WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (25th A.P./24th USA Today) plays its final exhibition contest of the preseason this week. The Wildcats will take on the New Zealand National Team on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 1998-99 Stats 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 So. Houston, TX 11.4 ppg 5.8 rpg 1.2 bpg 53 Tatum Brown F 6-4 Sr. Tacoma, WA 9.5 ppg 5.2 rpg 1.0 spg 20 Julie Brase G 5-9 So. Tucson, AZ 6.8 ppg 2.5 rpg 1.8 apg 22 Monika Crank G 5-7 Sr. Page, AZ *6.5 ppg *4.0 rpg *3.3 apg 23 Felecity Willis G 5-7 Sr. Apple Valley, CA 12.1 ppg 5.5 apg 2.0 spg * 1997-98 stats OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically): 1998-99 Stats 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 So. Riverside, CA 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Jr. Omaha, NE 11.1 ppg 4.4 rpg 2.7 spg 3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 Sr. Portland, OR 9.7 ppg 4.8 apg 2.3 spg 34 Angela Lackey F 6-0 Sr. Louisville, KY 14.4 ppg 5.4 rpg 1.4 spg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 So. Oregon City, OR 1.4 ppg 1.2 rpg 21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 Fr. Simi Valley, CA 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 So. Houston, TX 3.8 ppg 2.8 rpg 0.4 bpg 35 Krista Warren G 6-2 Fr. Cloverdale, CA
ABOUT ARIZONA: For the third year in a row, the Wildcats enter the season nationally ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll. Arizona is ranked 25th in the AP Preseason Top 25, which was released on Tuesday. The Cats are also ranked 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason Top 25.
During their first preseason exhibition at home last Friday, the Wildcats showed their extreme depth as five players registered double digits in scoring and two others had nine points. Arizona earned a convincing 88-52 win over SBC Prerov Czech Republic.
The Wildcats are coming off a year which saw them go 18-11 overall and 12-6 in Pac-10 play, finishing fourth. The UA made its third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, despite being a very young team.
Arizona returns nine letterwinners, including all five starters, from the 1999 team. The Cats will also welcome the return of senior guard Monika Crank, who was redshirted last year after an ACL tear.
ABOUT NEW ZEALAND NATIONAL TEAM: The 12-member New Zealand National Team is making its third visit to the United States and currently has a 1-3 mark. Their 10-game tour will encompass 15 days, and they are coming off a 71-52 win at Fresno State last Sunday. The squad will play at UNLV on Wednesday before taking on the Wildcats on Thursday.
With 18.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, forward Sally Farmer leads New Zealand in both categories. Another forward, Rebecca Cotton follows in scoring at 12.5 ppg, and forward Donna Loffhagon is the second-leading rebounder at 4.8 rpg.
Sally Farmer and her sister Gina Farmer, along with Rebecca Cotton, played collegiately in the U.S. at East Central University in Ada, Okla. Guard Kirstin Egan played at Colorado State from 1989-93, and forward Susan Bocock is a sophomore with the University of New Mexico women's basketball team. Forward Julie Ofsoski and guards Tracey Kelly and Aneka Kerr all play in Australian Basketball Leagues.
During the New Zealand team's previous visit to the U.S. in 1996, the squad garnered a 9-1 mark, and in 1995 the team went 7-3. This team will represent the Oceania Zone in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. New Zealand head coach Carl Dickel has been coaching the National Women's Team since 1995.
THE LAST TIME: Arizona last faced a national team when it ran over the Mexico National Team, 90-43, in McKale on Nov. 14, 1995.
Former Wildcats Brenda Pantoja and Adia Barnes had 24 and 19 points, respectively, in the game. Andrea Constand grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds as the UA out-rebounded the Mexico team, 52-37. The Cats also held their opponent to a paltry 26.3 percent shooting from the floor and forced 32 Mexico turnovers. Arizona allowed the Mexico team to score only 14 points in the first half of the contest.
Monika Crank is the only member of the current Wildcat team who played in that exhibition game. As a freshman, she collected six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 25 minutes off the bench.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Last Friday, the Wildcats showed their depth as they ran the SBC Prerov Czech club team into the ground, 88-52.
