Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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Paul Johnson is employed by the UA as the women's basketball play-by-play announcer. He has 20 years of sports broadcasting experience, including the last six years as the voice of Arizona women's basketball. Every Wildcat women's basketball game this year will be broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM, with Paul calling all the action.

Courtside Archives

March 20, 2004
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Feb. 24, 2004
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Dec. 23, 2003
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2002-03 Archive
2001-02 Archive

When Pac-10 women's basketball coaches complain about the lack of respect given the conference by East Coast writers, inevitably the discussion turns to how the rest of the nation views the Stanford Cardinal. You see, for many years now, the Cardinal have been the measuring stick of the Pac-10. It has been very simple -- when the Cardinal are having a good year, then the Pac-10 gets respect. When the Cardinal are down, then the Pac-10 is viewed as being down. Well, get used to it because, like it or not, the Stanford Cardinal are still the measuring stick of the Pac-10.

This Wednesday night, Tara VanDerveer will bring her No. 6-ranked Cardinal (No. 2 in the RPI ratings!) into McKale Center. As usual, the rest of the conference is chasing this long-time women's basketball powerhouse. It all starts with the head coach. Tara VanDerveer's record is nothing short of spectacular. Along with her 524 career wins comes an Olympic gold medal, 15 visits to the NCAA Tournament, 2 national championships, and an astounding 9 Pac-10 titles. This season, Stanford is picked to win another conference title and started with 8 straight wins before losing a close game to Tennessee on Sunday. It should not surprise anyone that the Stanford Cardinal are still the measuring stick of the Pac-10.

Now, as Arizona's Wednesday meeting with the Cardinal looms, let's take a look into the home locker room, where the Wildcats are reeling. One could easily say, "This is a terrible time to play Stanford!" That sentiment may be a correct one. True, the Cats are only 4-4 and are coming off of a devastating loss at Stephen F. Austin on Sunday. True, Arizona is under-manned because of injuries and defections. However, I would caution you not to sell Arizona short. At times, Arizona still plays Arizona basketball. When the Wildcats are playing defense, they are very good. When they are running, they are very good. They will have to be very good to stay in the game against Stanford. If the Cardinal are caught napping and Arizona plays consistently with the fire that seems to come and go, Wednesday could be a very interesting night. Come and see the game, you may very well like what you see. Can Arizona win? That is a difficult question because, after all, the Stanford Cardinal are still the measuring stick of the Pac-10.

See on the radio!

Paul Johnson

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