COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (5-9, 1-3) faces USC (9-5, 3-2) for a noon (PST) game Sunday, Jan. 8. The game will be televised live to a national audience on FSN. Live audio of the game is also available at www.arizonaathletics.com, as well as on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: After knocking on the door throughout the game, the Wildcats lost a heartbreaker, 84-77, to UCLA at Pauley Pavilion Friday night. Arizona shot 48 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 57 percent from the free throw line on the game. Arizona hit a season-high 10 treys on the game. UCLA connected on 52 percent from the field, 25 percent from beyond the arc and 60 percent from the charity stripe on the game. The Wildcats out-rebounded the Bruins 41 to 31, but committed 22 turnovers to UCLA’s 10. Junior Joy Hollingsworth scored a season-high 22 points to lead all scorers. She also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. Senior Natalie Jones added 14 points, while sophomore Jessica Arnold finished with a season-high 12 points. Freshman Whitney Fields pulled down nine boards.
Sophomore Ashley Whisonant leads Arizona this season with 14.7 points per game. Hollingsworth adds 14.2 points and 6.1 rebounds, while Jones averages 13.9 points. Oh also pulls down 6.1 boards per game. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 41 percent from the field, compared to the 47 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 35.9 to 37.4.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Behind Eshaya Murphy’s career-high 22 points and a 13-point effort from Camille LeNoir, the Women of Troy posted their first win over a Top 10 team since 2004 in a 58-50 victory over No. 9 Arizona State Friday night. The win interrupted a nine-game winning streak by the Sun Devils. USC snapped a two-game losing skid with the victory to improve to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-10. This was the just the second time that USC has held its opponent to 50 or fewer points in a game. USC forced 23 ASU turnovers and nabbed 15 steals in the game, although the Sun Devils finished on top on the boards with 36 to USC’s 33.
On the season, the Women of Troy are led by Murphy, who averages 15.6 points and 6.4 rebounds. LeNoir 12.9 points and 4.0 assists per game. As a team, USC is shooting 39 percent from the field on the season, the same as its opponents. The Trojans are out-rebounding their opponents 41.9 to 38.3.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona trails the all-time series with USC 16-39. The last time the two teams met, on March 5, 2005, in the first round of the 2005 Pac-10 Tournament, USC won 74-66 in San Jose, Calif. The Wildcats are 10-16 at home, 6-21 away and 0-2 at a neutral site vs. the Trojans.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior Linda Pace suffered a left knee injury against Washington State last Thursday and is out for the rest of the season. Freshman Amina Njonkou has a stress fracture in her right foot and is out another week.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: As a team, Arizona ranks in the bottom half of the conference in every statistical category but turnover margin (second), offensive rebounds (third), steals (fourth) and free throw percentage (fifth).
Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in various categories. Senior Natalie Jones is third in steals (2.7), fourth in minutes per game (35.2), fifth in free throw percentage (.842) and 10th in scoring (14.3). Sophomore Ashley Whisonant is fourth in assists (4.0), seventh in scoring (15.2) and eighth in steals (1.9). Junior Joy Hollingsworth is seventh in three-point field goal average (1.8), while sophomore Ch?© Oh and freshman Whitney Fields are tied for ninth in offensive rebounds (2.6).
LOOKING BACK: The last time Arizona started the season 5-9 was in 1990-91, when the Wildcats finished 6-25 overall and 1-17 in the Pac-10. That year, Arizona lost 21 of its last 22 games.
HALFTIME SCORE INDICATIVE OF FINAL RESULT: In Arizona’s 14 games this season, the halftime score has been indicative of the final result 12 times. The Wildcats are 0-7 when trailing at the half and 5-2 when leading. The only two games Arizona lost after leading at halftime were against Central Connecticut State and Utah.
HACK AWAY: The Wildcats are fouling quite a bit this season. In its 14 games, Arizona has committed more fouls than its opponent 10 times and the same number once. The Wildcats have fouled less than their opponent only three times, against Chicago State, Arizona State and Washington State. Arizona has committed 20 or more fouls in seven games this season, five of which have been losses.
WILDCAT TRIFECTA: Senior Natalie Jones, junior Joy Hollingsworth and sophomore Ashley Whisonant lead the Wildcats this season. The trio account for 63 percent of the team’s points. Whisonant has reached double-digit scoring in 13 of the 14 games, while Hollingsworth has 10 or more points in 12 games and Jones in 11.
LACK OF SIZE EXPOSED: With the death of 6-5 Shawntinice Polk and the medical redshirt of 6-2 Shannon Hobson, Arizona is left without much size inside. As a result, the Wildcats have been out-rebounded in 10 of their 14 games this season. The only games in which Arizona pulled down more boards than its opponent were its first two games of the season against Loyola Marymount (42 to 36) and Furman (45 to 32), last Tuesday’s game against UW-Green Bay and Friday’s game at UCLA. In the other 10 games, the Wildcats have managed just 33.5 rebounds to their opponents’ 39.5 (-6.0).
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP FOR WHISONANT: Sophomore guard Ashley Whisonant is leading the team with 14.7 points per game. The Bowie, Md., native dished out a career-high 11 assists in Arizona’s win over Furman on Nov. 22 and tied her career high of 21 points against Lehigh on Dec. 4. She was also named to both all-tournament teams in which Arizona has participated.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones ranks sixth all-time at Arizona in both free throw percentage (.766) and three-point field goals attempted (327) and seventh in three-point field goals made (93). The senior looks to become just the 14th player ever to score 1,000 or more points at Arizona as she has 912 career points.
GOING POLLING: Six of Arizona’s 2005-06 opponents (Stanford, Maryland, UCLA, USC, Utah and Arizona State) were nationally ranked in the various preseason polls. Pac-10 power Stanford was ranked as high as No. 8, while Pac-10 teams USC and Arizona State were ranked in all four polls. Arizona received votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) polls.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks No. 39 nationally in attendance with an average of 1,943. Only Stanford (3,760), Oregon (3,382) and Washington (2,704) and from the Pac-10 rank higher.
STACKED PAC: As a conference, the Pac-10 finished last season ranked as the third toughest conference in the nation after sending five teams to the NCAA Tournament. Finishing ahead of the Pac-10 were the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: The Wildcats have a challenging schedule that includes 12 games against eight teams (Arizona State, Maryland, Oregon, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Utah and Wisconsin-Green Bay) that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year. Of those teams, six advanced to the second round, while Arizona State made it to the Sweet 16 and Stanford to the Elite Eight.
CATS PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH, SEVENTH IN PAC-10: Arizona was picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Wildcats garnered 42 points, just one point behind fifth-place Oregon. In the media poll, Arizona was picked to finish seventh in the conference, receiving 59 votes.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have three more games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Sunday, Jan. 8 - noon vs. USC (FSN)
Saturday, Jan. 14 - noon vs. Oregon (FSN)
Sunday, Jan. 22 - 1 p.m. (PST) at California (FSN)
In addition, the Wildcats’ games at home against Stanford (Feb. 18) and at Arizona State (Feb. 25) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package.
UP NEXT: Arizona returns home to host Oregon State and Oregon next Thursday and Saturday, Jan. 12 and 14. Thursday’s game against the Beavers starts at 7 p.m. Saturday’s game against the Ducks, which will be broadcast live to a national audience on FSN, tips at noon.