Five Wildcats scored in double digits, led by Tatum Brown and LaKeisha Taylor with 13 points each. Elizabeth Pickney and Monika Crank had 12 points apiece, and Krista Warren posted 10 points. Pickney, Taylor and Reshea Bristol all tied for the team high with six rebounds.
The Cats opened the game with an 18-6 run and increased that lead to 21 (37-16) at the three-minute mark. The Czech team went on a 9-5 run in the final three minutes of the first half, but the Wildcats took a 16-point advantage (43-27) into the lockerroom at the break.
The UA built its lead to 55-31 in the first five minutes of the second after posting an 11-4 run. With five minutes remaining in the game, the Cats increased their lead to 40 (82-42), and then went 9-for-12 from the charity stripe over the final six minutes to seal the contest.
WHO'S BACK FOR ARIZONA: Technically, including Monika Crank, the Wildcats have 10 returnees on this year's squad. The 2000 roster is senior-laden, featuring five, and also sports one junior, five sophomores and two freshmen.
Senior forward Angela Lackey will undoubtedly be looking to reprise her role as the UA's leading scorer, after she led the Cats with 14.4 points per game last year. Fellow senior Felecity Willis, a guard, was the team's second-leading scorer (12.1 ppg) and was one of the Pac-10's assists leaders at 5.5 per game. Both Lackey and Willis were first team All-Pac-10 honorees.
Yet another senior, guard Lisa Griffith was selected honorable mention All-Pac-10 after averaging 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game. Fellow senior Tatum Brown played in 13 contests, averaging 9.5 ppg and 5.2 rpg.
The final senior is a much-welcomed returnee. Guard Monika Crank had averages of 6.5 points and 3.3 assists per game for the 1998 squad. She is well-known not only for accuracy from three-point range, but also for her defensive prowess.
Guard Reshea Bristol is the only junior on this season's roster. She averaged 11.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals per game.
A group of five sophomores is highlighted by forward Elizabeth Pickney, the team's leading rebounder (5.8 rpg) and shot-blocker (1.2 bpg) last year. Guard Julie Brase was a valuable back-court sub while posting 6.8 ppg and 2.5 rpg.
Fellow sophomores LaKeisha Taylor and Michelle Mitchell should push for more time along the front line this year.
WHO'S NEW FOR ARIZONA: Sophomore guard Tysell Bozeman will finally see action this season after sitting out last year as a partial qualifier. The 1998 Los Angeles Times Player of the Year, Bozeman is expected to give the Cats even more depth in the backcourt.
Another freshman, the 6-2 Krista Warren is the tallest guard on this year's roster. Named a BCI first team All-American last year, Warren was a three-time Northern California Player of the Year.
The final freshman guard, Jamie Sturdivant will be trying out for the squad as a walk-on. She hails from Simi Valley (Calif.) High School, where she was named to the Los Angeles Times all-county team last season.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats will officially open the 1999-2000 season at the Hawaiian Regent Classic in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21.
Arizona will play Oklahoma in the first round of the tournament on Nov. 19 at 2:30 HST (5:30 MST). The Cats face Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. HST (4 p.m. MST), and then they take on host team Hawai'i on Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. HST (6 p.m. MST).
RADIO CHANGE: All of the UA's contests will be broadcast on radio again this year, however the broadcasts will be on a different station. Every contest, home and away, will be carried by KCEE 940 AM, with Paul Johnson as the play-by-play announcer.
SEASON TICKETS: Arizona women's basketball season tickets are on sale now. The tickets are $65 each for the general public or $55 for senior citizens, youth and UA faculty and staff. For more information, call the UA Athletic Ticket Office at (520) 621-2287.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Wed. Nov. 10 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Thurs. Nov. 11 7 p.m. vs. New Zealand National Team Fri. Nov. 12 4:30-7 p.m. Bear Down lifting before Sat. Nov. 13 8-10:30 a.m. scrimmage McKale Sun. Nov. 14 OFF Mon. Nov. 15 4:30-7 p.m. McKale lifting before Tues. Nov. 16 2-4:20 p.m. McKale Wed. Nov. 17 depart for Honolulu
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In her eight years at the helm of the University of Arizona's women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Now facing her ninth year at the UA with a career win total of 459, Bonvicini is still steering the Wildcat program at full steam ahead. In a season that saw her playing five freshmen on a regular basis, Bonvicini guided the 1999 Cats to yet another NCAA tournament appearance, its third in as many years.
