COMING UP: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (9-18, 3-12 Pac-10) travels to Los Angeles to take on the UCLA Bruins on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion. The Wildcats are looking to win their third-consecutive Thursday game.
CATCH THE ACTION: As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Paul Johnson calling the action from courtside.
OREGON RECAP: Arizona guard Ashley Whisonant missed a layup with six seconds left and a chance to tie the game, and Oregon hit two free throws down the stretch to escape with a 59-55 win over the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon in McKale Center.
Arizona finished the game shooting 35.6 percent (21-59) from the field, and squandered a four point lead with 11:53 left in the second half. Oregon shot 41.9 percent (18-43) from the field, using a 13-4 run over 6:36 in the second half to take control of the game. Oregon shot 94.7 percent (18-19) from the free throw line, as the Wildcats made 11-of-17 (64.7 percent) at the charity stripe.
Individually for Arizona, Whisonant scored a game-high 14 points coming off the bench, and senior Linda Pace added a season-high nine points to go with four rebounds and three steals.
Junior Kaela Chapdelaine led Oregon with 10 points.
18 of the 19 players from both teams that played in the game scored a basket.
Arizona trailed early on in the game, as Oregon raced out to a 14-4 lead at the 15:10 mark in the first on two free throws by Cicely Oaks. The Wildcats used a 14-2 scoring run over the next 7:39 to take an 18-16 lead on a jumper by Shannon Hobson at the 7:31 mark. The Wildcats held a 25-22 lead with 42 seconds left in the first, but a three-point play by Eleanor Haring with 17 seconds left tied the game at 25-25 going into halftime.
Arizona shot 38.7 percent (12-31) from the field in the first half, compared to a 35.0 percent mark (7-20) by Oregon.
The Wildcats controlled the second half for the first eight minutes, and led 41-37 at the 11:53 mark. Oregon then put together a 13-4 run over the next 6:36 to take a 50-45 lead with 5:17 left in the game. Oregon led by as many as seven down the stretch, but Arizona cut the deficit to two points at 57-55 on a lay in by Pace with 44 seconds left.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 64.2 points a game while shooting 39.7 percent (652-1644) from the field, 26.9 percent (119-442) from three-point range, and 68.7 percent (311-453) from the free throw line. The Wildcats have also tallied 240 steals (8.89 spg), third-best in the Pac-10, off of 526 opponent turnovers. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 16.3 points a game (7th in the Pac-10) while posting 5.4 rebounds, and 2.22 steals per game (third in the Pac-10).
ABOUT THE BRUINS: The UCLA Bruins enter Thursday’s matchup with a 13-13 overall record and a 7-7 mark in the Pac-10. UCLA has won four of their last six, but lost at USC, 62-55, on Saturday. The Bruins are 5-5 at home so far this season. As a team, UCLA shoots 43.4 percent (662-1527) from the field, 35.4 percent (102-288) from three point range, and 68.3 percent (352-515) from the free throw line while averaging 68.4 points a game. Senior Noelle Quinn averages 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 5.8 assists to lead the Bruins, and junior forward Lindsey Pluimer adds 15.8 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Head coach Kathy Olivier is in her 14th season at the helm of the Bruin program.
THE UCLA-ARIZONA SERIES: Thursday’s game will be the 58th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Bruins on the hardwood, with UCLA owning a 39-18 all-time series advantage. The Bruins escaped McKale Center with a 76-73 win over Arizona on Jan. 20, as UCLA swept the two-game series last year. Arizona has won seven of the last 12 matchups in the series, last winning in Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 16, 2005 (84-73). Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats are 16-15 against UCLA.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 16 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 10 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history. 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, 21 All-Pac-10 honorees, 16 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 11 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 275-200 (.579) mark at Arizona and is 600-271 (.689) in 28 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.
WIN #600: Head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 600th career victory on Thursday, Feb. 8, as the Wildcats defeated Oregon State, 65-61. Bonvicini became the 18th women's basketball coach in NCAA Division I history to accomplish the 600-win plateau.
LOVE THOSE THURSDAYS: Although Arizona started the season 0-5 when playing games on Thursday, the Wildcats have won back-to-back games. Arizona knocked off Washington State on the road on Feb. 1, and beat Oregon State on Feb. 8 in McKale Center. Arizona has not started a Pac-10 week with three-straight Thursday wins since February of 2005.
EVERBODY SCORES (ALMOST): In the game against Oregon on Saturday, 18 of the 19 total players from both teams to take the court scored a basket. The only player not to score in the game was junior Suzy Bofia, who finished 0-of-1 from the field in one minute of action.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 7-4 this season when leading at halftime. However, the Wildcats were 1-3 when leading at the half before beating Washington State on Feb. 1, after leading the Cougars 26-24 at halftime. Arizona is 2-13 when trailing at the half. For the first time this season, Arizona went into the half tied against Oregon on Saturday. The Wildcats and the Ducks were tied up at 25-25, but Oregon outscored UA 34-30 in the second half for the win.
