What a difference a few months make. In November, the Pac-10 was"/> 20070108 Courtside Conversations ? Jan. 8, 2007 - The University of Arizona Official Athletic Site What a difference a few months make. In November, the Pac-10 was">
 
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20070108 Courtside Conversations ? Jan. 8, 2007
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/08/2007
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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">What a difference a few months make.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>In November, the Pac-10 was touting its women&rsquo;s basketball teams as some of the best in the nation.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It had good reason to be optimistic.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Five teams were ranked in the pre-season coaches&rsquo; poll and a resurgent <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">California</st1:place></st1:State> team was going to contend for a conference title.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Things haven&rsquo;t worked out that way.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Now, the teams are nearly a third of the way through the conference season and losses, not wins, seem to be the norm.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>There is only one undefeated team (Stanford at 5-0) and three losses are good enough to get you fourth place.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><st1:State w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Washington</SPAN></st1:State><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"> and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Arizona</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> each have one loss and the top three teams seem to be in a league of their own.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>USC, UCLA, <st1:State w:st="on">Cal</st1:State>, <st1:State w:st="on">Oregon</st1:State>, and <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Oregon</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType> already have three losses, the Cats have four, and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Washington</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> has stumbled to a 1-5 start.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>What does this mean to the Wildcats?<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It means that a terrible beginning still provides hope.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Arizona</SPAN></st1:place></st1:State><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">, right now, is simply not as good as Stanford, ASU, or Washington.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>But what Joan Bonvicini&rsquo;s team needs to do is prove it can play with the rest of the pack.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>This week will provide such an opportunity.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The Wildcats head to <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Oregon</st1:place></st1:State> to play two average teams.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Two wins would shoot <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> into, at the very worst a tie for seventh and at the very best, into fourth or fifth place.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Last season, the Pac-10 sent six teams into the NCAA Tournament.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>That won&rsquo;t happen this year.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>However, four teams could get the nod.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>So, there will be a fierce battle for fourth place.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Cal</st1:place></st1:State> is certainly the best of the rest but what&rsquo;s happened to a team that many thought would take another step in its development?<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>A key injury and a lack of depth are to blame and now Joann Boyle will have to rethink her team&rsquo;s goals.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>UCLA has been inconsistent, losing to <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Oregon</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> at home, and USC has everyone scratching their heads.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><st1:State w:st="on">Oregon</st1:State> and <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Oregon</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> haven&rsquo;t proved anything.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><st1:State w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Arizona</SPAN></st1:State><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">&rsquo;s games in <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Oregon</st1:place></st1:State> are vitally important.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>If they can find a way to get to 3-4 before the <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">L.A.</st1:place></st1:City> schools roll in to finish the first half of conference play, then good things can still happen.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>They can beat both of those teams and a 5-4 finish after nine games would be a tremendous accomplishment.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It is possible.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>But in order to step up to this level the Cats need to score more points, clean up their turnovers and get more consistent play in the post.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>I&rsquo;m not sure that all of this is possible, but it&rsquo;s fun to think about.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">After all, a few months has made a big difference.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The Cats beat <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Washington</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">State</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> on Saturday and are still very much in contention for a place in the top-tier of the Pac-10.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The <st1:place w:st="on">Oregon Trail</st1:place> will tell the story.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Stay tuned.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">See you on the radio!<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Paul Johnson<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Each Wildcat Game is heard live on AM 1400 KTUC.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">To find out more about Paul visit his website at: <A href="http://www.pauldanieljohnson.net/">http://www.pauldanieljohnson.net</A>.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P>
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