The University of Arizona women's basketball team will play two non-conference games in three days this weekend to officially tip-off the 2000-01 season. The Wildcats will play host to Brigham Young on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center. Then the Cats head to Indiana for a contest against sixth-ranked Notre Dame on Monday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. EST in the Joyce Center.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 1999-2000 Stats
22 Veranda James F 6-3 Fr. Pomona, CA 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 So. Cloverdale, CA 3.3 ppg 2.5 rpg 0.5 apg 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 9.8 ppg 4.5 rpg 1.0 bpg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Sr. Omaha, NE 8.6 ppg 3.6 rpg 3.1 apg 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 Jr. Riverside, CA 2.9 ppg 1.1 rpg 0.4 apg
OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order) 1999-2000 Stats
4 Candice Allen G 5-10 Fr. Ontario, CA 13 Aimee Grzyb G 5-7 Fr. San Jose, CA 14 Jen Chesney G 6-0 Fr. Newberg, OR 20 Julie Brase # G 5-9 Jr. Tucson, AZ 6.1 ppg 2.3 rpg 1.7 apg 21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 So. Simi Valley, CA 0.7 ppg 0.2 rpg 0.3 apg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 2.6 ppg 2.5 rpg 0.3 bpg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 Jr. Oregon City, OR 0.9 ppg 1.0 rpg # currently sidelined due to injury
The Wildcats played a pair of exhibition games earlier this month and won both by an average of 32 points per game. Arizona downed the Love & Basketball AAU team on Nov. 4, 98-53, then the Wildcats defeated the Cassovia Bardejov Slovakia club, 89-70, on Nov. 12.
Freshman Veranda James led the Cats during the two exhibitions, averaging 21.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore wing Krista Warren put up averages of 14.5 ppg and 7.5 rpg while hitting nearly 71 percent from the floor.
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney (12.0 ppg), senior guard Reshea Bristol (11.5 ppg) and junior guard Tysell Bozeman (10.5 ppg) each averaged double digits in scoring over the two contests. Pickney grabbed a team-best average of 8.5 rebounds per game.
The Wildcats are coming off a year which saw them go 25-7 overall and 13-5 in Pac-10 play, finishing in a tie for second with Stanford. The UA made its fourth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, falling in the second round to eventual national runner-up Tennessee.
Eight letterwinners return from last year's team, headlined by the squad's lone senior, guard Reshea Bristol, who is one of the returning starters. Pickney is the only other returning starter and is the team's top returning scorer (9.8 ppg) and rebounder (4.5 rpg).
After starting 19 contests last season, junior guard Julie Brase was slated as a starter for this year before preseason wrist surgery sidelined her possibly until January. Bozeman, Warren and junior center LaKeisha Taylor are now expected to press for starting spots. Junior center Michelle Mitchell and sophomore guard Jamie Sturdivant round out the list of returnees.
All four Wildcat newcomers this season are expected to contribute right away. The Cats gained three freshman guards -- Candice Allen, Jen Chesney and Aimee Grzyb. The only incoming post player is Veranda James.
ABOUT BRIGHAM YOUNG:
The Cougars finished the 1999-2000 season with a 22-9 record overall and went 10-4 in Mountain West Conference action, finishing as the league runner-up. BYU was knocked off by Oklahoma in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Brigham Young returns five letterwinners, including a trio of starters. Sophomore guard Erin Thorn recorded 13.2 points, 3.7 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Cougars last season, while junior guard Stacy Jensen registered 8.3 ppg, 3.3 apg and 2.6 rpg. Junior forward Lisa Osguthorpe (4.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg) is the other returning starter.
BYU is under the guidance of fourth-year head coach Trent Shippen (Colorado State, 1990), who holds a 53-36 record with the Cougars. He has a career record of 124-62 in six years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. BRIGHAM YOUNG:
Saturday's game between Arizona and BYU resumes a series that has not been active in nearly 20 years. BYU holds the 5-2 lead in the all-time series with Arizona, although the two teams have not met since the 1978-79 season. BYU won the last meeting with Arizona, 89-86, on Jan. 26, 1979, in Tucson.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME:
Ranked No. 6 in this week's Associated Press poll, Notre Dame returns 10 letterwinners and three starters from a club that went 27-5 en route to an NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance last year. The Fighting Irish were 15-1 in Big East play, finishing second behind Connecticut. Also ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/ESPN preseason poll, Notre Dame will play at Valparaiso on Friday before facing Arizona on Monday.
