COMING UP: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (6-10, 0-4 Pac-10) hosts the Washington State Cougars (5-10, 1-4 Pac-10) on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center. The Wildcats look to snap a five-game losing streak and grab their first win in Pac-10 play.
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.
Live statistics and live video feeds are available at Arizona athletics department official website: arizonaathletics.com
WASHINGTON RECAP: Washington (12-4, 5-0 Pac-10) held off a near second half comeback by Arizona (6-10, 0-4 Pac-10) to earn an 83-66 win over the Wildcats on Thursday night in McKale Center. The win gives the Huskies their ninth consecutive, as the loss is Arizona’s fifth straight.
Arizona trailed by as many as 16 early in the second half, but put together a 13-3 run over 4:24 and trailed 60-54 with 8:12 left to play in the game. The Huskies responded with a 21-8 run of their own to pull away down the stretch.
The Wildcats finished the game shooting 33.3 percent (20-60) from the field, with a 4-of-18 mark (22.2 percent) mark from three point range, while shooting a season-high 84.6 percent (22-26) from the free throw line. Washington shot 49. 2 percent (17-35) from the field, including an 8-of-17 mark (47.1 percent) from behind the arc.
Arizona out-rebounded Washington 36-34, and finished with 10 steals.
Individually for Arizona, senior Joy Hollingsworth led all scorers with a career-high 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds and three steals. Sophomore Whitney Fields posted six points and eight rebounds (seven offensive), and sophomore Amina Njonkou added seven points and seven rebounds.
Senior guard Cameo Hicks finished with 18 points, three rebounds, and six assists for Washington.
Arizona hung close with Washington for much of the first half, trailing 26-22 after two free throws by Fields with 5:00 left before halftime. Washington expanded its lead to 37-27 with 2:44 left to play in the first on a layup by Breanne Watson, and led 41-33 at the half. Arizona shot 38.7 percent (12-31) from the floor in the first half, compared to a 48.6 percent (17-35) mark for the Huskies.
UW ran out to a 57-41 lead at the 12:38 mark in the second half, but Arizona responded with a 13-3 run in the next 4:24, holding the Huskies without a field goal for over three minutes to cut the deficit to 60-54 with 8:12 left. The Wildcats would get no closer than that as Washington outscored Arizona 23-12 the rest of the way for the 17-point win. Arizona shot 27.6 percent (8-29) from the field in the second half, including a 1-of-10 mark from three point range. Washington shot 50.0 percent (15-30) after halftime.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 63.8 points a game while shooting 39.8 percent (393-988) from the field, 25.2 percent (63-250) from three-point range, and 67.6 percent (171-253) from the free throw line. The Wildcats have also tallied 159 steals (9.9 spg) off of 325 opponent turnovers. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 15.4 points a game while posting 6.0 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game.
ABOUT THE COUGARS: The Washington State University Cougars enter Saturday’s game with a 5-10 overall record and a 1-4 mark in the Pac-10, riding a four-game losing streak. The Cougars beat Oregon State on the road (58-41) for its first Pac-10 win, and are 2-5 on the road so far this season. WSU lost to Arizona State, 89-44, on Thursday night. As a team, WSU shoots 37.8 percent (340-900) from the floor, 28.5 percent (59-207) from three point range, and 60.3 percent (184-305) from the free throw line, while averaging 61.5 points a game. Freshman forward Marissa Stotler leads the team with 10.5 points a game. Head coach Sherri Murrell is in her fifth year at the helm of the Cougar program.
THE WASHINGTON STATE-ARIZONA SERIES: Saturday’s game will be the 41st meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Cougars on the hardwood, with Arizona owning a 22-18 all-time series advantage. Last season, Washington State broke a nine-game losing streak to Arizona with an 84-77 win over the Wildcats in Pullman, Wash. Arizona has won 13 of the last 15 games in the series, and has not lost to the Cougars in Tucson since 1998. Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 20-10 against WSU, winning the last eight straight against the Cougars in McKale Center.
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 15 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 272-192 (.586) mark at Arizona and is 597-263 (.694) in 27 years as a head coach, needing just three wins to become the 18th coach in NCAA history to reach 600 career wins. She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances.
PAC-THIS: After facing four ranked opponents in a tough non-conference schedule, things didn’t get any easier for the Wildcats at the start of the Pac-10 schedule. Arizona opened Pac-10 play at No. 10 Arizona State on Dec. 22, at No. 14 Stanford, and at No. 18 California. Arizona returned home to face its first non-ranked Pac-10 opponent in Washington, a Husky team that won eight in a row and was in first place in the conference at 4-0. The Wildcats will play five of their first seven Pac-10 games on the road.
TOUGH BEATS: Arizona has lost 10 games on the season, but their beats have come against some of the top teams in the nation. Entering Saturday’s game against Washington, Arizona's 10 losses have been against teams with a combined record of 109-32 (.773), with seven of those losses being to ranked teams.
GOTTA HAVE ONE: Arizona is off to its first 0-4 start in the Pac-10 Conference since 1991-92, head coach Joan Bonvicini's first season with the Wildcats. Arizona has not started the Pac-10 season off 0-5 since 1990-91, as the Wildcats started 0-11 that season.
