WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (6-1 overall) will seek to extend its five-game win streak when it plays four games in five days next week.
After a week's break in action, the Wildcats will round out a five-game homestand on Sunday, Dec. 17, against Louisville at 3 p.m. in the McKale Center.
Then the Cats head to Puerto Rico to participate in the San Juan Shootout on Tuesday, Dec. 19, through Thursday, Dec. 21. The Wildcats will play ninth-ranked Auburn, Puerto Rico-Mayaguez and Nebraska, respectively. Game time each day is 9 p.m. AST (6 p.m. MST).
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 22 Veranda James F 6-3 Fr. Pomona, CA 16.2 ppg 10.2 rpg 1.4 apg 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 So. Cloverdale, CA 10.9 ppg 6.3 rpg 1.9 apg 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 17.7 ppg 7.0 rpg 1.3 bpg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Sr. Omaha, NE 11.7 ppg 5.9 rpg 7.0 apg 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 Jr. Riverside, CA 11.3 ppg 5.9 rpg 4.0 apg OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order) 4 Candice Allen G 5-10 Fr. Ontario, CA 4.1 ppg 2.3 rpg 1.1 apg 13 Aimee Grzyb G 5-7 Fr. San Jose, CA 8.0 ppg 1.6 rpg 2.4 apg 14 Jen Chesney G 6-0 Fr. Newberg, OR 1.0 ppg 1.0 rpg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX 6.0 ppg 3.8 rpg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 Jr. Oregon City, OR 1.6 ppg 1.6 rpgABOUT ARIZONA: On a five-game win streak, the Wildcats improved to 6-1 on the year with a trio of home victories last week. Arizona downed UNLV (91-74), Bowling Green (99-43) and Fresno State (92-55) in last week's action, defeating those teams by an average of 36.7 points per game.
With 17.7 points per game, junior forward Elizabeth Pickney leads five Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Freshman forward Veranda James is close behind in scoring, at 16.2 ppg, and is leading both Arizona and the Pac-10 in rebounding with 10.2 rpg. Pickney is second in rebounding for the UA, with 7.0 rpg.
Senior guard Reshea Bristol is the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.0) and is 12th in the nation with her average of 7.0 per game. She is also third on the team in scoring, with 11.7 ppg, and is averaging 5.9 rebounds per game. Junior guard Tysell Bozeman follows on the scoring chart, averaging 11.3 ppg to go with 5.9 rpg. Sophomore wing Krista Warren is fifth in scoring (10.9 ppg) and is third in rebounding (6.3 rpg).
As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in scoring (82.6 ppg) and rebounding (45.1 rpg) and is second in free throw percentage (.679), field goal percentage defense (.386), rebounding margin (+6.9 rpg) and assists (18.14 apg). Individually, Arizona has five of the Pac-10's top 20 scorers and five of the top 20 rebounders. Veranda James leads the conference in rebounding (10.2 rpg) and field goal percentage (.600), and Reshea Bristol is tops in assists (7.0 apg).
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Dec. 4-11. She averaged 20.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game while leading the Wildcats to a 3-0 record for the week. In the three home victories, she shot a combined .489 from the floor (23-for-47), .824 from the line (14-for-17) and hit her first career three-pointer. This is Pickney's second career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor and Arizona's 20th Player of the Week honor all-time.
ABOUT LOUISVILLE: After opening the season with a five-game losing skid, the Cardinals have won their last two contests to improve to 2-5 on the year. Louisville is coming off a 63-57 win over Kentucky at home on Dec. 9.
Four Cardinals are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by freshman guard Sara Nord and junior guard Kara Kessans with averages of 12.7 ppg each. Junior guard Marju Sober is third with 11.4 ppg, followed by junior center Shamika Ingram with 11.1 ppg. Ingram is the team's top rebounder, averaging 6.0 per game.
Louisville head coach Martin Clapp (Murray State, 1988) has a 59-41 record in his fourth season with the Cardinals.
