COMING UP: The University of Arizona women’s basketball team (6-5) hosts the Fresno State Bulldogs (4-4) to close out its non-conference schedule on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.
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
LONG BEACH STATE RECAP: Arizona held Long Beach State to 26.7 percent shooting from the field, including a 12.0 percent mark in the second half to cruise to a 77-39 win over the 49ers on Tuesday night in McKale Center.
The Wildcats limited Long Beach State to 12 field goals and 39 points in the game, totals that rank as the second-lowest opponent marks in school history.
Arizona shot a season-high 47.8 percent (32-67) from the field in the game, and forced a season-best 32 turnovers for a season-high 15 steals, converting those turnovers into 37 points.
Individually for Arizona, senior Joy Hollingsworth scored a season-high 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field, and junior Jessica Arnold finished with 13 points. Junior Ashley Whisonant posted nine points, five rebounds, six assists, and five steals, and junior Suzy Bofia added nine points, nine rebounds, and three blocked shots.
Arizona opened the game with a 14-4 scoring run capped by a three by Hollingsworth at the 12:37 mark. Long Beach State cut the deficit to 16-10 with 9:35 left to play but would get no closer after that, as Arizona used a 9-2 run to take a 25-12 lead at the 6:28 mark. The Wildcats shot 44.1 percent (15-34) in the first half, and led 37-25 at halftime.
The Wildcats raced out with a 10-0 run at the start of the second half to take a commanding 47-35 lead, holding Long Beach State scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half. Arizona led by as many as 40 in the second half, limiting the 49ers to just 3-of-25 shooting from the field. UA posted a 51.5 (17-33) mark from the field in the second half.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 66.0 points a game while shooting 41.6 percent (283-681) from the field, 25.9 percent (45-174) from three-point range, and 66.5 percent (115-173) from the free throw line. The Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents 412-407, and have tallied 107 steals (9.7 spg) off of 230 opponent turnovers. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 16.0 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.0 steals per game.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS: The Fresno State Bulldogs entered the week with a 4-4 overall record, dropping four of their last five contests. The Bulldogs host San Francisco on Saturday night before traveling to Tucson for Monday’s game. Fresno State is 1-4 on the road so far this season, but has scored wins at Utah (61-55), and over No. 18 BYU (61-51) and No. 23 Texas Tech (74-65) at home. As a team, Fresno State shoots 39.3 percent (181-461) from the field, 32.8 percent (38-116) from three-point range, and 70.5 percent (117-166) from the free throw line. Senior guard Chantella Perera leads the team with 15.3 points a game, and junior guard Tierre Wilson adds 14.3 points a game. Head coach Adrian Wiggins is in his third season at the helm of the Bulldog program.
THE FRESNO STATE-ARIZONA SERIES: Monday’s game will be the fourth meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Bulldogs on the hardwood, with Fresno State owning a 2-1 series advantage. Fresno State beat the Wildcats last season, 81-70, in the Save Mart Center, and is 1-1 all-time against Arizona in McKale Center. The Wildcats only win in the series was a 92-55 victory on Dec. 10, 2000 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 272-187 (.593) mark at Arizona and is 597-258 (.698) in 27 years as a head coach, needing just three wins to become the 13th 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.
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.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 6-2 this season when leading at halftime.
BISCUIT IN BASKET: Arizona broke out of a shooting slump against Long Beach State on Tuesday, posting a season-best 47.8 mark (32-67) from the field in the game, including a 51.5 percent (17-33) mark in the second half. The Wildcats’ 32 field goals was the second-highest mark of the season, two away from the season-high of 34 set against Nicholls State in the opener. UA also shot 35.3 percent (6-17) from three-point range, its highest mark in five games. In the four contests prior to the Long Beach State game, the Wildcats shot a combined 38.6 percent (90-233) from the field, and 19.1 percent (13-68) from three point range.
GETTING DEFESIVE: The Arizona defense forced Long Beach State to commit 32 turnovers on Tuesday, an opponent season high, as the Wildcats went on to post 37 points off of those turnovers, also a season high.
PRESSURE DEFENSE: The Wildcats had their best defensive effort on Tuesday, holding Long Beach State to 39 points, 12 field goals, and a 26.7 percent (12-45) field goal percentage, all opponent lows for the season. Arizona limited the 49ers to just 14 points on 3-of-25 shooting (12.0 percent) in the second half.
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Just how good was Arizona’s defense on Tuesday night? Long Beach State’s 12 field goals and 39 points in the game are totals that rank as the second-lowest opponent marks in school history.
FAST CATS: Arizona’s ability to force the turnover against the 49ers paid dividends, as the Wildcats outscored Long Beach State 18-2 on fast-break points.
KEEP STANDING: Arizona fans in McKale Center have a tradition of standing at the beginning of each half until the opposing team scores its first point. On Tuesday, those fans probably forgot where their seats were because the Wildcats made them stand for the first five minutes of the second half, holding the 49ers scoreless during that entire stretch.
