COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (7-14, 3-8) hosts Southern California (13-7, 7-4) for a 7 p.m. game this Thursday, Feb. 2, at McKale. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com. Live audio of the game is also available on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: For the first time in nearly five years, the Wildcats fell to Washington State, losing 84-77 at Friel Court Saturday afternoon. Arizona shot 39 percent from the field, 26 percent from beyond the arc and 88 percent from the free throw line on the game. Washington State connected on 52 percent from the field, 27 percent from downtown and 77 percent from the charity stripe on the game. The Cougars also out-rebounded the Wildcats 42 to 32. The only statistic Arizona won was the turnover battle, as the Wildcats forced WSU into 20 miscues while committing just 10. Senior Natalie Jones led Arizona with 28 points, 19 of which came in the second half. She also added 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Junior Joy Hollingsworth and sophomore Ashley Whisonant added 15 points apiece. Freshman Malia O'Neal dished out six assists in the loss.
Hollingsworth leads Arizona this season with 14.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Jones adds 13.8 points per game, while Whisonant averages 13.6 points. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 40 percent from the field, compared to the 47 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 35.0 to 39.0.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: No. 23 USC held a seven-point lead entering the final five minutes of play against No. 11 Stanford, but the Cardinal came from behind to get a 78-69 win over USC at the Lyon Center Sunday afternoon. The Women of Troy shot just 38 percent on the game, compared to the 53 percent of Stanford. USC had three double-digit scorers, with Eshaya Murphy tossing in her 14th consecutive game in double figures on a 16-point scoring effort. Camille LeNoir finished with 13 points, while Chlo?© Kerr had 10 for the Trojans. Meghan Gnekow was USC’s leading rebounder with seven boards.
On the season, the Women of Troy are led by Murphy, who averages 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. LeNoir adds 12.8 points and 3.9 assists per game. As a team, USC is shooting 40 percent from the field on the season, the same as its opponents. The Trojans are out-rebounding their opponents 41.2 to 36.4.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona trails the all-time series with USC 16-40. The last time the two teams met, on Jan. 8, USC won 76-60 in Los Angeles. The Wildcats are 10-16 at home, 6-22 away and 0-2 at a neutral site vs. the Trojans.
INJURY UPDATE: Sophomore Ch?© Oh suffered a concussion at Washington State last Saturday and is out indefinitely. Freshman Amina Njonkou re-aggravated her right foot at Stanford on Jan. 19 and is day-to-day. Junior Linda Pace suffered a left knee injury against Washington State on Dec. 29 and is out for the rest of the season.
JONES JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB: Senior Natalie Jones became just the 14th Arizona player ever to reach 1,000 points on her career on a free throw at the 2:02 mark of the second half at Washington State last Saturday. The guard now has 1,006 points on her career.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: As a team, Arizona ranks in the bottom half of the conference in every statistical category but offensive rebounds (second), free throw percentage (third), turnover margin (fourth), steals (fifth) and three-point field goal average (fifth).
Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in various categories. Senior Natalie Jones is second in free throw percentage (.840), fifth in minutes per game (34.7) and sixth in steals (2.3). Junior Joy Hollingsworth is fifth in three-point field goal average (2.1), and 10th in both scoring (14.5) and minutes per game (33.1). Sophomore Ashley Whisonant is sixth in assists (3.5), while freshman Whitney Fields is third (2.8) and sophomore Ch?© Oh is eighth in offensive rebounds (2.6).
SHOOTING SORROWS LEAD TO LOSSES: In 13 of their 14 losses this season, the Wildcats have had a worse shooting percentage than their opponents. In fact, three of the four times Arizona has produced a better field goal percentage than its opponent (Furman, Lehigh, Chicago State), the team has also won the game. The only time the Wildcats shot better than their opponent and lost was at Washington.
SHOOTING THE THREE OFTEN: Arizona has made 115 three-pointers this season, compared to the 106 of its opponents. However, the Wildcats have 84 more attempts than their counterparts, which accounts for the difference in percentage (36 percent compared to 30 percent).
HALFTIME SCORE INDICATIVE OF FINAL RESULT: In Arizona’s 21 games this season, the halftime score has been indicative of the final result 17 times. The Wildcats are 2-12 when trailing at the intermission and 5-2 when leading. The only two games Arizona won after trailing at halftime were against Oregon and at California. Conversely, the two games the Wildcats lost after leading at halftime were against Central Connecticut State and Utah.
HACK AWAY: The Wildcats are fouling quite a bit this season. In its 21 games, Arizona has committed more fouls than its opponent 15 times and the same number once. The Wildcats have fouled less than their opponent only five times, against Chicago State, Arizona State, Washington State, Oregon State and Oregon. Arizona has committed 20 or more fouls in 11 games this season, eight of which have been losses.
WILDCAT TRIFECTA: Senior Natalie Jones, junior Joy Hollingsworth and sophomore Ashley Whisonant lead the Wildcats this season. The trio account for 61 percent of the team’s points. Hollingsworth and Whisonant have reached double-digit scoring in 18 of the 21 games, while Jones has 10 or more points in 17 games.
JONES STARTS 86TH STRAIGHT GAME: Senior Natalie Jones started her 86th consecutive game at Washington State last Saturday. On her career, the guard has started 90 total games.
LACK OF SIZE EXPOSED: With the death of 6-5 Shawntinice Polk and the medical redshirt of 6-2 Shannon Hobson, Arizona is left without much size inside. As a result, the Wildcats have been out-rebounded in 15 of their 21 games this season. In those 15 games, the Wildcats have managed just 32.3 rebounds to their opponents’ 41.4 (-9.1).
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones is tied for second all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.773), fifth in three-point field goals attempted (351), sixth in free throws made (273), seventh in three-point field goals made (103), eighth in games started (90), free throws attempted (353) and minutes played (3,276), ninth in personal fouls (297) and tied for ninth in minutes per game (28.0).
PAC-10 ACTIVE CAREER LEADERS: Arizona boasts several of the Pac-10’s active career statistical leaders. Senior Natalie Jones ranks second in assists (285), fourth in steals (175), fifth in three-point field goals made (103), sixth in scoring (1,006) and seventh in rebounds (492). Junior Joy Hollingsworth ranks fifth in three-point field goals made (113), sixth in assists (139), eighth in scoring (893), and ninth in both rebounds (425) and steals (109).
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 was ranked as high as No. 8, while Pac-10 teams USC and Arizona State were ranked in all four 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.
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.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM. Paul Johnson is in his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer.
UP NEXT: Arizona hosts UCLA for a 4 p.m. game Saturday, Feb. 4, at McKale.