THE SERIES vs. LOUISVILLE: Arizona won the only previous meeting with Louisville, 80-70, on Dec. 29, 1999, in the Cardinals' adidas Seelbach-Hilton Holiday Classic last season.
In that game, neither squad led by more than five points through the first half, and the teams went into halftime tied at 32-32. The early part of the second half was evenly matched as well, then the Wildcats went on a 12-4 run midway through the period to take a 10-point (62-52) lead at the 6:27 mark. The Cardinals came no closer than five points for the remainder of the game.
Then-freshman Krista Warren contributed eight points, seven rebounds and three assists in that game. Reshea Bristol had seven points and four rebounds, while Elizabeth Pickney added four points and a rebound.
ABOUT AUBURN: Standing at a perfect 9-0 on the year, Auburn is ranked ninth in this week's AP poll and is 12th in the USA Today/Coaches poll. The Tigers will have a nine-day break before playing in San Juan and then will face host Puerto Rico-Mayaguez on Dec. 17 and Nebraska on Dec. 18 before playing Arizona on Dec. 19.
With 14.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, junior forward Lori Nero is leading Auburn in both categories. Senior guard Tasha Hamilton is second in scoring, at 14.4 ppg, followed by junior guard Carol Smith's 13.7 ppg. Junior forward Brandi Hillman is second in rebounding, with 5.8 per game.
Auburn head coach Joe Ciampi (Mansfield, 1968) holds a 499-157 mark in 22 years at the helm of the Tiger program. He is 537-167 in 24 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. AUBURN: The Dec. 19 meeting will be a first for Arizona and Auburn.
ABOUT PUERTO RICO-MAYAGUEZ: The UPR-Mayaguez Janes returned seven letterwinners, including four starters, from a squad that went 17-13 last season. Their top returnee is junior center Madelyn Ramirez. Other team information was unavailable at press time.
THE SERIES vs. UPR-MAYAGUEZ: The Dec. 20 meeting will be a first for Arizona and UPR-Mayaguez.
ABOUT NEBRASKA: Nebraska is 5-3 on the year after an 83-70 win over St. Peter's which ended a three-game losing skid for the Huskers. Nebraska will play Auburn on Dec. 18 and UPR-Mayaguez on Dec. 19 before taking on Arizona on Dec. 21. Senior center Casey Leonhardt leads Nebraska in scoring with 12.5 points per gamd and is the second-leading rebounder at 6.4 rpg. Freshman guard Shannon Howell is second in scoring with 10.4 ppg, followed by fellow freshman K.C. Cowgill at 10.1 ppg. Senior forward Monique Whitfield is the team's top rebounder, grabbing 7.3 per game. Nebraska head coach Paul Sanderford (Methodist, 1972) holds a 67-38 record in four years with the Cornhuskers. He has a 432-158 mark in 19 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. NEBRASKA: Nebraska holds the 3-1 lead in the series with Arizona. The Huskers won the last meeting between the two teams, 72-48, on Nov. 15, 1998, in Lincoln. In that contest, Arizona shot a measly 24.2 percent from the floor and hit only 50 percent from the line as the Cats scored their lowest point total in three years. The field goal percentage was the lowest ever shot in a game by a Joan Bonvicini-coached team at Arizona. The game got away from the UA early, as Nebraska opened with an 8-1 run and never looked back. The UA had 20 turnovers, although forcing the Huskers to commit 20 of their own. Then-freshman Elizabeth Pickney tied for the team lead with 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: The Wildcats claimed their seventh Arizona Basketball Classic title on Dec. 10 with a convincing 92-55 victory over Fresno State at home. The Cats outscored the Bulldogs, 28-8, through the first 10 minutes of the contest, then Fresno State used a 19-7 run to cut the lead to 14 (35-21) with just under two minutes remaining in the period. Arizona scored one more bucket shortly before the break to take a 37-21 lead into halftime. The UA pushed the lead back out to 28 (55-27) early in the second half before Fresno State made what would prove to be its final significant run of the game -- a 9-2 spurt that cut the lead back to 21 (57-36) at the 11:25 mark. That was the closest the Bulldogs came, as the Cats outscored them, 37-19, over the rest of the game to claim the victory. Elizabeth Pickney led all scorers with her season high of 21 points while grabbing nine rebounds. Krista Warren and Reshea Bristol contributed season highs of 19 points each, and freshman Aimee Grzyb hit 5-of-6 from three-point range to rack up 15 points. Tysell Bozeman registered her first career double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Pickney, Warren and Grzyb were named to the all-tournament team, while Bristol was chosen the tournament MVP.