CARDIAC CATS: So far this season, the Wildcats have succeeded in the close ball games. Arizona is 6-3 in games decided by five points or less. The Wildcats secured a four-point victory over the Beavers, 65-61, last Thursday, but dropped a four-point decision, 59-55, to Oregon on Saturday.
MAGIC NUMBER: On the season, Arizona is 5-3 when scoring 70 points or more in a game, including a season-high 83 points scored in its season-opening win against Nicholls State. All-time, Arizona is 176-21 (.893) when scoring 80 points or more, as the Wildcats are 129-14 (.902) under head coach Joan Bonvicini when reaching the 80 point plateau. Arizona is 2-11 this season when posting 60-69 points in a game.
RUN IT, RUN IT: So far this season, Arizona has shown the ability to put together some large scoring runs. Here is a breakdown of some of the Wildcats' major scoring-streaks:
25 points: 30-5 scoring run over 12:50 in the first half vs. Nicholls State
21 points: 30-9 run over the final 6:53 of the first half at UTEP
18 points: 23-5 run over the first 12:38 of the second half vs. Long Beach State
16 points: 16-0 run over 3:13 in the first half vs. Louisiana Tech
16 points: 20-4 run over the final 8:11 of the game at Maryland
15 points: 15-0 run over 4:40 in the first half vs. GW
14 points: 15-1 run over 3:57 in the second half vs. Long Beach State
12 points: 14-2 run over 7:39 in the first half vs. Oregon
12 points: 16-4 run over 5:16 in the second half vs. Stanford
12 points: 17-5 run over 3:30 in the second half vs. UCLA
12 points: 12-0 run over 5:55 in first half vs. NC State
12 points: 18-6 run over the final 7:50 of the game vs. Nicholls State
11 points: 14-3 run over 9:20 to start the second half vs. Washington State
10 points: 17-7 run over 6:24 in the first half vs. New Mexico
10 points: 13-3 run over 4:24 in the second half vs. Washington
10 points: 10-0 run over 1:47 in the second half vs. GW
10 points: 10-0 run over 3:54 in the first half vs. USC
THE BIG, BAD RUN: Although Arizona can score points in bunches, the Wildcats have a tendency to give up large scoring runs to the opposition. Here is a look at some of the scoring runs Arizona has given up to opponents:
26 points: 31-5 scoring run to Maryland over 9:59 to start the first half
23 points: 33-10 run to Washington over 10:12 in the second half
21 points: 26-5 run to Texas A&M in the final 7:31 of the first half
20 points: 26-6 run at Arizona State over 9:26 to start the first half
19 points: 27-8 run to Stanford over 7:41 in the first half
16 points: 16-0 run to California over 7:45 in the first half
16 points: 21-5 run to UTEP in the final 3:37 of the game
14 points: 17-3 run at Oregon over 4:28 in the first half
13 points: 13-0 run to Fresno State in the final 4:33 of the game
13 points: 16-3 run to Louisiana Tech over 5:29 in the first half
12 points: 14-2 run to USC over 7:14 in the first half
12 points: 13-1 run at Oregon over 5:54 in the second half.
12 points: 16-4 run to New Mexico over 5:21 to start the first half
12 points: 15-3 run to Washington State over 4:51 in the first half
11 points: 11-0 run to California over 3:06 in the first half
11 points: 16-5 run to USC over 4:04 in the second half
11 points: 15-4 run to USC in the final 4:23 of the game
11 points: 15-4 run to New Mexico over 4:51 midway through the second half
10 points: 14-4 run to Oregon in the opening 4:50
10 points: 10-0 run to Utah over 3:16 in the first half
10 points: 10-0 run to UCLA over the final 2:34 of the first half
WATCH YOUR POCKETS: The Wildcats have excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this season. Arizona has tallied 240 steals (8.89 spg) on the year, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has also forced 526 opponent turnovers. The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in 12 games this season, but failed to post double-figures in steals against the Oregon schools this past week. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.22 spg, the third-best mark in the Pac-10.
OFFENSIVE BOARDS: So far this season, the Wildcats have done a solid job on the offensive glass. On the year, the Wildcats have grabbed 362 offensive rebounds. Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 21 of 27 games this season. Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 10 of the last 12 games, and 13 of the last 16 games, finishing with 14 offensive boards on Saturday against the Ducks. Arizona is out-rebounded opponents on the offensive glass 362-318 this season.
BALL CONTROL: Arizona finished with 28 total turnovers this past week, its lowest number for turnovers in a two-game span this season. Defensively, the Wildcats forced 37 turnovers on the opposition.
POST UP: Arizona’s post play on the offensive end has stepped it up lately, as the Wildcats have scored 70 of its 120 (58.3 percent) in the last two games inside the paint. The Wildcats posted 40 of its 65 points (61.5 percent) in the paint against Oregon State last Thursday, and finished with 30 of its 55 points (54.5 percent) inside the paint against Oregon. Arizona scored a total of 40 points in the paint in its last two games combined before playing the Beavers, and hadn't scored 40 points in the paint since beating Long Beach State on Dec. 12, a span of 16 games.
