-19).? Njonkou has seven double-doubles so far on the season after finishing with 11 points and 10 boards against Oregon on Jan. 5.

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Ms. Wildcat:

Freshman Tasha Dickey, simply put, was born to be a Wildcat.? The daughter of two former Arizona athletes, Dickey has shown her tremendous athletic ability on the court.? On the season, she is averaging 7.6 points and 1.9 rebounds a game in 23.2 minutes of action.? Dickey is also second on the squad with 25 steals.? Against Stanford, Dickey finished with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including a team-best 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range.? In Pac-10 play, Dickey posts 9.5 points a game.

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Stepping Up her Game:

Sophomore Marie McGee is playing a more vital role in the Arizona lineup this season, as the Las Cruces, N.M., native has broken into the starting lineup.? On the season, McGee is averaging 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds a game in 22.9 minutes of action per contest.? However, in her last two games, McGee has struggled from the field offensively, shooting a combined 0-of-5 over that span, while being held scoreless despite averaging 24 minutes a game.

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Queen B:

Junior Beatrice Bofia earned her first career start against Oregon State and she responded with a career night.? The 6-foot-7 center finished with her second double-double with career-highs of 10 points, 18 rebounds and five blocked shots in 45 minutes of action.? Her 18 rebounds were the fourth-most in school history, and her five blocks is the highest total for a Wildcat since 2004.? She followed that up with a career-high 11 points to go with eight rebounds and four blocks against Oregon.? Against Stanford, Bofia finished with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and five rebounds in just 18 minutes of action.? In Pac-10 play, Bofia is averaging 5.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and a Pac-10 best 1.8 blocks per game.

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Cats Picked To Finish Eighth in the Pac-10:

The University of Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team was selected to finish eighth in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conferenceˇ?s head coaches.? The Wildcats garnered 31 points in the poll, as seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this yearˇ?s Pac-10 title.

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The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes and 79 points, as Arizona State received a first-place nod and tallied 71 points to place second. California was tabbed to finish third with a first-place vote and 68 points, followed by fourth-place USC with 56 points and fifth-place UCLA with 44 points. Washington grabbed 41 points to place sixth, followed by Oregon (34), as Arizona (31), Oregon State (16) and Washington State (10) rounded out the poll.

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Tough Schedule:

Year in and year out, Arizona never runs away from a challenge, but rather takes on the best teams in the nation head on during the nonconference schedule before playing in the always daunting Pac-10 Conference.

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The Wildcats will play 29 games during 2007-08, 13 games in McKale Center and 16 on the road, with 14 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.

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The UA will take on 10 teams that competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, with non-conference matchups against Middle Tennessee State, Pittsburgh, Boise State, New Mexico, NC State, and UW-Green Bay, along with Pac-10 series against California, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State.

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Rank This:

Arizonaˇ?s tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this yearˇ?s preseason rankings.? In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN and AP Preseason poll, five of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the regular season.? Arizona will face No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 California, No. 21 Pittsburgh and No. 25 NC State.? Additionally, six other Arizona opponents (Middle Tennessee, USC, New Mexico, UCLA, Boise State and Wisconsin-Green Bay) each received votes in the poll.

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Up Next:

Arizona will hit the road and travel to Washington State for a game against the Cougars in Pullman, Wash., on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.

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