WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (No. 18 AP/No. 15 USA Today) will seek to extend its modest three-game win streak when it takes on Stanford on Saturday, Jan. 8, at 1 p.m. in the McKale Center.
ABOUT ARIZONA: The 18th-ranked Wildcats moved to 12-1 overall and 1-0 in Pac-10 play after a 71-58 win over California at home on Thursday night. The Cats are currently riding a school-record 15-game home win streak.
With 16.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, senior forward Tatum Brown remains the UA leader in both categories. Senior forward Angela Lackey is second in both categories with 12.4 ppg and 5.8 rpg, while sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney is third in both at 11.5 ppg and 4.4 rpg.
Guards Lisa Griffith (9.2 ppg), Julie Brase (8.2 ppg) and Reshea Bristol (6.6 ppg) follow on the scoring chart. Senior guard Felecity Willis is the team's assists leader, at 5.4 per game, while Bristol is the steals leader, averaging 2.5 per contest.
As a team, Arizona is leading the Pac-10 in nine different statistical categories, including scoring offense (82.2 ppg), scoring margin (+17.6 ppg), field goal percentage (.479), assists (19.54 apg) and steals (11.23 spg).
Individually, Felecity Willis is tops in the Pac-10 in assists, Tatum Brown is first in field goal percentage (.647), and Julie Brase is the leader in three-point percentage (.432).
A GREAT START: With their victory over California on Thursday, the Wildcats have tied the 1995-96 team for the best-ever record over the first 13 games of a season (12-1). A victory on Saturday would give this team the best start in school history.
INJURY REPORT: Wildcat junior guard Reshea Bristol was forced to miss Thursday's game after hyper-extending her right knee in practice on Tuesday. She is listed as "possible" for Saturday's contest. Senior guard Monika Crank was hampered on Thursday by a corneal scratch which she suffered during practice earlier in the week. She is scheduled to play on Saturday, although her play will be affected by how long she is able to wear her contact lenses.
ABOUT STANFORD: After opening the season with a 2-3 mark, the Cardinal went on a five-game win streak, only to see that end with a 74-68 loss at Arizona State on Thursday night. The Cardinal are now 7-4 on the year and 0-1 in Pac-10 play. Stanford is not currently ranked but is receiving votes in both polls. Stanford is leading the Pac-10 with an average of 6.45three-pointers made per game and is second only to Arizona with a 39.0 team three-point percentage.
Junior forward Carolyn Moos is averaging 13.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game to lead the Cardinal in both categories. Sophomore forward Bethany Donaphin is second in both scoring (11.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). Senior guard Milena Flores is third in scoring with 10.6 ppg.
In her 14th year at the head of the Stanford program, Tara VanDerveer (Indiana, 1975) holds a 331-86 mark with the Cardinal. She is 483-137 in 21 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. STANFORD: Stanford holds a solid 29-8 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Cats won two of the previous four meetings with the Cardinal. Arizona took the most recent meeting, 81-67, on Feb. 27, 1999, in Tucson.
LAST TIME vs. STANFORD: Seeking retribution for a 15-point loss in Palo Alto earlier in the season, the Cats drilled Stanford, 81-67, in Tucson on Feb. 27, 1999.
There were six lead changes in the first half, and Arizona went into the lockerroom at the break with a one-point (36-35) advantage. The Cats went 8-of-8 from the charity stripe in the last 12 minutes of the first half.
In the second half, Arizona led by five points (40-35) in the first two minutes of the period, but Stanford built up its own five-point (53-48) lead at the 13:45 mark. The Cats, however, took the lead by two (62-60) with 7:27 left in the game, and they sealed the win with a 13-3 run over the final 3:51, giving them a 14-point victory. In the last 5:56 of the game, Arizona shot a crucial 15-of-18 from the line.
Four players reached double digits in scoring, led by Elizabeth Pickney's 18 points. Pickney hit 12-of-13 from the stripe, tying the school record for free throws made in a game. Angela Lackey had 16 points, Reshea Bristol dumped in 13, and Felecity Willis had 12.