In her eight years with the Cats, Bonvicini has posted a 134-98 (.578) mark.
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.
Bonvicini is 459-169 (.731) in 20 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 22-13 record in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.
RACKING UP THE WINS: Joan Bonvicini needs only 25 more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) begins her eighth year at the UA, functioning primarily as the team's recruiting coordinator and also working with the perimeter players. Second-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 first year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved primarily with scouting and with coaching the post players.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: For the third year in a row, the Wildcats have earned a preseason national ranking. The Cats are ranked 25th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, and they are 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason Top 25.
The Wildcats were ranked among the top 25 teams in five different "unofficial" preseason polls this fall. The UA's highest ranking in these polls was 13th by Women's Basketball magazine and the lowest was 22nd by both Street & Smith's and the Basketball News Report.
Senior forward Angela Lackey earned preseason third team All-America honors from Lindy's College Basketball and honorable mention All-America laurels from Street & Smith's College Basketball.
RED & BLUE GAME RECAP: The Wildcats gave their fans a sneak peek at what to expect for the 1999-2000 season with their annual Red and Blue Game, an intrasquad scrimmage, on Oct. 31.
Led by Elizabeth Pickney's 17 points and 14 rebounds, the Blue team cruised to a 69-51 win over the Red team. Tatum Brown collected 12 points and a game-high 18 rebounds and was the only member of the Red team to reach double digits in scoring. Other outstanding performances included 12 rebounds from LaKeisha Taylor and eight assists from Felecity Willis.
ARIZONA ON THE TUBE: The Wildcats are currently schedule to make television appearances for five different games...
Sun. Nov. 21 at Hawai'i KFVE-TV Honolulu 3 p.m. HST Tues. Dec. 21 at Kansas Sunflower Cablevision* 7:05 p.m. CST Sat. Jan. 22 USC Fox Sports Net 2 p.m. Sun. Jan. 30 Arizona State Fox Sports net 2 p.m. Sat. Feb. 19 at UCLA Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST (* broadcast in Lawrence, Kan., area on taped-delay basis)
The Cats also have the potential to be on television in the Louisville area on Dec. 29 if they make it to the championship game of the Seelbach Cardinal Classic.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 72-72 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 38-16 league mark over the last three seasons combined.
A STREAK "ON THE LINE": Senior forward Angela Lackey brings a streak of 17 consecutive free throws made into the 1999-2000 season.
RECORD WATCH: Last season, guard Lisa Griffith surpassed former Stanford player Vanessa Nygaard to become the Pac-10 career leader in three-pointers made, with 212. Griffith became Arizona's all-time leader in three-pointers made on Feb. 6, 1999. She is also the UA leader in career three-pointers attempted, with 573.
Griffith is #14 on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list. With 915 career points, she needs only 10 more points to move into the #13 spot.
Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #4 with 86 career starts. She stands at sixth on the career assists list, with 349.
Felecity Willis is in eighth in career three-pointers attempted (141) and in 3FG made (38). She is holding down in fifth place on the all-time assists chart, with her 372 career dishes putting her 47 out of fourth place.
STRONG SCHEDULE: There are a lot of quality teams which stand between the Wildcats and a fourth straight NCAA appearance in 2000. This year's slate features eight teams which earned NCAA berths last season, including two schools -- UCLA and Colorado State -- that played one another in the Sweet Sixteen. UC Santa Barbara finished 1999 ranked 17th in the AP Poll, and Kansas was ranked No. 22 in the final USA Today poll.
Four other 2000 opponents participated in the newly revamped Postseason WNIT. New Mexico made it to the third round of the tournament before falling, while Washington and Oklahoma both saw second-round appearances.
Although the Pac-10 is always a highly competitive league, it showed more parity in 1999 than it had in years. Oregon and UCLA tied for the league championship, the first conference crown for each school. Perennial champion Stanford finished in third place, followed by Arizona in fourth. No team escaped the season with less than three conference losses.
ON LOCATION: Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests last year.
WHAT THE MEDIA THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's women's basketball media members...
1. UCLA 6. Arizona State 2. Oregon 7. USC 3. Stanford 8. Oregon State 4. ARIZONA 9. California 5. Washington 10. Washington State The Cats were picked by the Pac-10 coaches to finish fourth, as well.
