ABOUT ARIZONA: The 17th-ranked Wildcats tied the school's best-ever start of 9-0 when they downed Northern Illinois, 78-46, at home on Dec. 15. The Cats are on a 14-game home win streak, the longest home win streak in UA women's basketball history.
With 17.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, senior forward Tatum Brown remains the UA leader in both categories. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney is second in both, with 13.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg, and senior forward Angela Lackey is third in both at 11.8 ppg and 4.6 rpg.
Guards Julie Brase (9.4 ppg), Lisa Griffith (8.3 ppg) and Felecity Willis (7.0 ppg) are all averaging better than seven points a game. Willis is the team's assists leader, at 5.4 per game, while junior guard Reshea Bristol is the steals leader, averaging 2.4 per contest.
ABOUT KANSAS: Ranked #20 in the Dec. 13 A.P. poll, Kansas slipped to 6-2 on the year after a narrow 61-59 loss to Illinois in Chicago's United Center on Saturday.
Sporting an evenly spread offense, Kansas has three players averaging in double digits in scoring, led by senior guard Lynn Pride with 16.1 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. Fellow senior Suzi Raymant is second at 14.5 ppg, while junior forward Brooke Reves is averaging 14.0 ppg. Jaclyn Johnson, another junior forward, is second in rebounding at 8.3 per game.
Kansas head coach Marian Washington (West Chester State, 1970) has a 509-279 record in 27 seasons at the head of the Jayhawk program.
THE SERIES: The series between Arizona and Kansas is tied with one win apiece. Arizona took the last meeting between the two teams, 67-62, at the Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge in Lubbock, Texas, on Jan. 31, 1998.
HISTORY LESSON: The Cats have a 2-4 all-time record in games played on Dec. 21. Arizona last played on that date in 1996, an 87-65 win at San Diego.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: The "Tatum Brown Show" continued as she ran off a game-high 17 points and pulled down a team-high nine rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 78-46 pounding of Northern Illinois at home on Dec. 15. The win tied the Cats with the 1995-96 team for the best start in the history of the program at 9-0.
The Cats used a first-half run of 19-4 and a second half 21-4 spurt to put away the Huskies, which committed 36 turnovers in the game. That's the highest turnover total for UA opponent since Oregon State committed 36 in Tucson on Feb. 19, 1998.
In addition to Brown's 17, sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney added 14 points and three rebounds, hitting a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor. Junior guard Reshea Bristol came off the bench to put up 14 points and six rebounds, while senior guard Felecity Willis contributed a game-high five steals to go with three assists.
LOOKING AHEAD: After Christmas break, the Wildcats remain on the road to play in the Seelbach Cardinal Classic, hosted by the University of Louisville on Dec. 28-29. Arizona will play Marshall in the first round on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. EST, followed by Louisville and Western Illinois at 7:30 p.m. EST. The consolation game will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 29 at 5 p.m. EST, and the championship will be at 7:30 p.m. EST. All four games will be played in Freedom Hall in Louisville.
THOUSAND WATCH: Senior guard Lisa Griffith is only 10 points from becoming only the eighth player in Arizona women's basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in scoring.
A GREAT START: Arizona's perfect 9-0 start this year ties the 1995-96 team for the best start in school history.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arizona is currently riding a 14-game home win streak, dating back to Jan. 4, 1999. This is the longest home win streak ever in the history of UA women's basketball. The previous long streak was a string of 10 games midway through the 1997-98 season.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME, PART DEUX: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted an 86-38 mark in McKale Center, including a 55-10 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 152-146 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In nearly a decade at the helm of the University of Arizona's women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Now in her ninth year at the UA, Bonvicini has posted a 143-98 (.593) mark and has a 468-169 (.735) record in 20 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 22-13 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 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.
RACKING UP THE WINS: Joan Bonvicini needs only 16 more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined.
BONVICINI VS. KANSAS: Head coach Joan Bonvicini has a perfect 3-0 career record against Kansas.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) begins her eighth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and the perimeter coach. Second-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 first year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved primarily with scouting and with coaching the post players.
DOVE IANELLO AMONG TOP ASSISTANTS: In a survey of women's basketball head coaches conducted by the Women's Basketball Journal last fall, Arizona associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello received votes for consideration as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 72-72 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 38-16 league mark over the last three seasons combined.
FREE THROW WOES: After hitting a hot 81.2 percent (13-16) from the line against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30, the Cats have seen their free throw shooting decline steadily to the paltry 53.1 percent (17-32) they shot against Northern Illinois on Dec. 15. The Wildcats have shot better than 70 percent from the line in only four of the season's nine games so far. The UA ended the 1998-99 season shooting 72.1 percent from the stripe.
LONG RANGE IS LOOKING GOOD, THOUGH: Arizona seems to be on fire from three-point range so far this year. The Cats are hitting 41.8 percent from beyond the arc. That's their best total through the first nine games of a season since 1995-96.
