The University of Arizona women's basketball team (No. 20 AP/No. 16 USA Today) plays its final home games of the 1999-2000 season this weekend against the Oregon schools. The Wildcats will take on Oregon State on Thursday, Mar. 2, at 7 p.m. The UA then faces defending Pac-10 co-champion Oregon on Saturday, Mar. 4, at 2 p.m. in a contest which will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.
Saturday's game with Oregon has been selected as "Spirit Day". The UA will attempt to draw more than 5,000 fans into the McKale Center for the first time in women's basketball history. All youth, high school age and under, will receive free admission to the game. There will also be a "Battle of the Bands," featuring several local high school bands.
The five Wildcat seniors -- Tatum Brown, Monika Crank, Lisa Griffith, Angela Lackey and Felecity Willis -- will all be honored in a post-game ceremony as well.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 So. Houston, TX 9.8 ppg 4.4 rpg 1.0 bpg 53 Tatum Brown F 6-4 Sr. Tacoma, WA 13.2 ppg 7.8 rpg 0.7 bpg 3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 Sr. Portland, OR 8.7 ppg 2.1 spg 3.5 apg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Jr. Omaha, NE 7.7 ppg 3.6 rpg 2.2 spg 23 Felecity Willis G 5-7 Sr. Apple Valley, CA 8.2 ppg 5.2 apg 1.6 spg OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically): 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 So. Riverside, CA 3.0 ppg 1.1 rpg 0.6 spg 20 Julie Brase G 5-9 So. Tucson, AZ 6.7 ppg 2.6 rpg 2.0 apg 22 Monika Crank G 5-7 Sr. Page, AZ 5.1 ppg 2.5 rpg 2.1 apg 34 Angela Lackey F 6-0 Sr. Louisville, KY 12.8 ppg 4.9 rpg 1.8 spg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 So. Oregon City, OR 1.1 ppg 1.2 rpg 21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 Fr. Simi Valley, CA 0.8 ppg 0.2 rpg 0.4 apg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 So. Houston, TX 2.6 ppg 2.7 rpg 0.4 bpg 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 Fr. Cloverdale, CA 3.8 ppg 2.9 rpg 0.5 apg
The 20th-ranked Wildcats ended a two-game losing skid with a 72-61 win over rival Arizona State last weekend. The Cats are now 21-5 overall and are 10-4 in Pac-10 play, holding down third place in the league standings.
With 13.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, senior forward Tatum Brown remains the UA leader in both categories. Senior forward Angela Lackey is a close second in scoring, with 12.8 ppg, and is second in rebounding, at 4.9 rpg. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in third in both categories, averaging 9.8 ppg and 4.4 rpg.
Guards Lisa Griffith (8.7 ppg), Felecity Willis (8.2 ppg), Reshea Bristol (7.7 ppg) and Julie Brase (6.7 ppg) follow on the scoring chart. Willis is the team's assists leader, at 5.2 per game, while Bristol has the highest steals average, at 2.2 per game.
Arizona leads the Pac-10 in six different statistical categories, including scoring (79.2 ppg), scoring margin (+11.9 ppg), assists (18.31 apg) and steals (11.00 spg). Individually, Tatum Brown is tops in field goal percentage (.614) and third in rebounding (7.8 rpg), while Felecity Willis is third in assists (5.23 apg).
ABOUT OREGON STATE:
On a four-game win streak, the Beavers improved to 14-13 overall and 10-5 in Pac-10 play with a sweep of the L.A. schools at home last weekend. OSU defeated USC, 73-66, on Feb. 24, then pulled off the 72-52 upset of then-22nd-ranked UCLA on Feb. 26. Winners of 10 of their last 13 games, the Beavers are fourth in the Pac-10 standings.
Sophomore guard Felicia Ragland is leading OSU in scoring, with 12.9 points per game, closely followed by senior center Sissel Pierce's 12.7 ppg. Senior forward Reda Petraitis is the team's top rebounder, averaging 7.3 per game, with Pierce in second at 6.3 per game.
Oregon State is leading the Pac-10 in scoring defense (59.9 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.385), rebounding margin (+5.5 rpg) and blocked shots (5.07 bpg). Reda Petraitis is second in the league in steals (2.56 spg) and fourth in rebounding (7.3 rpg). Sissel Pierce is the conference leader in blocked shots (2.96 bpg).
