COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (4-4) travels to Santa Barbara, Calif., for a 7 p.m. (PST) game at UC Santa Barbara (2-6) this Monday, Dec. 19.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Playing in what was supposed to be a homecoming for fallen star Shawntinice Polk, the Wildcats fell to 4-4 on the season with an 81-70 loss to Fresno State Saturday. Arizona shot 42 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 59 percent from the free throw line on the game. Fresno State, meanwhile, connected on 52 percent from the field, 36 percent from beyond the arc and 70 percent from the charity stripe. The Bulldogs also out-rebounded the Wildcats 39 to 34. Both teams committed 22 turnovers on the game. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant led Arizona with 14 points and five assists. Junior Joy Hollingsworth also had 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and five assists. Senior Natalie Jones added 13 points. Sophomore Ch?© Oh led the team with nine rebounds to go with eight points.
Jones leads the Wildcats this season, averaging 17.3 points. Hollingsworth adds 15.0 points and a team-best 6.0 rebounds, while Whisonant averages 14.9 points and 5.1 assists per game. Oh also averages 6.0 boards per game. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 41 percent from the field, compared to the 45 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 37.9 to 36.2.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Jessica Wilson’s driving layup at the end of regulation forced overtime and the UC Santa Barbara sophomore guard then scored 11 points in the extra period as the Gauchos upset 24th-ranked UCLA 90-81 Saturday. In the extra frame, UCSB outscored UCLA 16-7 to cruise to the win. Wilson buried 9-of-13 shots en route to a career-high 21-point performance, and also hauled down a personal-best 11 rebounds for her first double-double as a Gaucho. LaShay Fears’ 20 points also accounted for a career best and were matched by sophomore center Jenna Green. Senior forward Autumn Nichols contributed 10 points and seven boards to the victory. UCSB won the battle of the boards 42 to 36 and shot an even 50 percent.
On the season, the Gauchos are led by Green, who averages 16.9 points and 6.5 rebounds. As a team, UCSB is shooting 36 percent from the field on the season, compared to the 45 percent of its opponents. The Gauchos are also out-rebounded by their opponents 42.4 to 36.0.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona is 7-5 all-time vs. the Gauchos. The last time the two teams met, on Dec. 16, 2004, the Wildcats won 96-80 in Tucson. Arizona is 4-3 at home and 3-2 away vs. UC Santa Barbara.
INJURY UPDATE: Freshman Amina Njonkou has a stress fracture in her right foot and is out another three weeks.
WILDCAT TRIFECTA: Senior Natalie Jones, junior Joy Hollingsworth and sophomore Ashley Whisonant lead the Wildcats this season. The trio account for 66 percent of the team’s points. All three have reached double-digit scoring in each of the eight games.
ARIZONA WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE: In each of its eight games this season, Arizona has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its opponent. In fact, the Wildcats average 6.5 less turnovers than their opponents, each of which have committed 20 or more turnovers.
LACK OF SIZE EXPOSED: With the death of 6-5 Shawntinice Polk and the medical redshirt of 6-2 Shannon Hobson, Arizona was left without much size inside. As a result, the Wildcats have been out-rebounded in six of their eight games this season. The only two games in which Arizona pulled down more boards than its opponent were its first two games of the season against Loyola Marymount (42 to 36) and Furman (45 to 32). In the other six games, the Wildcats have managed just 33.8 rebounds to their opponents’ 38.8.
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 eight games at Arizona, the guard is averaging 15.0 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 14.9 points and 5.1 assists 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 and 3.0 steals 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 quintupled her minutes and points from a year ago. The guard from San Diego, who has started all eight games for the Wildcats this season, is averaging 4.8 points in 23.3 minutes per game. In 21 appearances last season, she averaged 0.9 points in 4.2 minutes per game.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones ranks sixth all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.768), sixth in three-point field goals attempted (297) and eighth in three-point field goals made (86).
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 were 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.
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.
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 opens Pac-10 play with a 7 p.m. game against instate rival No. 10/12 Arizona State next Thursday, Dec. 22, in McKale.