GOOD D: The Wildcat defense has shown its claws the last two games, as Arizona limited the Beavers and the Ducks to 43 total field goal attempts apiece, a season low mark for opponents. That is a vast improvement from Arizona’s season numbers, as the Wildcats are allowing opponents to take an average of 60.8 field goal attempts, including an average of 59.2 field goal attempts in Pac-10 play.
LEADING LATE: The Wildcats are 7-1 this season when leading with one minute left in the game.
GIVE HER THE ROCK: Senior Joy Hollingsworth was on an absolute tear before struggling against the Ducks on Saturday, finishing with just six points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field. In the three games before the Oregon game, she scored 20 points or more in each contest. On the season, the Seattle native is averaging a team-best 16.3 points a game (7th in the Pac-10), as she has scored 20 points or more on 11 different occasions. She is also averaging 5.4 rebounds and 2.22 steals a game (third in the Pac-10), and has posted double-figure point totals in 22 out of 27 games this season.
LOOK FOR A BIG ONE: Joy failed to score in double-figures for just the fifth time this season, but don’t expect that to last for long. In games following a single-digit output for Hollingsworth, she is averaging 14.6 points including outbursts of 31 points and 20 points.
ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant has provided the Wildcats with a much needed spark off the bench. In the last three games coming off the bench, Whisonant is averaging 15.3 points and 3.3 assists a game. She finished with a game-high 14 points in 26 minutes as a reserve on Saturday against Oregon. On the year, Whisonant is averaging 11.2 points and 3.59 assists a game.
DIME TRACKER: Ashley Whisonant dished out her 250th career assist against Oregon on Saturday. So far in her three-year career, Whisonant is averaging 2.84 assists a game, and has 97 assists on the year this season.
BENCH HELP: Arizona tallied 27 in each of its last two games, led by Ashley Whisonant's 29 in the two game span. The bench has accounted for 49.1 percent of the scoring output for the Wildcats the last two games.
PICKING UP THE PACE: Senior guard Linda Pace's stats might not jump out from the box score, but her play has been pivotal for the Wildcats' success as of late. Arizona is 2-2 with Pace in the starting lineup, as she has helped solidify the Wildcats' post play. Last Thursday, Pace finished with four points, a career-high six rebounds and a steal in 19 minutes of playing time against the Beavers. Against the Ducks on Saturday, Pace posted a season-high nine points to go with four rebounds and three steals. In her last four games as a starter, Pace is averaging 4.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.25 steals a game in 21.8 minutes of action.
MS. CONSISTENCY: Sophomore Amina Njonkou has been a monster with her play in the paint this season, as she has become one of Arizona's most consistent players. The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 9.0 points and a team-best 6.9 rebounds a game. Njonkou leads the team with 87 offensive rebounds (tops in the Pac-10), and is shooting 46.6 percent (89-191) from the field. She is the only Wildcat this season to post a double-double, as she leads the team with four, including two in her last four games. Against Fresno State, Njonkou finished with 15 points and a career-best 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Njonkou recorded the first double-double of her career with a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds against Nicholls State.
Against USC, Njonkou posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high four assists. So far this season, she has recorded five rebounds or more in 24 of her 27 games.
BRING IT: Like every season, Arizona competes against some of the toughest competition in the nation. This year will be no different. The Wildcats will face a strong non-conference slate to go along with the always-difficult Pac-10 Conference season. Arizona will play 20 games this season against 12 teams that participated in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will face defending national champion Maryland and NCAA Tournament teams George Washington and TCU in the first week of the season. Arizona also hosts NC State, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico, and travels to Texas A&M and Utah. After the brutal non-conference slate, Arizona must throw blows with its Pac-10 Conference foes, including Arizona State, California, Stanford, Washington, USC, and UCLA, all tournament teams from a year ago.
RANK THIS: Arizona's tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this year's preseason rankings. In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN Preseason Top-25 Poll, nine of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the season. Defending champs Maryland tops the list at No. 1 in the nation, followed by No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 21 California, No. 22 USC, No. 23 UCLA, and No. 25 Washington. Additionally, five other Arizona opponents (George Washington, Utah, TCU, Louisiana Tech, and NC State) received double-digit votes in the poll.
This week, six of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25. So far this season, Arizona is 0-9 against ranked opposition.
CATS PICKED TO FINISH SEVENTH IN THE PAC-10: The University of Arizona women's basketball team was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conference's head coaches on Oct., 16. The Wildcats garnered 32 points in the poll, as defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this year's Pac-10 title.
The Cardinal received nine of 10 first-place votes and 81 points, as Arizona State received the remaining first-place nod and tallied 70 points to place second. USC was tabbed to finish third with 63 points, followed by California and Washington with 53 points for a tie for the fourth-place slot. UCLA grabbed 46 points to place sixth, followed by Arizona (32), as Oregon (22), Washington State (16) and Oregon State (14) rounded out the poll.
Arizona was also selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Media Poll released Nov. 7.
UP NEXT: Arizona will play its first game in the USC’s new Galen Center on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. (PST). The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net.