HOME AGAINST THE PAC: Arizona has been very successful at home in McKale Center, especially during Pac-10 Conference play. Since the 1995-96 season, Arizona is 74-26 (.740) against Pac-10 teams at home, including a 64-20 mark (.762) since the 1997-98 season. The Wildcats once owned a 20-game winning streak against the Pac-10 at home, which included two undefeated (9-0) seasons in 2003 and 2004. The Wildcats went 2-7 at home against Pac-10 teams last season, and are 0-1 at home so far this season.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 6-3 this season when leading at halftime. However, the Wildcats are 1-2 in their last three games, each of which Arizona led at the half.
MAGIC NUMBER: So far this season, Arizona is a perfect 4-0 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 1-7 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: 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
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
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
21 points: 26-5 run to Texas A&M in the final 7:31 of the first half
20 points: 26-6 run to Arizona State over 9:26 to start 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
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: 16-4 run to New Mexico over 5:21 to start the first half
11 points: 15-4 run to New Mexico over 4:51 midway through the second half
10 points: 10-0 run to Utah over 3:16 in the first half
WATCH YOUR POCKETS: The Wildcats have excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this season. Arizona has tallied 159 steals (9.9 spg) on the season, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has forced 325 opponent turnovers, converting 274 points (17.1 ppg) off of turnovers. The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in nine games this season, including 10 steals against Washington on Thursday. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.5 spg, the third-best mark in the Pac-10.
SPLINTERS OUT: Arizona's depth is certainly displayed in the team's bench play, as reserves have totaled 290 bench points in 16 games (18.1 ppg). Arizona has posted double-figures in bench points 13 of its 16 games this season, as the bench has accounted for 28.4 percent of the team's 1020 points. The Wildcats finished with 25 bench points against Arizona State, and 30 points off the bench (51.7 percent of the team's 58 total points) against Stanford, with 16 bench points against Washington
OFFENSIVE BOARDS: So far this season, the Wildcats have done a solid job on the offensive glass. On the year, the Wildcats have grabbed 219 offensive rebounds, leading to 205 second-chance points. Arizona is averaging 13.7 offensive rebounds and 12.8 second-chance points a game, and has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 12 of 16 games. Arizona finished with 15 offensive rebounds against Washington.
BOARDS: Arizona out-rebounded the Huskies 36-34 in the game on Thursday, dropping its second consecutive game when out-rebounding the opposition. Arizona also out-rebounded Arizona State 36-34 on Dec. 22 in a loss. Before that, the Wildcats were 4-0 when pulling down more rebounds then the opposition.
AT THE LINE: Although Arizona did not shoot well from the field against Washington on Thursday, the Wildcats did a great job at hitting their free throws. Arizona shot a season-high 84.6 percent from the free throw line against the Huskies, connecting on 22-of-26 attempts. The effort raised the team average from 65.6 percent to 67.6 percent. The 22 free throws made was the second-best mark this season.
BACK AT IT: Senior Joy Hollingsworth rebounded nicely from a recent shooting slump, scoring a career-best 31 points on 10-of-24 shooting from the field against UW on Thursday in a season-high 40 minutes of action. Her performance is the second-highest point total by a Pac-10 player so far this season, and is the highest mark by an Arizona player since Dee-Dee Wheeler scored 35 points against UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 16, 2004. In her previous two games, Hollingsworth averaged just 3.5 points per game, while shooting 2-of-22 (0.09 percent) from the field, with a 0-of-9 mark from three point range. She scored a season-low two points against Stanford, and tallied five points at California.
The Seattle native is averaging a team-best 15.4 points a game (8th in the Pac-10), as she has scored 22 points or more on five different occasions. She is also averaging 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game, and has posted double-figure point totals in 13 out of 16 games this season. Hollingsworth is shooting 38.2 percent from the field (87-228), and averages 14 shots from the field a game.
WHITNEY VS. UW: It seems sophomore Whitney Fields enjoys playing the Washington Huskies in McKale Center. The 6-foot-1 forward finished Thursday’s game with a six points and a season-high eight rebounds, seven of which were on the offensive glass, in a season-high 17 minutes played. Last season, Fields posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Huskies. On the season, Fields is averaging 2.0 points and 2.3 rebounds a game in 7.7 minutes of play.
STEPPING UP: With junior point guard Ashley Whisonant out of the starting lineup with an injured knee on Thursday, sophomore Malia O’Neal stepped in and played solid minutes for the Wildcats. In her second start of the season, the Seattle native posted three points, three rebounds, three steals, and two assists in a career-high 36 minutes of playing time. On the season, O’Neal is averaging 2.5 points and 2.0 assists a game.
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 9.2 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds a game. She leads the team with 49 offensive rebounds, and is shooting 49.2 percent (58-118) from the field. 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. So far this season, she has recorded five rebounds or more in 14 of her 16 games, as she finished with seven points and seven rebounds against Washington.
In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 8.3 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
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, seven of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25. So far this season, Arizona is 0-7 against ranked opposition.
CATS PICKED TO FINISH SEVENTH IN 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 travel to Eugene, Ore., for a game against the Oregon Ducks on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. (PST).