LOOKING AHEAD: After the San Juan Shootout, the Wildcats will have an eight-day break in action then return home to face Kansas on Friday, Dec. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in a contest that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net. Arizona tips off Pac-10 play on Jan. 4 and 6, playing at California and Stanford, respectively.
OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION: For the first time in the program's history, the Wildcats had three consecutive games of 90 points or more. Arizona defeated UNLV (91-74) on Dec. 6, Bowling Green (99-43) on Dec. 8 and Fresno State (92-55) on Dec. 10 to put together the first-ever string of three straight games with offensive outputs of 90+ points.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Wed. Dec. 13 6-9 p.m. McKale Thurs. Dec. 14 5-7:30 p.m. McKale Fri. Dec. 15 1:30-3:30 p.m. Bear Down Sat. Dec. 16 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Bear Down Sun. Dec. 17 vs. Louisville, 3 p.m. Mon. Dec. 18 depart for Puerto Rico, 8:51 a.m. Tues. Dec. 19 vs. Auburn, 9 p.m. AST Wed. Dec. 20 at Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, 9 p.m. AST Thurs. Dec. 21 vs. Nebraska, 9 p.m. AST Fri. Dec. 22 players depart for Christmas break Sat. Dec. 23-Mon., Dec. 25 - OFF Tues. Dec. 26 7-9:30 p.m. McKaleHEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In her 10th year at the helm of the Arizona women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Bonvicini has posted a 165-106 (.609) mark in 10 seasons at Arizona and has more wins at the UA than all six of the previous Wildcat coaches combined. In 22 years as a collegiate head coach, Bonvicini has a 490-177 (.735) career record. She also has a 23-14 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 14 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.
COUNTDOWN TO 500: Joan Bonvicini is only 10 wins away from reaching the 500-victory mark for her career.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach two years ago, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is in her ninth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Third-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 second year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 85-77 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 51-21 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
BREAKING IN: Against UNLV on Dec. 6, Wildcat senior guard Reshea Bristol broke into the UA's all-time top 20 scoring list. She currently stands in 19th place with 844 points, needing just 25 points to move into the No. 18 spot.
Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney is the next candidate for the UA's top 20 scoring list. With 769 career points, she needs only 42 more to bump former teammate Angela Lackey out of the No. 20 spot.
TOUGH EARLY GAMES: The season is young, but the Wildcats have already played four teams which competed in last year's NCAA tournament. Still ahead on the non-conference slate are three more NCAA tourney teams -- Auburn, Nebraska and Kansas.
ARIZONA IN THE RANKINGS: Although the Wildcats are not currently nationally ranked, they did receive votes for ranking in both of this week's polls. In the Dec. 11 AP poll, the Cats earned 11 votes, while they picked up 36 votes in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: The Wildcats are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 6.8 boards per game this year. The best rebounding margin of the season so far was against Bowling Green on Dec. 8, when the Cats out-rebounded the Falcons by 18.
Individually, freshman Veranda James grabbed a team season-high 16 boards against Rice on Nov. 28. That's the highest individual single-game rebound total for any player since then-freshman Adia Barnes pulled down 18 against Arizona State on Jan. 7, 1995.