Considered one of the top centers in the nation, senior Ruth Riley averaged 16.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game last year. Sophomore guard Alicia Ratay recorded 14.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg, while the third returning starter, senior guard Niele Ivey, had averages of 11.2 ppg, 6.1 apg and 3.5 rpg.
Head coach Muffet McGraw (St. Joseph's, 1977) has a 288-115 mark in 13 years at the helm of the Notre Dame program. She has a 376-156 record in 18 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. NOTRE DAME:
Arizona and Notre Dame have met only once before, with the Fighting Irish taking that contest, 85-81, on Dec. 3, 1988, at the Investors Classic in Charlottesville, Va.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT:
On Sunday, Nov. 12, Arizona played its final preseason tuneup, defeating the Slovakian club Cassovia Bardejov, 89-70.
CBK stayed close to the Cats early in the game, then Arizona scored 17 unanswered points midway through the first half to pull out to an 18-point (30-12) lead. Although CBK fought back, the Cats took a 37-26 edge into the lockerroom at the half.
The Cats pushed their lead out to 16 points (56-40) at 12:03 in the second, only to see CBK outscore them, 21-11, over the next seven minutes, cutting the lead to six (67-61). A 20-7 Arizona spurt over the final 4:37 locked-in the victory for the Wildcats.
Freshman forward Veranda James led all scorers with her 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore wing Krista Warren shot 9-for-12 from the floor en route to a 19-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney, junior guard Tysell Bozeman and freshman guard Aimee Grzyb contributed 11 points apiece. Pickney and Bozeman each had seven rebounds. Senior guard Reshea Bristol added nine points, six rebounds and a game-high nine assists.
Arizona remains on the road for another nonconference matchup, playing at perennial powerhouse UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 2 p.m. PST. The Cats then return to Tucson to kick off a five-game homestand against Rice on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 7 p.m.
With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won five straight season openers and seven in the nine years she has been at the UA.
CATS INK EARLY SIGNEES:
The Arizona women's basketball program signed four players on the first day of the early signing period last week. Forwards Danielle Adefeso (Santa Monica, CA/St. Monica HS) and Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, CA/Hanford HS) and guards Robin Roberson (Berkeley, CA/Berkeley HS) and Dee Dee Wheeler (Chicago, IL/Dunbar HS) will all join the Wildcats for the 2001-02 season
Arizona women's basketball season tickets are on sale now. The tickets are $65 each for the general public or $55 each for senior citizens, youth and UA faculty and staff. For more information, call the UA Athletic Ticket Office at (520) 621-2287.
ARIZONA IN THE RANKINGS:
Although the Wildcats are not currently nationally ranked, they did receive votes for ranking in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN polls. In the Nov. 13 A.P. poll, the Cats earned 13 votes, while they picked up 71 votes in the USA Today/ESPN Preseason Coaches Poll (Nov. 6).
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI:
Entering her 10th year at the helm of the Arizona women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Bonvicini has posted a 159-105 (.602) mark in nine seasons at Arizona and has as many wins at the UA as all six of the previous Wildcat coaches combined. In 21 years as a collegiate head coach, Bonvicini has a 484-176 (.733) career record. She also has a 23-14 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 14 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.
THE REST OF THE STAFF:
Awarded the title of associate head coach two years ago, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is beginning her ninth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Third-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 second year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.
DID YOU KNOW:
Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 85-77 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 51-21 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Wed. Nov. 15 6-9 p.m. McKale Thurs. Nov. 16 6-8:30 p.m. McKale Fri. Nov. 17 4:30-7 p.m. Bear Down (lifting before) Sat. Nov. 18 vs. Brigham Young, 2 p.m. Sun. Nov. 19 depart for Notre Dame, 8 a.m. Mon. Nov. 20 at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. EST Tues. Nov. 21 return from Notre Dame - no practice Wed. Nov. 22 6-9 p.m. McKale Thurs. Nov. 23 9 a.m.-12 p.m. McKale (lifting after) Fri. Nov. 24 10 a.m.-12 p.m. McKale (lifting after) Sat. Nov. 25 8-10:30 a.m. McKale depart for Santa Barbara, 11:45 a.m.