REJECTED: Arizona posted a season-high five blocked shots against the 49ers on Tuesday after failing to record a block in the previous two outings. Junior Suzy Bofia led the way with a career-high three blocks, and leads the team with 10 blocks on the season.
POST POWER: Arizona's post play has powered the Wildcat offense so far this season. Arizona has scored 356 points in the paint, which is nearly 50 percent of the team's total offensive production. The Wildcats are averaging 32.4 points in the paint each game, and had 40 such points against Long Beach State on Tuesday.
POST PICKUP: Although Arizona's post play has anchored the Wildcat offense in the early season, the Arizona backcourt has picked up the offensive production for the post as of late. In the last two games, the Arizona backcourt has scored 99 of the team’s 137 points (72.3 percent). The Arizona backcourt combined to score 47 of the team’s 60 points (78.3 percent) against Utah, and 52 of the team’s 77 points (67.5 percent) against Long Beach State.
FREE THROWS = FREE POINTS: In the last five games, Arizona has shot 70 percent or better from the free throw line in each contest, as the Wildcats are shooting 73.3 percent (55-75) from the charity stripe during that span. As a team, Arizona is shooting 66.5 percent (115-173) from the line, as UA was shooting 61.2 percent (60-98) before the previous five contests.
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: 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
16 points: 21-5 run to UTEP in the final 3:37 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
ON THE REBOUND: So far this season, Arizona has out-rebounded its opposition 412-407. The Wildcats have grabbed 150 offensive rebounds, leading to 148 second-chance points. Arizona is averaging 13.6 offensive rebounds and 13.5 second-chance points a game, and has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in eight of 11 games.
WATCH YOUR POCKETS: Arizona has tallied 107 steals (9.7 spg) on the season off of 230 opponent turnovers, converting 223 points (20.3 ppg) off of turnovers so far this season. The Wildcats posted a season-best 15 steals against Long Beach State on Tuesday. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 3.0 spg.
SPLINTERS OUT: Arizona's depth is certainly displayed in the team's bench play, as reserves have totaled 195 bench points in 11 games (17.7 ppg). Arizona has posted double-figures in bench points nine of its 11 games this season, as the bench has accounted for 26.9 percent of the team's 726 points. The Wildcats finished with 29 bench points on Tuesday against Long Beach State.
LOTTA ACTION: Arizona has some depth this year (when healthy), and look for the Wildcats to take advantage of it. In 11 games, nine players are averaging double-figures in playing time. In the past seven games, seven Wildcats or more have posted double-figures in playing time, as nine Wildcats played 10 minutes or more against Long Beach State.
HEATING UP: Junior guard Jessica Arnold has been an offensive spark for the Wildcats lately. In the last two outings, the 5-foot-4 Tucson native is averaging 16.5 points a game, while shooting 52.0 percent (13-25) from the field, including a 40.0 percent mark (6-15) from three-point range. Arnold posted a game-high and season-high 20 points (one off her career high) on 8-of-15 shooting from the field, including a 3-of-8 mark from three-point range, to go with three rebounds and three assists against Utah, and 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor against Long Beach State. Before the last two games, Arnold was averaging 4.1 points a game, while shooting 25.6 percent (11-43) from the field, and 18.2 percent (4-22) from three-point range. On the season, Arnold is now averaging 6.6 points a game.
GIVE HER THE ROCK: Senior Joy Hollingsworth has proven she can put the ball in the basket during her career, and she is continuing her scoring ways this season. The 5-foot-10 guard is averaging a team-best 16.0 points a game, as she scored 22 points or more on four different occasions. Against Long Beach State, Hollingsworth posted a season-high 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field. She is also averaging 6.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals a game, and has posted double-figure point totals in 10 out of 11 games this season. Hollingsworth is shooting 41.6 percent from the field (64-154), and averages 14 shots from the field a game.
ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant has upped her performance in the last five games, as she is averaging 13.4 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.4 steals a game during that span. Against Long Beach State, Whisonant posted nine points, five rebounds, a season-high six assists, and a season-high five steals. On the season, Whisonant is averaging 11.8 points and a team-best 3.7 assists per game.
PLAYING TALL: Junior Suzy Bofia bounced back nicely after a scoreless performance against Utah. Against Long Beach State, the 6-foot-6 center finished with nine points, a career-high nine rebounds, and a career-best three blocked shots in 22 minutes off the bench. On the season, Bofia is averaging 6.2 points and 4.9 rebounds a contest.
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 0-4 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.
DECEMBER NUMBERS: Arizona is 74-31 (.705) since 1991 under Joan Bonvicini in the month of December, including a 60-20 (.750) mark in the month since the start of the 1995-96 season. The Wildcats have gone undefeated in the month of December three times, while losing just one game in the month three other times. Arizona is 2-2 so far in the month of December.
UP NEXT: Arizona will open its Pac-10 Conference schedule at arch-rival Arizona State on Friday, Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Center.