WHAT THE COACHES THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
1. UCLA 6. Washington 2. Oregon 7. USC 3. Stanford 8. Oregon State 4. ARIZONA 9. California 5. Arizona State 10. Washington State
CAN'T GET RID OF US: The Wildcats are not ones to take tournament competition of any kind lightly - no "one-and-out" here. The Wildcats have made it past the first round of play in each of the last 11 straight tournaments (including post-season) in which they have competed.
In their last six regular-season tourneys, the Cats have made it to the championship game in each, and in each of their four straight post-season appearances, the Wildcats have gotten past the first round of play.
The UA will have quite a few opportunities during the regular season this year to test its tournament mettle. The Cats play in three tournaments this season.
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won four straight season openers and a total of six in the eight years she has been at the UA.
CAT SCRATCHES: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 23-16 in games settled by five points or less, including a 7-4 mark in games settled by one or two points... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 293-389 (.430) all-time record, however it is 97-53 (.647) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 162-86 career record against Pac-10 teams... Over the last eight seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 46 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: Seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 27-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 109-15 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 69-8 when topping that 80-point plateau.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted an 80-38 mark in McKale Center, including a 49-10 record over the last four seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 147-146 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
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.
The 1998 season saw the Cats enter 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 made it into the Sweet Sixteen, only to fall to then-third-ranked Connecticut.
Last year, the Cats earned a #6 seed in the Midwest Region, defeating 11th-seeded Florida, 87-84, in overtime to nab yet another first-round win. Arizona fell to #3 seed and ninth-ranked Rutgers, 90-47, in the second round of the tourney.
Arizona has been placed in a different region in each of its three years of NCAA tournament competition.
1998-99 IN REVIEW: Despite losing the squad's only two seniors before the season ever started, the very young 1998-99 Wildcats held their own and came up with an 18-11 overall record. After being picked by both the coaches and the media to finish in fifth place, the UA finished fourth in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 mark.
The Cats faced a rough non-conference schedule that featured three teams which spent most of the season among the top four in the national rankings. Arizona went 5-4 against those non-conference opponents, with quality losses to Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Colorado State and a big road win over UC Santa Barbara.
That tough early slate prepared the Cats for a season of Pac-10 play which showed more parity than it has in years. After getting off to a rocky 1-3 start in league play, the Cats rebounded to finish the season 11-3, with wins over Pac-10 co-champion Oregon and over perennial power Stanford.
The Wildcats then received their third consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, earning a #6 seed in the Midwest Region. The Cats travelled to Piscataway, N.J., for the first- and second-round games, hosted by #3 seed and ninth-ranked Rutgers.
Arizona faced NCAA tourney veteran Florida in the first round of play and defeated the Gators, 87-84, in overtime to move on to the second round for the third straight year. The Cats then took on host Rutgers, only to end the season on a sour note, falling to the Scarlet Knights, 90-47.
For the season, Arizona had its most balanced offense in five years, with four players averaging in double digits in scoring, and ended its season by winning 12 of its final 16 contests. The Cats broke or tied 13 school records this year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).
The Wildcats finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in free throw percentage (.721) and in assist/turnover ratio (0.86). The Cats were second in offense (74.2 ppg), assists (16.59 apg) and turnover margin (+3.79 tpg).
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT IN `99: With 14.4 points per game, forward Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Guard Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by forward Elizabeth Pickney at 11.4 ppg. Pickney was the team's top rebounder with 5.8 per game, while Willis was the team's assists leader, averaging 5.5 apg.
Lackey was second in rebounding with 5.4 rpg, and guard Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, followed by guard Lisa Griffith with 9.7 points and 4.8 assists per game.
Several Wildcats finished the year among the Pac-10 statistical leaders. Bristol was third in the Pac-10 in steals (2.71 spg), and Willis was third in both assists (5.52 apg) and in field goal percentage (.546). Lackey was fifth in scoring (14.4 ppg), Pickney was fifth in blocked shots (1.21 bpg), and Griffith was fifth in assists (4.79 apg).
Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini made her 13th career trip to the NCAA tournament. She has a 22-13 career record in NCAA play and has never lost an NCAA first-round game. Bonvicini is 134-98 in her eighth year at the helm of Arizona's program and holds a 459-169 mark in 20 years as a head coach.