INJURY BUG STRIKES EARLY:
The Cats have been afflicted with a rash of early season injuries. Junior guard Julie Brase had right wrist surgery late in September and could be out until January. Freshman guard Jen Chesney had left ankle surgery in August and has been cleared to play but is not back at 100 percent yet. Junior center LaKeisha Taylor suffered a right ankle sprain during practice last week, but is expected to play on Saturday.
The Cats lost five impact players at the end of the 2000 season. Guards Lisa Griffith, the Pac-10 career three-point leader, and Felecity Willis were fixtures in the Wildcat backcourt for four years. Junior college transfers Tatum Brown, last year's leading rebounder and an All-Pac-10 selection, and Angela Lackey, last season's top scorer, have exhausted their eligibility as well. The Cats also lost the defensive prowess and steadiness of guard Monika Crank.
Several of Arizona's 2001 opponents have been listed in the preseason rankings.
In Monday's Associated Press Preseason Top 25, Notre Dame was No. 6, Stanford was No. 12, Auburn was No. 23, and Oregon was No. 24. UC Santa Barbara, USC, UCLA and Nebraska were among teams receiving votes for ranking.
In the Nov. 6 USA Today/ESPN Preseason Coaches Poll, Notre Dame was No. 5, Stanford was No. 14 and Auburn was No. 20. UC Santa Barbara, Oregon, Kansas, USC, UCLA, Nebraska Rice and Brigham Young were all among the teams receiving votes.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK:
Junior guard Julie Brase is third on the UA career list for three-point percentage (.381), eighth in three-pointers made (51) and 10th in three-pointers attempted (134).
Senior guard Reshea Bristol is seventh on the Arizona career list in free throws attempted (320), eighth in free throws made (232), ninth in three-point percentage (.292), ninth in three-pointers attempted (144) and 10th in three-pointers made (42).
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney is fifth on the career list in free throw percentage (.758) and in blocked shots (66). She needs only two blocked shots to move into the No. 4 spot.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 92-41 mark in McKale Center, including a 61-13 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 158-149 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...:
Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 25-19 in games settled by five points or less, including a 9-4 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.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER:
It seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 28-year history of UA 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.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Twenty of Arizona's wins last year were by an average of 10 points or more... Each loss was by an average of only 8.9 points per game... The Cats hit five or more 3-pointers in 19 games... Arizona had 20 or more assists in 13 games... The Cats had 10 or more steals in 19 games... Arizona forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 20 contests.
KEYS TO THE WIN:
Last season, Arizona was... 21-5 when out-rebounding its opponent... 20-1 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 22-6 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 21-2 when scoring 70 points or more... 18-2 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent... 19-6 when three or more players reached double digits in scoring.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION:
The Cats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for four different games...
Fri., Dec. 29 Kansas Fox Sports Net 6:30 p.m. Sat., Jan. 6 at Stanford Bay TV 7:30 p.m. PST Sat., Feb. 10 at Washington St. Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST Sun., Feb. 18 USC Fox Sports Net 2 p.m.
The Mar. 3 contest at Oregon and the Mar. 10 contest against California have been selected as potential TV games. The television status of each contest will be determined approximately 12 days before the specified dates.
WHAT THE COACHES THINK:
Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
1. Stanford t6. UCLA 2. Oregon t6. Washington 3. USC 8. Oregon State 4. ARIZONA 9. California 5. Arizona State 10. Washington State
The Pac-10 women's basketball media members picked Arizona to finish fourth, as well.
BUT WE CAN DO BETTER:
In each of the previous three years, Arizona has equalled or bettered the Pac-10 coaches' pick for its finish... 2000 - picked fourth, finished tied for second; 1999 - picked fifth, finished fourth; 1998 - picked second, finished tied for second.
The Wildcats were 12-3 at home last season, 9-4 in road games and 4-0 in neutral contests.
The Arizona women's basketball program has a 318-396 (.445) all-time record, however it is 122-60 (.670) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 175-91 career record against Pac-10 teams.
PAC-10 APPROVES CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS:
The Pacific-10 Conference Chief Executive Officers have approved the establishment of men's and women's post-season basketball tournaments.