The win was Arizona's second straight home victory over the Cardinal.
HISTORY LESSON: The UA is 1-6 all-time when playing on Jan. 8. The Cats' last game on that date was in 1998, a 64-61 buzzer-beater loss to Washington State at home.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: The Cats had to overcome their worst shooting performance of the season to garner a 71-58 win over California at home in their Pac-10 opener on Jan. 6. The first half was a tight one, with nine lead changes and six ties, but the Cats managed a five-point (39-34) lead at the break. The UA opened the second half with a 16-7 spurt that gave it a 14-point (55-41) advantage at the 11:59 mark.
Cal fought back to within four but would come no closer as Arizona ended the game on a 12-3 run to claim the victory.
Tatum Brown led all scorers with her 15 points, adding eight rebounds. Angela Lackey earned her second double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds to go with a game-high four steals. Julie Brase was the only other Cat in double digits, scoring 11.
As a team, the UA shot a paltry 37.3 percent from the field, its worst performance of the season to date and worst since shooting only 35.8 percent at Rutgers in the second round of the NCAA tournament last year.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats hit the road again next weekend for games against the Washington schools. Arizona will play at Washington State on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m. PST, then the Cats play at Washington on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 1 p.m. PST in Seattle's Mercer Arena.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arizona is currently riding a 15-game home win streak, dating back to Jan. 4, 1999. This is the longest home win streak ever in the history of UA women's basketball. The previous long streak was a string of 10 games midway through the 1997-98 season.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, PART DEUX: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted an 87-38 mark in McKale Center, including a 56-10 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 153-146 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In nearly a decade 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 in her ninth year at the UA, Bonvicini has posted a 146-99 (.596) mark and has a 471-170 (.735) record in 20 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 22-13 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.
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.
RACKING UP THE WINS: Joan Bonvicini needs only 13 more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 73-72 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 39-16 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
BONVICINI VS. STANFORD: Head coach Joan Bonvicini has a 10-16 career record against Stanford.
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 as both the team's recruiting coordinator and the perimeter coach. 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.
BENCH CONTRIBUTIONS: The UA bench has been quite productive this season, contributing an average of 32.0 points per game. The highest point total from the bench so far this year came on Dec. 10 against Texas Southern -- a whopping 47 of the Cats' 96 points came from the subs.
FREE THROW WOES: After hitting a hot 81.2 percent (13-16) from the line against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30, the Cats have seen their free throw shooting decline steadily ever since. Over the first five games of the year, the Cats hit 68.5 percent from the line, but they have hit only 65.2 percent at the stripe over the last eight games combined.
The Wildcats, who shot 70 percent or better from the line in only six of this season's 13 games, ended the 1998-99 season shooting 72.1 percent from the stripe.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: The Cats went 11-1 in regular season non-conference play this year, their best non-conference mark since the 1995-96 team went 9-0. The 11 victories are the most regular season non-conference wins ever under Joan Bonvicini.
During the 12 non-conference games, the Cats averaged 83.1 points per game and outscored their opponents by an average of 18 points per game. They shot 48.8 percent from the field, including a blazing 42.3 percent from three-point range. The UA outrebounded its opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per contest. The Cats also averaged 20.0 assists and 11.0 steals per game, while forcing opponents to commit an average of 22.8 turnovers per game.
GOIN' DEEP: The best evidence that the UA is a deep squad this season? Lots of people playing lots of minutes. Currently, eight different Wildcat regulars are averaging more than 15 minutes a game.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Four of the UA's opponents this season were ranked in this week's polls. Pac-10 foe UCLA is ranked 17th in this week's A.P. poll, while UC Santa Barbara is 22nd, Kansas is 23rd and Oregon is 24th. Stanford, Colorado State, Louisville, Oklahoma and New Mexico all received votes for ranking.