BENCH CONTRIBUTIONS: The UA bench has been quite productive already this season, contributing an average of 30.2 points per game. The highest point total from the bench so far this year came on Dec. 10 against Texas Southern -- a whopping 47 of the Cats' 96 points came from the subs.
GOIN' DEEP: The best evidence that the UA is a deep squad this season? Lots of people playing lots of minutes. Currently, seven different Wildcat regulars are averaging more than 20 minutes a game.
GOIN' DEEPER: Joan Bonvicini made very good use of her bench against Texas Southern on Dec. 10. Eleven players saw 10 minutes or better in playing time during the contest.
STRONG SCHEDULE: There are a lot of quality teams which stand between the Wildcats and a fourth straight NCAA appearance in 2000. Four of the UA's opponents this season were ranked in last week's polls. This week's polls were unavailable at press time.
Pac-10 foe UCLA was ranked sixth in last week's A.P. poll, while Oregon was 15th, Kansas was 20th and UC Santa Barbara was 23rd. Stanford and Hawai'i both received votes for ranking.
In last week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, UCLA was tied for No. 8, Oregon was No. 14, Kansas was No. 18 and UC Santa Barbara wass No. 22. Stanford, Colorado State, Hawai'i and Louisville all received votes for ranking.
DUALLY SUCCESSFUL: Eleven schools had both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked among the A.P. Top 25 last week. They are Arizona, Connecticut, Auburn, North Carolina, Kansas, Duke, Tennessee, Texas, UCLA, Illinois and Purdue.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 23-16 in games settled by five points or less, including a 7-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS: Over the last nine seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 48 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: Seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 28-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 115-15 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 75-8 when topping that 80-point plateau.
CAT SCRATCHES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 18 of its last 21 games... The Cats are forcing opponents to commit an average of 5.4 more turnovers per game than the UA... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 302-389 (.437) all-time record, however it is 106-53 (.667) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 162-86 career record against Pac-10 teams.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 8-0 when out-rebounding its opponent... 9-0 when shooting better than 40% from the field... 9-0 when scoring 70 points or more... 8-0 when three or more players reach double digits in scoring.
RECORD WATCH: Lisa Griffith is Arizona's career leader in both three-pointers made (229) and attempted (610). She recently moved up to the #8 spot on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list, and with 990 career points, she needs just 10 more points to achieve 1,000 and to move into the #7 spot.
Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #4 with 88 career starts. She stands at sixth on the career assists list, with 381, and eighth on the career steals chart, with 172.
Felecity Willis is seventh in career three-pointers attempted (151) and eighth in three-pointers made (41). She is holding down fourth place on the all-time assists chart, with 421 career dishes.
Willis is also the latest addition to Arizona's all-time top 20 scoring list. She has 782 career points, which puts her in the #20 spot.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney has already entered the UA's top 10 list for career blocked shots. She stands in seventh place with 45 career blocks.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 6-0 at home this season, 1-0 in road games and 2-0 in neutral contests. Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests last year.
WILDCATS CLAIM TITLE OF INSIGHT.COM BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC: After falling in the championship game of the 1998 tournament, Arizona re-claimed the title of its ninth annual Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic with victories over Texas Southern (96-46) and Indiana (87-70) on Dec. 10-12.
The UA's Tatum Brown was unanimously voted the Tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals over the two games. Angela Lackey was named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
Arizona has made it to the championship in each of the nine tournaments and has claimed the title in four of the last five tourneys.
RECORDS FALLING ALREADY: Tatum Brown's 11-of-12 shooting performance against Colorado State on Dec. 6 tied the UA single-game record for field goal percentage (.917). It is also a new McKale Center record, breaking the previous mark of 84.6 percent (11-13) set by former UCLA player Denise Curry on Jan. 17, 1981.
Arizona also set a new school record by hitting a sizzling 75.9 (22-29) percent in the first half against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30.
BROWN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 6): Senior forward Tatum Brown was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 29-Dec. 5. Brown scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead No. 21 Arizona to an 86-76 upset over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30. In just 26 minutes of action, she shot 9-for-12 (.750) from the field and 3-for-4 (.750) from the line.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Brown's career, and the 17th all-time selection. Brown's honor followed Elizabeth Pickney's Player of the Week laurels the previous week, marking the first time in school history that the Wildcats have had back-to-back Pac-10 Players of the Week.
BETTER SUCCESS WITH RANKED TEAMS: After earning a mere 1-7 mark against nationally ranked teams last year, the Cats have already equalled that win total against ranked teams this season. On Nov. 30, the UA earned an 86-76 upset of No. 15 UC Santa Barbara, the highest ranked team the Cats have defeated since they garnered a 91-90 victory over 11th-ranked Stanford on Jan. 12, 1998.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT: The Cats shot a school-record 75.9 percent (22-29) from the floor in the first half of the UCSB contest on Nov. 30. For the game, they shot 63 percent (34-54), the highest field goal percentage for any team since the school record was set at 64.3 percent (36-56) against Drake on Nov. 25, 1990.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 29): Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Nov. 15-28. Pickney averaged 16.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game in the UA's four straight victories to open the season. She shot a team-high .575 (23-40) from the field and .720 (18-25) from the line during that stretch.