The men's tournament will be an eight-team event to be staged at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The women's tournament will be a 10-team event hosted on campus by one of the Pac-10 members. Both tournaments will begin in March 2002. In each case, the winner of the Tournament will earn the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The Conference previously conducted a men's tournament following the 1987 through 1990 seasons. It has never sponsored a similar event for women.
OREGON TO HOST FIRST TOURNAMENT:
Oregon has been selected as the first school to host the Pac-10 women's basketball tournament. The historical event will take place in March 2002 on the UO campus.
1999-2000 IN REVIEW:
After returning 10 letterwinners and all five starters from the previous year's squad, the 1999-2000 Wildcats utilized their depth and experience to roll to a 25-7 overall mark, setting a new school record for most wins in a season. The Cats garnered a 13-5 record in Pac-10 play, finishing in a tie for second with Stanford.
Arizona opened the season with a nine-game win streak and went on to register an 11-1 mark in non-conference action. By winning their first Pac-10 game to improve to 12-1, the Cats tied the school record for the best start in the history of the program.
Pac-10 play brought about several historical moments as well. With wins at Washington State and Washington during the second weekend of January, the Cats earned their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. They repeated the feat during the final weekend of the regular season, recording their first-ever road sweep of Stanford and California.
The Wildcats earned their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament berth, ending up as the No. 8 seed in the Mideast Region. Arizona travelled to Knoxville, Tenn., where it downed No. 9 seed Kent, 73-61, in the first round of the tournament. The Cats faced No. 1 seed and eventual national runner-up Tennessee in the second round and put up a valiant fight, only to fall, 75-60.
The UA set or tied 23 school records during the season, including most wins in a season (25), highest winning percentage (.781), most three-point field goals made in a season (162) and most points in a season (2,484). The Wildcats were ranked 21st in the final Associated Press Poll of the year and were 20th in the last USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring (77.6 ppg), scoring margin (+9.9 ppg) and assists (17.94 apg). The Cats were second in three-point field goal percentage (.379), rebounding margin (+4.3 rpg), steals (10.31 spg), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.89) and three-point field goals made (5.06 per game).
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT:
With 12.7 points per game, forward Angela Lackey finished as Arizona's leading scorer for the second straight year. She was second in rebounding, at 5.3 per game. Fellow forward Tatum Brown was second in scoring, with 12.4 points per game, and was the team's top rebounder, with 7.7 boards per contest. Forward Elizabeth Pickney was third in both categories, averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Guards Lisa Griffith (8.9 ppg), Reshea Bristol (8.6 ppg), Felecity Willis (7.8 ppg) and Julie Brase (6.1 ppg) followed on the scoring chart. Willis was the team's assists leader, at 5.3 per game, while Griffith had the highest steals average, at 2.1 per game.
Tatum Brown ended the season as the Pac-10 leader in field goal percentage (.590) and was third in rebounding (7.7 rpg). Felecity Willis was third in the league in assists (5.28 apg), and Lisa Griffith was fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.420).
Wildcat head coach Joan Bonvicini made her 14th career trip to the NCAA tournament. She has a 23-14 career record in NCAA play and has never lost an NCAA first-round game. With a 159-104 mark in nine years at Arizona, she has compiled as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined.
THE CATS AND THE NCAA TOURNEY:
Arizona made its first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 1997, receiving a No. 7 seed in the West Region. The Cats defeated 25th-ranked Western Kentucky in the first round, then went on to scare host and sixth-ranked Georgia (80-74) in the second game.
In 1998, the Cats entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the East Region. The UA swept through the first two games, picking up wins over Santa Clara and Virginia and making it into the Sweet Sixteen only to fall to third-ranked Connecticut.
In 1999, the Wildcats received their third consecutive berth, earning a No. 6 seed in the Midwest Region. The Cats pulled off an 87-84 overtime victory over Florida in the first game, and were subsequently pounded, 90-47, by ninth-ranked host team Rutgers.
Last season, despite owning the best overall record in school history, Arizona was handed its lowest seeding ever, at No. 8. However, for the fourth year in a row, the Wildcats won their first-round matchup, defeating Kent, 73-61, on Mar. 18. The Cats lost in the second round to No. 1 seed and eventual national runner-up Tennessee, 75-60.
Arizona has been placed in a different region in each of its four years of NCAA tournament competition.