In this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, UCLA is No. 17, UC Santa Barbara is No. 22, Kansas is No. 23 and Oregon is No. 24. Stanford and Colorado State both received votes for ranking.
DUALLY SUCCESSFUL: Ten schools had both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked among the A.P. Top 25 this week. They are Arizona, Connecticut, Auburn, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois, Louisiana State and UCLA.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 23-17 in games settled by five points or less, including a 7-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS: Over the last nine seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 49 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 28-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 117-15 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 77-8 when topping that 80-point plateau.
CAT SCRATCHES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 21 of its last 25 games... The Cats are forcing opponents to commit an average of 4.0 more turnovers per game than the UA... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 305-390 (.439) all-time record, however it is 109-54 (.669) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 163-86 career record against Pac-10 teams.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 11-1 when out-rebounding its opponent... 11-1 when shooting better than 40% from the field... 12-0 when scoring 70 points or more... 11-1 when three or more players reach double digits in scoring.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 7-0 at home this season, 2-1 in road games and 3-0 in neutral contests. 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.
RECORD WATCH: Lisa Griffith is Arizona's career leader in both three-pointers made (239) and attempted (639). She is in the #7 spot on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list, with 1,045 career points. She needs only 25 more points to move into the #6 spot.
Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #4 with 91 career starts. She stands at sixth on the career assists list, with 401, and sixth on the career steals chart, with 184.
Felecity Willis is seventh in career three-pointers attempted (158) and eighth in three-pointers made (43). She is holding down fourth place on the all-time assists chart, with 442 career dishes.
Willis is also the latest addition to Arizona's all-time top 20 scoring list. She has 799 career points, which puts her in the #19 spot. She needs only six more points to move up to #18.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney has already entered the UA's top 10 list for career blocked shots. She stands in seventh place with 47 career blocks.
CATS TAKE SEELBACH CLASSIC TITLE: Arizona won its third regular-season tournament when it swept through the Seelbach Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 28-29. The Cats had a solid showing in the first round with a 91-61 pounding of Marshall on Dec. 28. Although host team Louisville managed to hang with the UA most of the contest, the Cats pulled out an 80-70 victory in the championship game to take the tournament title.
After averaging 14.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the two contests, Wildcat Tatum Brown was selected the Tournament MVP, her second such honor of the year. Louisville native Angela Lackey was selected to the All-Tournament Team as well, also her second such honor of the season.
GRIFFITH JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB: With 3:04 left in the first half at Kansas on Dec. 21, senior guard Lisa Griffith knocked down her third three-pointer of the game to become the eighth Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring. The last Wildcat to join the 1,000-point club was Griffith's former teammate, Adia Barnes, who reached that mark during the 1996-97 season.
WILDCATS CLAIM TITLE OF INSIGHT.COM BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC: After falling in the championship game of the 1998 tournament, Arizona re-claimed the title of its ninth annual Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic with victories over Texas Southern (96-46) and Indiana (87-70) on Dec. 10-12. The UA's Tatum Brown was unanimously voted the Tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals over the two games. Angela Lackey was named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
RECORDS FALLING ALREADY: Tatum Brown's 11-of-12 shooting performance against Colorado State on Dec. 6 tied the UA single-game record for field goal percentage (.917). It is also a new McKale Center record, breaking the previous mark of 84.6 percent (11-13) set by former UCLA player Denise Curry on Jan. 17, 1981.
Arizona also set a new school record by hitting a sizzling 75.9 (22-29) percent in the first half against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30.
BROWN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 6): Senior forward Tatum Brown was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 29-Dec. 5. Brown scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead No. 21 Arizona to an 86-76 upset over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30. In just 26 minutes of action, she shot 9-for-12 (.750) from the field and 3-for-4 (.750) from the line.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Brown's career, and the 17th all-time selection. Brown's honor followed Elizabeth Pickney's Player of the Week laurels the previous week, marking the first time in school history that the Wildcats have had back-to-back Pac-10 Players of the Week.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT: The Cats shot a school-record 75.9 percent (22-29) from the floor in the first half of the UCSB contest on Nov. 30. For the game, they shot 63 percent (34-54), the highest field goal percentage for any team since the school record was set at 64.3 percent (36-56) against Drake on Nov. 25, 1990.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 29): Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Nov. 15-28. Pickney averaged 16.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game in the UA's four straight victories to open the season. She shot a team-high .575 (23-40) from the field and .720 (18-25) from the line during that stretch.