OSU head coach Judy Spoelstra (Oregon State, 1983) holds a 62-75 mark in her fifth year at the helm of her alma mater's program. She is 160-143 in 11 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. OREGON STATE:
Oregon State has the narrow 15-14 lead in the series with Arizona. The Wildcats have won each of the last six meetings with the Beavers, including a 65-49 victory earlier this season on Feb. 6 in Corvallis. In Tucson last year, the Wildcats earned a 91-60 win over the Beavers on Jan. 23, 1999.
LAST MEETING WITH OSU:
Despite committing 28 turnovers and 27 fouls, Arizona dominated Oregon State in Corvallis on Feb. 6, downing the Beavers, 65-49.
OSU scored the first bucket of the game and never led again as the Cats pushed out to a 14-point lead (32-18) by the 3:50 mark in the first half. The UA took a 12-point lead (39-27) into the lockerroom at the break.
The Cats opened the second half with an 11-0 spurt that gave them a 23-point lead, their largest of the game, by the 16:12 mark. The Beavers came no closer than 14 points for the remainder of the game, as they shot a miserable 19.4 percent from the floor in the second half.
Elizabeth Pickney was the only Wildcat to reach double digits in scoring, as she racked up a game-high 17 points and pulled down a team-high 11 rebounds.
The victory over OSU gave Arizona its first road sweep of the Oregon schools in 10 years.
The Ducks are 20-7 overall and 11-4 in the Pac-10 after splitting with the L.A. schools at home last weekend. Oregon upset UCLA, 89-72, on Feb. 24, then the Ducks themselves were upset by USC, 69-63 on Feb. 26.
Now in second place in the league standings, Oregon will play at Arizona State on Thursday before appearing in Tucson on Saturday. The Ducks are not currently ranked but are receiving votes in both polls.
Three Ducks are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by sophomore guard Shaquala Williams, who is also the Pac-10 leading scorer with 17.6 ppg. Junior forward Angelina Wolvert is second, averaging 11.9 ppg, and is the team's top rebounder at 6.1 per game. Junior forward Brianne Meharry is posting 10.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.
Oregon is second in the Pac-10 in scoring defense (62.4 ppg), second in blocked shots (4.11 bpg) and second in turnover margin (+1.93 topg). Junior center Jenny Mowe is second in the league in blocked shots (2.19 bpg), and Angelina Wolvert is second in field goal percentage (.602).
In her seventh year at Oregon, head coach Jody Runge (Kentucky, 1985) has a 140-60 record.
THE SERIES vs. OREGON:
Oregon has the 19-10 advantage in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats have won three of the last four meetings with the Ducks. Earlier this season, Arizona logged a 73-66 victory in Eugene on Feb. 4, marking the Cats' first victory there since the 1997 season. Last season in Tucson, the Cats edged the Ducks, 78-74, on Jan. 21, 1999.
LAST MEETING WITH OREGON:
Powered by a 19-point performance from Felecity Willis, the Cats scrapped to a 73-66 victory at Oregon on Feb. 4, snapping the Ducks' 19-game home win streak.
The first half was a close one, with six lead changes, four ties and neither team leading by more than six points. Oregon held a one-point (32-31) advantage at halftime.
The Cats came out on fire in the second half, opening the period with an 18-4 run that gave them a 13-point (49-36) lead at the 14:46 mark. Oregon responded with its own 22-12 spurt, regaining a brief one-point (58-57) lead at 3:37.
Arizona retained its composure, though, and out-scored the Ducks, 18-8, over the remainder of the game, sparked by a 7-of-8 performance by Willis from the free throw line in the final 1:20.
In addition to her 19 points, Willis added a game-high eight assists and shot 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Angela Lackey came off the bench to contribute 17 points for the Cats, and Reshea Bristol scored 11. Krista Warren grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT:
Gathering a season-high 17 steals, the Wildcats logged a 72-61 victory over rival Arizona State in Tempe on Feb. 26.
The first half was a rocky one for the Wildcats, as ASU led most of the way and held a one-point (28-27) advantage at halftime. Arizona scored the first bucket of the second half, and ASU never led again.
The Cats were unable to get their second-half lead beyond seven points until putting on a 12-2 run that gave them a 10-point (66-56) edge at the 1:28 mark. The Sun Devils were never closer than seven points after that.
Four different Wildcats reached double digits in scoring, led by Reshea Bristol and Felecity Willis with 17 points each. Bristol also notched game highs of seven rebounds and seven assists. Tatum Brown had 11 points, her first double-digit performance in four games, while Angela Lackey contributed 10 points and four steals.