GETTING TO THE LINE: Arizona is averaging 20.3 points per game from the free throw line so far this season. The Cats have made it to the free throw line 209 times over seven games, for an average of 29.9 attempts per contest. The Wildcats have connected on 142 of those attempts (67.9 percent).
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 97-41 mark in McKale Center, including a 66-13 record over the last six seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 163-149 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Several of Arizona's 2001 opponents are listed in this week's national rankings.
In Monday's Associated PressTop 25, Notre Dame was No. 3, Auburn was No. 9, Oregon was No. 14 and Stanford was No. 15. Oregon State was among teams receiving votes for ranking.
In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Notre Dame was No. 3, Auburn was No. 12, Oregon was No. 13 and Stanford was No. 22. Kansas and Oregon State were among the teams receiving votes.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Senior guard Reshea Bristol is fourth on the Arizona career list in free throws made (245), is sixth in free throws attempted (341), eighth in three-pointers attempted (167), eighth in steals (185), tied for eighth in three-pointers made (51) and 10th in assists (278). She recently broke into the UA's top-20 all-time scoring list, currently standing in the No. 19 spot with 844 career points. She needs 25 points to move into the No. 18 spot. Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney is fourth on the career list in blocked shots (75) and is ninth in free throws made (228). She is 42 points away from joining the UA's top-20 all-time scoring list.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 26-19 in games settled by five points or less, including a 9-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS: Over the last 10 seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 52 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: It seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 29-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 125-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 85-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 5-1 when out-rebounding its opponent... 6-0 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 6-0 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 5-0 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring... 5-0 when leading at halftime... 6-0 when scoring 70 points or more... 5-0 when opponents score 71 points or less.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Cats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for four different games...
Fri., Dec. 29 Kansas Fox Sports Net 6:30 p.m. Sat., Jan. 6 at Stanford Bay TV 7:30 p.m. PST Sat., Feb. 10 at Washington St. Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST Sun., Feb. 18 USC Fox Sports Net 2 p.m. Thurs., Mar. 1 at Oregon State Fox Sports Northwest (taped delay)The Mar. 3 (at Oregon) and Mar. 10 (California) contests have been selected as potential TV games. The television status of each contest will be determined approximately 12 days before the specified dates.
ON LOCATION: Arizona has a 5-0 mark at home this year, is 1-1 on the road and is 0-0 in neutral games. The Wildcats were 12-3 at home last season, 9-4 in road games and 4-0 in neutral contests.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 324-396 (.450) all-time record, however it is 128-60 (.679) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 175-91 career record against Pac-10 teams.
WHAT A GAME!: During the Dec. 8 contest with Bowling Green, Arizona set a new school record for margin of victory by defeating the Falcons, 99-43, a margin of 56 points. That surpassed the previous record if 55 points (105-50) set against Sacramento State on Dec. 17, 1994.
Arizona's 99 points in that contest is its highest offensive output since scoring 107 points against UC Santa Barbara at home on Nov. 23, 1997. The 43 points allowed is the best UA defensive effort since allowing Arizona State to score only 42 points on Feb. 8, 1997, in Tempe.
DISHING IT OUT: Against UNLV on Dec. 6, senior guard Reshea Bristol racked up a career-high 14 assists. That was the highest single-game assists total for any individual since former Wildcat Brenda Pantoja -- who was on UNLV's bench for that Dec. 6 game as an assistant coach -- collected 14 against Washington State at home on Feb. 29, 1996.
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won six straight season openers and eight in the 10 years she has been at the UA.
BRASE TO REDSHIRT: Wildcat junior guard Julie Brase will redshirt for the 2000-2001 season after having wrist surgery before the start of the season. Brase played in all 32 games last year, starting 19, and averaged 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
WHAT THE COACHES THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches... 1. Stanford, 2. Oregon, 3. USC, 4. ARIZONA, 5. Arizona State, t6. UCLA, t6. Washington, 8. Oregon State, 9. California, 10. Washington State.
The Pac-10 women's basketball media members picked Arizona to finish fourth, as well.
