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Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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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
March 15, 2004
March 11, 2004
March 2, 2004
Feb. 24, 2004
Feb. 17, 2004
Feb. 10, 2004
Feb. 5, 2004
Jan. 27, 2004
Jan. 20, 2004
Jan. 12, 2004
Jan. 5, 2004
Dec. 23, 2003
Dec. 11, 2003
Nov. 19, 2003
Oct. 20, 2003
2002-03 Archive
2001-02 Archive

It was Sunday afternoon, and the Arizona Women's Basketball Team was hanging on for its life. The underdog Pepperdine Waves had erased a 24-point deficit, and the teams were trading baskets down the stretch. A cloud of fear had descended upon the gathering at McKale Center as visions of last season danced in our heads. However, just then, a player with fire in her eyes said I want the ball! She actually asked for the ball! Not only did she ask for the ball, but she made a huge 3-pointer that put Arizona in the lead for good. We knew then that she was back. Joan Bonvicini calls her a Gamer. She is guard Julie Brase, and she is Arizona's most valuable player.

After two solid seasons, Tucson's own Julie Brase sat out last year with a wrist injury. The Catalina Foothills star could only watch as the wheels fell off of her team's season in 2001. Arizona went from a 14-2 start to the NIT post-season tournament. A lack of leadership and experience accounted for eight straight road losses, and all Julie Brase could do was watch. All Arizona's most valuable player could do was wonder what could have been.

Julie Brase will not impress you with her speed and athleticism. She will not win an award for being the school's best all-around athlete, but as one player told me she is just plain smart! And smart she is. It's the little things that Julie Brase does that make her so good. Sure she scored 18 against Pepperdine, but it is the tipped pass, the help-side defense and the coach on the floor attitude that puts Julie Brase above the rest. Julie brings exactly what the Cats did not have last year, a go-to player that wants the pumpkin at crunch time and knows what to do with it.

Arizona has a core of talent that can contend this season. Liz Pickney is a great player, Krista Warren is a warrior, and the guards are as good as anyone's in the Pac-10. However, that talent cannot come together unless there is a glue. Julie Brase is that glue. She solidifies talent by her confident and hard-nosed approach to the game. She makes everyone around her better because she does not settle for second-best.

Second place, behind Stanford, looks to be available to the Wildcats. Other contenders are already showing their weaknesses. USC has been pounded twice, Oregon has lost at home to Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin has crushed Washington, and ASU has struggled. So, Arizona can finish in the top tier of the Pac-10 because it has something that other schools don't have. The Wildcats' most valuable player is not only a great shooter, a smart defensive presence and a leader on the floor. Julie Brase brings something to the table that will keep Arizona in the thick of the Pac-10 race. Julie Brase is a Gamer. Come and see her play. You will be inspired!

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson


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