Arizona will play its final regular season contests on the road in the Bay Area next weekend. The Wildcats play at Stanford on Thursday, Mar. 9, at 7:30 p.m. PST, then the Cats play at California on Saturday, Mar. 11, at 1 p.m. PST.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Tues. Feb. 29 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Mar. 1 1-3 p.m. McKale lifting after Thurs. Mar. 2 vs. Oregon State, 7 p.m. McKale Fri. Mar. 3 2-4:30 p.m. McKale Sat. Mar. 4 vs. Oregon, 2 p.m. McKale Sun. Mar. 5 OFF Mon. Mar. 6 2-4:30 p.m. McKale Tues. Mar. 7 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Mar. 8 12:30-2 p.m. McKale lifting before depart for Bay Area, 2:30 p.m.
TRACKING THE PAC-10:
With an 11-3 record in Pac-10 play, Stanford has sole possession of first place in the league standings. Oregon is a close second, with an 11-4 record, followed by Arizona at 10-4. Oregon State is fourth, at 10-5, and UCLA is fifth with a 9-5 mark.
DISHING IT OUT:
As a team, Arizona has been the Pac-10 leader all season in assists, currently standing in first with an average of 18.31 per game. The UA is the only team with three players among the top 10 in the Pac-10 in assists this week. Senior guard Felecity Willis is third with an average of 5.23 per game, senior guard Lisa Griffith is eighth with 3.54 apg, and junior guard Reshea Bristol is 10th with 3.18 apg.
GRIFFITH TO PARTICIPATE IN 3-POINT CHAMPIONSHIP:
UA senior guard Lisa Griffith has been selected as a participant in the Annual College Three-Point Basketball Championship on Thursday, Mar. 30, in Indianapolis, Ind. Along with the Slam Dunk Championship, the 3-point contest is one of the activities surrounding the men's Final Four and will be broadcast on ESPN on Mar. 30 from 9-11 p.m. EST.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI:
In nearly a decade at the helm of the University of Arizona's women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Now in her ninth year at the UA, Bonvicini has posted a 155-103 (.601) mark and has a 480-174 (.734) record in 20 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 22-13 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.
Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.
BONVICINI FINALIST FOR COACH OF THE YEAR:
Fifteen finalists have been named for the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year Award, including Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini.
The winner, selected by Naismith's National Advisory Board members, NCAA Division I coaches, former Naismith winners, NCAA Division I conference commissioners and media representatives, will be presented with the award April 8 in Atlanta.
The other finalists are Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Geno Auriemma (Connecticut), Leon Barmore (Louisiana Tech), Vivian Stringer (Rutgers), Andy Landers (Georgia), Joe Ciampi (Auburn), Bill Fennelly (Iowa State), Mark French (UC Santa Barbara), Gail Goestenkors (Duke), Sue Gunter (Louisiana State), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Rene Portland (Penn State), Marsha Sharp (Texas Tech), and Kay Yow (North Carolina State).
DID YOU KNOW:
Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 82-76 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 48-20 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
RACKING UP THE WINS:
Joan Bonvicini needs only four more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined (159).
THE REST OF THE STAFF:
Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is in her eighth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and the perimeter coach. Second-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players, assists with scouting and recruiting and directs the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp. In his first year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.
TO START OR NOT TO START:
Seems that Joan Bonvicini's decision to insert Reshea Bristol into the starting lineup a few weeks ago was a good one. In the seven contests since the junior guard entered the lineup, she has averaged 11.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. During that stretch, she has also hit 45.0 percent from the floor and 80.8 percent from the free throw line.
In the 15 games earlier this year which saw Bristol coming off the bench, she averaged only 6.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She shot only 33.3 percent from the floor and 75.6 percent from the line.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Nineteen of Arizona's wins this year have been by an average of 10 points or more... Each loss has been by an average of 8.6 points per game... The Cats have hit five or more 3-pointers in 16 games this season... Arizona has 20 or more assists in 12 games this year... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 18 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 18 contests, and no opponent has committed less than 14.
GOTTA TAKE CARE OF THE BALL:
Arizona has committed an average of 22.6 turnovers per game over the last 10 contests. During that stretch, the Cats have forced opponents into an average of 23.2 turnovers per game.
Arizona had its season high of 29 turnovers at UCLA on Feb. 19, also the UA's highest turnover total since committing 36 at Arizona State on Jan. 17, 1998.
LONG RANGE BOMBING:
The Wildcats saw their streak of 58 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer made come to an end when they failed to connect on any treys at Arizona State on Feb. 26.
