COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (5-7) plays its final non-conference game of the 2005-06 season when it hosts Wisconsin-Green Bay (8-3) for a 7 p.m. game this Tuesday, Jan. 3. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available by clicking here.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: The Wildcats closed out 2005 with a 66-54 defeat at the hands of Washington at McKale Center Saturday afternoon. Arizona shot 33 percent from the field, 13 percent from downtown and 64 percent from the free throw line on the game, compared to the 41, 13 and 76 percent, respectively, of the Huskies. Washington also out-rebounded the Wildcats 42 to 39 and forced 25 Arizona turnovers. Junior Joy Hollingsworth led Arizona with 14 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant added 11 points, while freshman Whitney Fields posted a double-double ?- 10 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Whisonant leads Arizona this season with 15.2 points and 4.0 assists per game. Senior Natalie Jones adds 14.3 points, while Hollingsworth averages 13.2 points and 5.7 rebounds. Sophomore Ch?© Oh leads the team with 5.8 boards per game. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 40 percent from the field, compared to the 46 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 35.2 to 38.8.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: UW-Green Bay rallied from a 16-point first-half deficit by outscoring host Illinois-Chicago 43-25 in the second half as the Phoenix defeated the Flames 70-62 Saturday afternoon. Junior guard Natalie Berglin led all scorers with a career-high-tying 23 points while classmate Nicole Soulis added 18 points, lifting her over the 1,000-point plateau for her career. She also pulled down 10 boards for a double-double. UW-Green Bay shot 40 percent from the field, 29 percent from three-point range and 94 percent from the free throw line on the game. The Phoenix were out-rebounded 44 to 35, but forced 20 UIC turnovers in the win.
On the season, the Phoenix are led by Soulis, who averages team highs of 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds. Berglin adds 15.5 points and 4.6 assists per game. As a team, UW-Green Bay is shooting 43 percent from the field on the season, compared to the 44 percent of its opponents. The Phoenix are being out-rebounded by their opponents 30.6 to 39.7.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona leads the all-time series with Wisconsin-Green Bay 1-0. In the only meeting between the two teams, on Nov. 13, 1998, Arizona won 84-65 in Lincoln, Neb.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior Linda Pace suffered a left knee injury against Washington State on Thursday and is out indefinitely. 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 (first), steals (fourth), offensive rebounds (fourth) and free throw percentage (fifth).
Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in various categories. Senior Natalie Jones is second in steals (2.9), third in free throw percentage (.868), fourth in minutes per game (35.1), ninth in scoring (15.0) and 10th in three-point field goals made (1.6). Sophomore Ashley Whisonant is fifth in assists (4.2), seventh in scoring (15.5) and eighth in steals (2.1). Junior Joy Hollingsworth is seventh in three-point field goal average (1.7). Sophomore Ch?© Oh ranks eighth in offensive rebounds (2.5) and 10th in minutes per game (32.2), while freshman Whitney Fields is eighth in offensive rebounds (2.5).
HACK AWAY: The Wildcats are fouling quite a bit this season. In its 12 games, Arizona has committed more fouls than its opponent eight 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 six games this season, four 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 each of the 12 games, while Hollingsworth has 10 or more points in 10 games and Jones in nine.
ARIZONA WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE: In nine of its 12 games this season, Arizona has committed the same or fewer turnovers than its opponent. The Wildcats average 4.3 fewer turnovers than their opponents, 10 of which have committed 20 or more turnovers.
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 12 games this season. The only two 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). 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 15.2 points and 4.0 assists 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 has also been named to both all-tournament teams in which Arizona has participated.
THE DISH ABOUT O’NEAL: Since entering the lineup Dec. 17 at Fresno State, freshman point guard Malia O'Neal is already making her presence felt. In 74 minutes over five appearances, she is averaging 2.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game. The Seattle native dished out a career-high seven assists in Arizona’s loss to ASU on Dec. 22 and nabbed six steals vs. Washington State on Dec. 29. She is also 3-for-4 from the field.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones ranks sixth all-time at Arizona in both free throw percentage (.765) and three-point field goals attempted (315), and eighth in three-point field goals made (89).
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 is 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.
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 travels to Southern California for a pair of Pac-10 games this Friday and Sunday, Jan. 6 and 8. The Wildcats face UCLA at 7 p.m. (PST) on Friday and USC at noon (PST) on Sunday. Sunday’s game will be televised live to a national audience on FSN.