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Arizona Women Host Fiesta Bowl Classic
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/04/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (2-2) hosts the Mission Management & Trust Fiesta Bowl Classic this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3-4. The Wildcats face Lehigh (2-3) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in McKale Center. The other first-round game is Chicago State (4-1) vs. Tulane (2-0) at 1 p.m. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.

Viewing video requires a subscription to All-Access, Arizona's premium online multimedia service. Video webcasts will be available for all four Fiesta Bowl Classic games.

A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: A three-point attempt by sophomore Jessica Arnold as time wound down was blocked and the Wildcats fell 66-63 to No. 20 Utah last Saturday. Arizona shot 41 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free throw line, but connected on just 14 percent from downtown on the game. Utah shot 49 percent from the field, 50 percent from beyond the arc and 71 percent from the charity stripe. The Utes also out-rebounded the Wildcats 38 to 32. Senior Natalie Jones led Arizona with 17 points, followed by junior Joy Hollingsworth with 14. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant and junior Linda Pace finished with 10 points apiece. Sophomore Ch?© Oh led the Wildcats with 11 rebounds.

Hollingsworth leads the Wildcats this season, averaging 17.5 points and 5.5 rebounds. Jones adds 15.3 points, while Whisonant averages 14.8 points and 6.0 assists per game. Oh rounds out the group of double-figure scorers with 10.5 points to go along with 7.8 rebounds per game. As a team, Arizona is shooting 41 percent from the field and out-rebounding its opponents 39.0 to 38.0.

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:

Lehigh - Junior Sara Ellis buried a career-best eight three-pointers and tied a career high with 26 points as the Mountain Hawks snapped a two-game losing streak with a 64-45 win over Monmouth Monday. Lehigh nailed a season-best 12 three pointers and out-rebounded the Hawks 46 to 23 in the win. Junior Adrienne Blount added a double-double, finishing with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Emily Geosits added 11 points, while senior Jenny Callan grabbed 13 boards. Sophomore point guard Claire Sullivan finished with four points, six rebounds and a game-high eight assists.

On the season, the Mountain Hawks are led by Blount and Ellis, who average 14.6 and 14.4 points per game, respectively. Callan averages a team-high 9.8 boards to go with 12.2 points per game. As a team, Lehigh is shooting 41 percent from the field, 42 percent from three-point range and 73 percent from the free throw line this season.

Chicago State - The Cougars went on a 12-0 run early in the first half en route to a 68-50 win over Loyola on Tuesday. Chicago State scored 37 points off 31 Rambler turnovers. The Cougars shot 42 percent from the field and held Loyola to just 35 percent shooting. Chicago State also out-rebounded the Ramblers 41 to 36. Brandi-Janai Carter led the Cougars with 13 points, followed by Tina Hill with 10. Renada Blackburn led Chicago State with six rebounds.

On the season, the Cougars are led by Hill, who averages 11.6 points on 63 percent shooting. Blackburn adds 9.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. As a team, Chicago State is shooting 47 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 43.0 to 38.0.

Tulane - The Green Wave defeated UTEP 68-63 in both team’s conference opener last Friday in El Paso. Tulane was out-shot 42 percent to 37 percent on the game, but drained 28 free throws to UTEP’s 13 to win the game. For the second straight game, the Green Wave had four players in double-figure scoring, led by Jami Montagnino, who tied her career high with 14. Freshman guard Sasha Staidum tossed in 12, while sophomores Alendra Brown and Nikki Luckhurst each tallied 10. Luckhurst also recorded a career-high five steals to go with eight rebounds.

On the season, Tulane has five players average 10 or more points, led by Jennifer Sands, who averages 16.0 points and 8.5 rebounds. Staidum adds 12.5 points, while Kendra Barnes chips in 12.0. Montagnino and Luckhurst round out the group with averages of 11.5 and 10.5 points per game, respectively. As a team, Tulane is out-shooting its opponents 42 to 36 percent from the field and out-rebounding them 49.0 to 32.5.

SERIES SHORTS:

Lehigh - This is the first-ever meeting between Arizona and the Mountain Hawks.

Chicago State - Arizona is 1-0 all-time vs. the Cougars. The Wildcats defeated Chicago State 70-50 on Dec. 19, 2004, in Chicago, in the two teams’ only meeting.

Tulane - Should the Wildcats face the Green Wave on Sunday, it will be the first meeting between the two teams.

TOURNAMENT HISTORY: In the 14-year history of the Fiesta Bowl Classic, Arizona has won the tournament 10 times. Three times the Wildcats lost in the championship game, while in the 2001 tournament, Arizona failed to play in the championship game and actually lost the third-place game. Arizona has had 36 all-tournament team players, including 10 MVPs. Last year, senior Natalie Jones and sophomore Ashley Whisonant were both named to the all-tournament team.

INJURY UPDATE: Freshman Amina Njonkou has a stress fracture in her right foot and is out up to another four weeks.

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 four games at Arizona, the guard is averaging a team-best 17.5 points per game on 50 percent shooting.

THE DISH ABOUT WHISONANT: Sophomore point guard Ashley Whisonant, playing in a new position this season, is averaging 15.3 points, 6.0 assists and 2.5 steals per game. The Bowie, Md., native dished out a career-high 11 assists in Arizona’s win over Furman on Nov. 22. She has a 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio.

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 14.8 points per game for the Wildcats this season.

TROUBLE WITH THE THREE: Arizona is really struggling from three-point range this season. The Wildcats have made just 15-of-66 (23 percent) from downtown. Against Loyola Marymount and Utah, Arizona scored just two treys.

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 sixth all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.762), eighth in three-point field goals attempted (268), and ninth in three-point field goals made (76).

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)

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: The losers of the first-round games will square off at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in the consolation game. The winners of the first-round games will play for the tournament title in the championship game at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

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