SHAKING THOSE FREE THROW WOES:
Arizona was wildly inconsistent from the free throw line during non-conference play this season, hitting only 66.0 percent from the line. During that time-frame, the Cats shot as well as 84 percent (vs. Tennessee Tech) and as poorly as 53.1 percent (vs. Northern Illinois).
Since entering Pac-10 play, the Cats have regained some consistency, and accuracy, from the free throw line. They are shooting 70.6 percent from the stripe against conference opponents.
CRASHING THE BOARDS:
Rebounding was a major problem for the Wildcats over the last few years, but they are on an upswing in that area. The UA has out-rebounded or been equal to its opponent in 24 of this season's games. That's a great improvement over last season, when the Cats out-rebounded only seven opponents in all 29 games combined.
The UA bench has been quite productive this season, contributing an average of 28.9 points per game. The highest point total from the bench so far this year came on Dec. 10 against Texas Southern, when 47 of the UA's 96 points came from the subs.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 91-40 mark in McKale Center, including a 60-12 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 157-148 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
Several of the UA's opponents this season are ranked in this week's polls.
UC Santa Barbara is ninth in this week's A.P. poll, while Oklahoma is 21st and Stanford is 25th. Oregon, Kansas, UCLA and Colorado State all received votes for ranking.
In this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, UC Santa Barbara is No. 9, and Oklahoma is No. 22. Kansas, UCLA, Stanford and Oregon all received votes for ranking.
Ten schools had both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked among the A.P. Top 25 this week. They are Arizona, Stanford, Duke, Iowa State, Tennessee, Louisiana State, Auburn, Purdue, Oklahoma and Connecticut.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER:
Seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 28-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 121-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 81-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...:
Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 24-18 in games settled by five points or less, including a 8-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS:
Over the last nine seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 50 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
KEYS TO THE WIN:
This season, Arizona is... 19-4 when out-rebounding its opponent... 18-1 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 19-4 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 18-1 when scoring 70 points or more... 16-2 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent... 16-4 when three or more players reach double digits in scoring.
The Cats are forcing opponents to commit an average of 2.69 more turnovers per game than the UA, the highest ratio in the Pac-10... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 314-394 (.444) all-time record, however it is 118-58 (.670) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 172-90 career record against Pac-10 teams.
The Wildcats are 11-2 at home this season, 7-3 in road games and 3-0 in neutral contests. Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests last year.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK:
Lisa Griffith is the Arizona and the Pac-10 career leader in both three-pointers made (268) and attempted (710). She is in the #6 spot on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list, with 1,140 career points. She needs only four more points to move into the #5 spot.
Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #2 with 104 career starts. She is second on the career steals chart, with 213, and is fifth on the career assists list, with 441.
Felecity Willis is sixth in career three-pointers attempted (183) and is seventh in three-pointers made (51). She is holding down third place on the UA all-time assists chart and is ninth all-time in the Pac-10, with 508 career dishes.
Willis also stands in the #14 spot on the UA all-time scoring list, with 932 career points. She needs 10 more points to move into the #13 spot.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in fifth place on the UA all-time blocked shots list, with 60.
CATS REGISTER BEST PAC-10 START EVER:
Arizona's 9-2 mark through the first 11 games of Pac-10 play was its best start ever in league action. Previously, the UA had never made it through the first 11 conference games with less than three losses.
ACHIEVING 20 WINS:
With its defeat of Washington State on Feb. 12, this UA squad became the fastest ever to reach the 20-win mark. No other Wildcat team has ever been able to reach 20 wins in only 23 games.
It was also the earliest in the season that any team has reached 20 wins. The earliest mark previously was set by the 1996-97 squad, which reached the 20-win plateau on Feb. 22.
FELECITY WILLIS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb. 7):
Senior guard Felecity Willis was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 31-Feb. 6.
Willis, from Apple Valley, Calif., averaged 11.0 points, 7.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while leading the Cats to their first road sweep of the Oregon schools in 10 years. She shot .455 (5-for-11) from the floor and .833 (10-for-12) from the free throw line over the two games.
In the victory at Oregon, which snapped the Ducks' 19-game home winning streak, Willis scored a season- and game-high 19 points, including 17 in the second half. She dished out a game-high eight assists, leading the Wildcats to their first win in Eugene since 1997. Willis went 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:20 to seal the 73-66 win. In the victory at Oregon State, she tallied a game-high seven assists to go with three points and three rebounds.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Willis' career, and the 19th all-time selection for the Wildcats. It is also the first time that Arizona has had four recipients in the same year.
