In 1976, Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson starred in a bad Hollywood remake of a good movie entitled A Star is Born. Previous versions of this tale appeared in theatres across the country in 1937 and 1954 and a new edition is now playing at McKale Center. But this time the star isn’t Streisand, Kristofferson, or Judy Garland. This time, the emerging star is a freshman basketball guard by the name of Ashley Whisonant!
Whisonant (wiss-oh-nant) is a 5-8 freshman guard from Bowie, Maryland. While starring at St. John’s High School, she averaged 17 points per game and rung up eight assists per contest. She was also a two-time Street & Smith’s honorable mention All-American. However, Whisonant arrived at Arizona under the shadow of Tucson’s own Jessica Arnold. Whisonant is no longer in the shadows. Saturday and Sunday, she emerged as a star in the making.
While her Wildcats were crushing UNC Greensboro on Saturday afternoon, this bespectacled, soft-spoken freshman scored a career-high 16 points. She also chipped in two rebounds, three assists and three steals. To prove that this outing was no fluke, Whisonant came back and tallied 11 points and four rebounds in Arizona’s convincing victory over a representative Weber State squad and was named to the Fiesta Classic all-tournament team. It was official ?- a star was being born!
It is difficult to describe what kind of player Whisonant is and will become. She is certainly a gifted passer, a solid shooter and can get up and down the floor in a hurry. But I think the terms I would use to describe her play would be “reliable” and “steady.” She may not knock your socks off when you see her play, but I have the feeling that she will put up consistent numbers as her career at the UA progresses. She is not flashy; she is just very good!
What does all of this mean to the Wildcats? It means that Arizona is building on a solid foundation. Whisonant, Arnold and redshirt junior Joy Hollingsworth will make for a dangerous backcourt when superstar Dee-Dee Wheeler departs after this season. Each one of the aforementioned players is good enough to become All-Pac 10 performers. Each one is capable of being a star.
So, if you have had enough of the usual Hollywood remakes and over the hill stars like Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, check out the new show at McKale Center. Her name is Ashley Whisonant and she is the real deal!
See you on the radio!
Each Arizona Women’s Basketball game can be heard live on AM 1330 KJLL.