Pickney was named the Tournament MVP at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, leading Arizona to the team title with three wins. In the tourney, she averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Player of the Week honor was the first of Pickney's career and the 16th all-time selection for Arizona.
SULTANS OF SWAT: The Wildcats racked up nine blocked shots in the contest against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20. That is the highest single-game block total since the 1985 squad collected 10 at Tennessee-Chattanooga on Jan. 5, 1985. Elizabeth Pickney had five of the UA's blocked shots against Tennessee Tech, a career high for her.
As a team, Arizona collected 20 blocks over the first four game of the year, the highest block total ever over that stretch in any season.
CATS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP AT HAWAIIAN REGENT WAHINE CLASSIC: The Wildcats swept through three games in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21 to take the title at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, hosted by the University of Hawai'i.
Arizona garnered victories over Oklahoma (75-59), Tennessee Tech (87-71) and host team Hawai'i (86-73) to open the 1999-2000 season with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Elizabeth Pickney averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Cats and was the overwhelming favorite for tournament Most Valuable Player laurels. Felecity Willis and Tatum Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won five straight season openers and a total of seven in the nine years she has been at the UA.
In the 28 years of Arizona women's basketball, the Wildcats have won 15 season openers. The UA went on to post winning records in eight of those first 14 seasons.
DOVE IANELLO AMONG TOP ASSISTANTS: In a survey of women's basketball head coaches conducted by the Women's Basketball Journal last fall, Arizona associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello received votes for consideration as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
FUTURE WILDCATS: On the first day of the early signing period (Nov. 10), Arizona inked a trio of high school recruits from the state of California. The signees were 5-10 guard Candice Allen (Ontario, CA/Ayala HS), 5-7 guard Aimee Grzyb (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) and 6-3 forward Veranda James (Pomona, CA/Ganesha HS).
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: For the third year in a row, the Wildcats earned a preseason national ranking. The Cats were ranked 25th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, and they were 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.
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.
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 and went 12-6 in the Pac-10 to finish in fourth place.
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. In Piscataway, N.J., 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 on the year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).
With 14.4 points per game, Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by 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 Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 34 Angela Lackey F 6-0 Sr. Louisville, KY 12.4 ppg 5.8 rpg 1.4 spg 53 Tatum Brown F 6-4 Sr. Tacoma, WA 16.5 ppg 8.8 rpg 0.7 bpg 3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 Sr. Portland, OR 9.2 ppg 2.0 spg 4.0 apg 20 Julie Brase G 5-9 So. Tucson, AZ 8.2 ppg 2.8 rpg 2.2 apg 23 Felecity Willis G 5-7 Sr. Apple Valley, CA 6.2 ppg 5.4 apg 1.5 spg OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically): 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 So. Riverside, CA 2.7 ppg 0.6 rpg 0.6 spg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Jr. Omaha, NE 6.6 ppg 3.2 rpg 2.5 spg 22 Monika Crank G 5-7 Sr. Page, AZ 5.8 ppg 3.1 rpg 2.2 apg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 So. Oregon City, OR 1.4 ppg 2.0 rpg 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 So. Houston, TX 11.5 ppg 4.4 rpg 0.9 bpg 21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 Fr. Simi Valley, CA 1.2 ppg 0.4 rpg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 So. Houston, TX 1.7 ppg 2.2 rpg 35 Krista Warren G 6-2 Fr. Cloverdale, CA 2.7 ppg 2.8 rpg 0.8 apg 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 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 ARIZONA ON THE TUBE: The Wildcats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for three more games... 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