GRIFFITH BECOMES PAC-10 LEADER:
On Jan. 30, senior guard Lisa Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in three-pointers attempted, surpassing former Washington player Jamie Redd's total of 675. Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in 3-pointers made during the 1998-99 season.
BONVICINI REACHES MILESTONES:
With the win over Arizona State on Jan. 30, Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 150th win at the UA and 475th win as a head coach.
PICKNEY TOPS 500:
Against UCLA on Jan. 20, sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney became the latest Wildcat to top the 500-point plateau in career scoring.
LISA GRIFFITH NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 17):
Senior guard Lisa Griffith was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 10-16.
Griffith averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 rebounds per game while leading the Wildcats to their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools on Jan. 13 and 15. She shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the floor, including a blazing 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from three-point range.
In the win at Washington, Arizona's first victory ever in Seattle, Griffith drained a school-record-tying seven treys en route to a career-high 26 points. She shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, marking the first time any Wildcat has hit seven treys in one game since Griffith herself did it twice during the 1996-97 season. In the win over Washington State, she tallied 14 points, four steals and seven assists.
The Player of the Week honor is the second of Griffith's career, and was the 18th all-time selection for Arizona.
CATS EARN FIRST ROAD SWEEP IN WASHINGTON:
With wins at Washington State (83-68) on Jan. 13 and at Washington (96-85) on Jan. 15, Arizona completed its first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. While the Cats had previously been able to defeat Washington State in Pullman, this season's win at Washington was the UA's first in 14 attempts.
A GREAT START:
With their victory over California on Jan. 6, the Wildcats tied the 1995-96 team for the best start ever at 12-1.
CATS SET RECORD WITH HOME WIN STREAK:
Arizona set a new school record this season with a 15-game home win streak, dating from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 8, 2000. They saw their streak end with a 98-95 loss to Stanford on Jan. 8. The previous long streak was a string of 10 games midway through the 1997-98 season.
The Cats went 11-1 in regular season non-conference play this year, their best non-conference mark since the 1995-96 team went 9-0. The 11 victories are the most regular season non-conference wins ever under Joan Bonvicini.
During the 12 non-conference games, the Cats averaged 83.1 points per game and out-scored their opponents by an average of 18 points per game. They shot 48.8 percent from the field, including a blazing 42.3 percent from three-point range. The UA out-rebounded its opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per contest. The Cats also averaged 20.0 assists and 11.0 steals per game, while forcing opponents to commit an average of 22.8 turnovers per game.
CATS TAKE SEELBACH CLASSIC TITLE:
Arizona won its third regular-season tournament when it swept through the Seelbach Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 28-29. The Cats had a solid showing in the first round with a 91-61 pounding of Marshall on Dec. 28. Although host team Louisville managed to hang with the UA most of the contest, the Cats pulled out an 80-70 victory in the championship game to take the tournament title.
After averaging 14.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the two contests, Wildcat Tatum Brown was selected the Tournament MVP, her second such honor of the year. Louisville native Angela Lackey was selected to the All-Tournament Team as well, also her second such honor of the season.
GRIFFITH JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB:
With 3:04 left in the first half at Kansas on Dec. 21, senior guard Lisa Griffith knocked down her third three-pointer of the game to become the eighth Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring. The last Wildcat to join the 1,000-point club was Griffith's former teammate, Adia Barnes, who reached that mark during the 1996-97 season.
WILDCATS CLAIM TITLE OF INSIGHT.COM BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC:
After falling in the championship game of the 1998 tournament, Arizona reclaimed the title of its ninth annual Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic with victories over Texas Southern (96-46) and Indiana (87-70) on Dec. 10-12.
The UA's Tatum Brown was unanimously voted the Tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals over the two games. Angela Lackey was named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
Tatum Brown's 11-of-12 shooting performance against Colorado State on Dec. 6 tied the UA single-game record for field goal percentage (.917). It is also a new McKale Center record, breaking the previous mark of 84.6 percent (11-13) set by former UCLA player Denise Curry on Jan. 17, 1981.
Arizona also set a new school record by hitting a sizzling 75.9 (22-29) percent in the first half against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30.