BUT WE CAN DO BETTER: In each of the previous three years, Arizona has equalled or bettered the Pac-10 coaches' pick for its finish... 2000 - picked fourth, finished tied for second; 1999 - picked fifth, finished fourth; 1998 - picked second, finished tied for second.
CATS INK EARLY SIGNEES: The Arizona women's basketball program signed four players on the first day of the early signing period last week. Forwards Danielle Adefeso (Santa Monica, CA/St. Monica HS) and Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, CA/Hanford HS) and guards Robin Roberson (Berkeley, CA/Berkeley HS) and Dee Dee Wheeler (Chicago, IL/Dunbar HS) will all join the Wildcats for the 2001-02 season.
PAC-10 APPROVES CONFERENCE TOURNAMENTS: The Pacific-10 Conference Chief Executive Officers have approved the establishment of men's and women's post-season basketball tournaments.
The men's tournament will be an eight-team event to be staged at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The women's tournament will be a 10-team event hosted on campus by one of the Pac-10 members. Both tournaments will begin in March 2002. In each case, the winner of the Tournament will earn the Conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.
The Conference previously conducted a men's tournament following the 1987 through 1990 seasons. It has never sponsored a similar event for women.
OREGON TO HOST FIRST TOURNAMENT: Oregon has been selected as the first school to host the Pac-10 women's basketball tournament. The historical event will take place in March 2002 on the UO campus.
1999-2000 IN REVIEW: After returning 10 letterwinners and all five starters from the previous year's squad, the 1999-2000 Wildcats utilized their depth and experience to roll to a 25-7 overall mark, setting a new school record for most wins in a season. The Cats garnered a 13-5 record in Pac-10 play, finishing in a tie for second with Stanford.
Arizona opened the season with a nine-game win streak and went on to register an 11-1 mark in non-conference action. By winning their first Pac-10 game to improve to 12-1, the Cats tied the school record for the best start in the history of the program.
Pac-10 play brought about several historical moments as well. With wins at Washington State and Washington during the second weekend of January, the Cats earned their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. They repeated the feat during the final weekend of the regular season, recording their first-ever road sweep of Stanford and California.
The Wildcats earned their fourth consecutive NCAA tournament berth, ending up as the No. 8 seed in the Mideast Region. Arizona travelled to Knoxville, Tenn., where it downed No. 9 seed Kent, 73-61, in the first round of the tournament. The Cats faced No. 1 seed and eventual national runner-up Tennessee in the second round and put up a valiant fight, only to fall, 75-60.
The UA set or tied 23 school records during the season, including most wins in a season (25), highest winning percentage (.781), most three-point field goals made in a season (162) and most points in a season (2,484). The Wildcats were ranked 21st in the final Associated Press Poll of the year and were 20th in the last USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring (77.6 ppg), scoring margin (+9.9 ppg) and assists (17.94 apg). The Cats were second in three-point field goal percentage (.379), rebounding margin (+4.3 rpg), steals (10.31 spg), assist-to-turnover ratio (0.89) and three-point field goals made (5.06 per game).
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: With 12.7 points per game, forward Angela Lackey finished as Arizona's leading scorer for the second straight year. She was second in rebounding, at 5.3 per game. Fellow forward Tatum Brown was second in scoring, with 12.4 points per game, and was the team's top rebounder, with 7.7 boards per contest. Forward Elizabeth Pickney was third in both categories, averaging 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.
Guards Lisa Griffith (8.9 ppg), Reshea Bristol (8.6 ppg), Felecity Willis (7.8 ppg) and Julie Brase (6.1 ppg) followed on the scoring chart. Willis was the team's assists leader, at 5.3 per game, while Griffith had the highest steals average, at 2.1 per game.
Tatum Brown ended the season as the Pac-10 leader in field goal percentage (.590) and was third in rebounding (7.7 rpg). Felecity Willis was third in the league in assists (5.28 apg), and Lisa Griffith was fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.420).