BROWN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 6):
Senior forward Tatum Brown was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 29-Dec. 5. Brown scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead No. 21 Arizona to an 86-76 upset over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30. In just 26 minutes of action, she shot 9-for-12 (.750) from the field and 3-for-4 (.750) from the line.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Brown's career, and the 17th all-time selection. Brown's honor followed Elizabeth Pickney's Player of the Week laurels the previous week, marking the first time in school history that the Wildcats have had back-to-back Pac-10 Players of the Week.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT:
The Cats shot a school-record 75.9 percent (22-29) from the floor in the first half of the UCSB contest on Nov. 30. For the game, they shot 63 percent (34-54), the highest field goal percentage for any team since the school record was set at 64.3 percent (36-56) against Drake on Nov. 25, 1990.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 29):
Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Nov. 15-28. Pickney averaged 16.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game in the UA's four straight victories to open the season. She shot a team-high .575 (23-40) from the field and .720 (18-25) from the line during that stretch.
Pickney was named the Tournament MVP at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, leading Arizona to the team title with three wins. In the tourney, she averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Player of the Week honor was the first of Pickney's career and the 16th all-time selection for Arizona.
SULTANS OF SWAT:
The Wildcats racked up nine blocked shots in the contest against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20. That is the highest single-game block total since the 1985 squad collected 10 at Tennessee-Chattanooga on Jan. 5, 1985. Elizabeth Pickney had five of the UA's blocked shots against Tennessee Tech, a career high for her.
As a team, Arizona collected 20 blocks over the first four game of the year, the highest block total ever over that stretch in any season.
CATS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP AT HAWAIIAN REGENT WAHINE CLASSIC:
The Wildcats swept through three games in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21 to take the title at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, hosted by the University of Hawai'i.
Arizona garnered victories over Oklahoma (75-59), Tennessee Tech (87-71) and host team Hawai'i (86-73) to open the 1999-2000 season with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Elizabeth Pickney averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Cats and was the overwhelming favorite for tournament Most Valuable Player laurels. Felecity Willis and Tatum Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
DOVE IANELLO AMONG TOP ASSISTANTS:
In a survey of head women's coaches conducted by the Women's Basketball Journal last fall, UA associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello received votes for consideration as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
On the first day of the early signing period (Nov. 10), Arizona inked a trio of high school recruits from the state of California. The signees were 5-10 guard Candice Allen (Ontario, CA/Ayala HS), 5-7 guard Aimee Grzyb (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) and 6-3 forward Veranda James (Pomona, CA/Ganesha HS).
WHAT THE COACHES THINK:
Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
1. UCLA 6. Washington 2. Oregon 7. USC 3. Stanford 8. Oregon State 4. ARIZONA 9. California 5. Arizona State 10. Washington State The Pac-10 media also picked Arizona to finish fourth in the league standings this year.
For the third year in a row, the Wildcats earned a preseason national ranking. The Cats were ranked 25th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, and they were 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason Top 25.
The Wildcats were ranked among the top 25 teams in five different "unofficial" preseason polls this fall. The UA's highest ranking in these polls was 13th by Women's Basketball magazine and the lowest was 22nd by both Street & Smith's and the Basketball News Report.
Angela Lackey earned preseason third team All-America honors from Lindy's College Basketball and honorable mention All-America laurels from Street & Smith's College Basketball.
1998-99 IN REVIEW:
Despite losing the squad's only two seniors before the season ever started, the very young 1998-99 Wildcats held their own and came up with an 18-11 overall record and went 12-6 in the Pac-10 to finish in fourth place.
The Cats faced a rough non-conference schedule that featured three teams which spent most of the season among the top four in the national rankings. Arizona went 5-4 against those non-conference opponents, with quality losses to Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Colorado State and a big road win over UC Santa Barbara.
That tough early slate prepared the Cats for a season of Pac-10 play which showed more parity than it has in years. After getting off to a rocky 1-3 start in league play, the Cats rebounded to finish the season 11-3, with wins over Pac-10 co-champion Oregon and over perennial power Stanford.
The Wildcats then received their third consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, earning a #6 seed in the Midwest Region. In Piscataway, N.J., Arizona faced NCAA tourney veteran Florida in the first round of play and defeated the Gators, 87-84, in overtime to move on to the second round for the third straight year. The Cats then took on host Rutgers, only to end the season on a sour note, falling to the Scarlet Knights, 90-47.
For the season, Arizona had its most balanced offense in five years, with four players averaging in double digits in scoring, and ended its season by winning 12 of its final 16 contests. The Cats broke or tied 13 school records on the year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).
With 14.4 points per game, Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by Elizabeth Pickney at 11.4 ppg. Pickney was the team's top rebounder, with 5.8 per game, while Willis was the team's assists leader, averaging 5.5 apg. Lackey was second in rebounding with 5.4 rpg, and Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.