Pickney was named the Tournament MVP at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, leading Arizona to the team title with three wins. In the tourney, she averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Player of the Week honor was the first of Pickney's career and the 16th all-time selection for Arizona.
SULTANS OF SWAT: The Wildcats racked up nine blocked shots in the contest against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20. That is the highest single-game block total since the 1985 squad collected 10 at Tennessee-Chattanooga on Jan. 5, 1985. Elizabeth Pickney had five of the UA's blocked shots against Tennessee Tech, a career high for her.
As a team, Arizona collected 20 blocks over the first four game of the year, the highest block total ever over that stretch in any season.
CATS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP AT HAWAIIAN REGENT WAHINE CLASSIC: The Wildcats swept through three games in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21 to take the title at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, hosted by the University of Hawai'i.
Arizona garnered victories over Oklahoma (75-59), Tennessee Tech (87-71) and host team Hawai'i (86-73) to open the 1999-2000 season with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Elizabeth Pickney averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Cats and was the overwhelming favorite for tournament Most Valuable Player laurels. Felecity Willis and Tatum Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won five straight season openers and a total of seven in the nine years she has been at the UA.
In the 28 years of Arizona women's basketball, the Wildcats have won 15 season openers. The UA went on to post winning records in eight of those first 14 seasons.
FUTURE WILDCATS: On the first day of the early signing period (Nov. 10), Arizona inked a trio of high school recruits from the state of California. The signees were 5-10 guard Candice Allen (Ontario, CA/Ayala HS), 5-7 guard Aimee Grzyb (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) and 6-3 forward Veranda James (Pomona, CA/Ganesha HS). Arizona still has three more scholarships to give for the 2000-2001 season.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: For the third year in a row, the Wildcats earned a preseason national ranking. The Cats were ranked 25th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, and they were 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason Top 25.
The Wildcats were ranked among the top 25 teams in five different "unofficial" preseason polls this fall. The UA's highest ranking in these polls was 13th by Women's Basketball magazine and the lowest was 22nd by both Street & Smith's and the Basketball News Report.
Angela Lackey earned preseason third team All-America honors from Lindy's College Basketball and honorable mention All-America laurels from Street & Smith's College Basketball.
1998-99 IN REVIEW: Despite losing the squad's only two seniors before the season ever started, the very young 1998-99 Wildcats held their own and came up with an 18-11 overall record and went 12-6 in the Pac-10 to finish in fourth place.
The Cats faced a rough non-conference schedule that featured three teams which spent most of the season among the top four in the national rankings. Arizona went 5-4 against those non-conference opponents, with quality losses to Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Colorado State and a big road win over UC Santa Barbara.
That tough early slate prepared the Cats for a season of Pac-10 play which showed more parity than it has in years. After getting off to a rocky 1-3 start in league play, the Cats rebounded to finish the season 11-3, with wins over Pac-10 co-champion Oregon and over perennial power Stanford.
The Wildcats then received their third consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, earning a #6 seed in the Midwest Region. In Piscataway, N.J., Arizona faced NCAA tourney veteran Florida in the first round of play and defeated the Gators, 87-84, in overtime to move on to the second round for the third straight year. The Cats then took on host Rutgers, only to end the season on a sour note, falling to the Scarlet Knights, 90-47.
For the season, Arizona had its most balanced offense in five years, with four players averaging in double digits in scoring, and ended its season by winning 12 of its final 16 contests. The Cats broke or tied 13 school records on the year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).
With 14.4 points per game, Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by Elizabeth Pickney at 11.4 ppg. Pickney was the team's top rebounder, with 5.8 per game, while Willis was the team's assists leader, averaging 5.5 apg. Lackey was second in rebounding with 5.4 rpg, and Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP:
45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 So. Houston, TX 13.6 ppg 5.1 rpg 1.1 bpg
53 Tatum Brown F 6-4 Sr. Tacoma, WA 17.4 ppg 7.7 rpg 0.7 bpg
20 Julie Brase G 5-9 So. Tucson, AZ 9.4 ppg 3.0 rpg 2.1 apg
22 Monika Crank G 5-7 Sr. Page, AZ 5.2 ppg 3.6 rpg 2.6 apg
23 Felecity Willis G 5-7 Sr. Apple Valley, CA 7.0 ppg 5.4 apg 1.8 spg
OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically):
33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 So. Riverside, CA 1.9 ppg 0.7 rpg 0.3 apg
10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Jr. Omaha, NE 5.9 ppg 2.9 apg 2.4 spg
3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 Sr. Portland, OR 8.3 ppg 2.2 rpg 3.6 apg
34 Angela Lackey F 6-0 Sr. Louisville, KY 11.8 ppg 4.6 rpg 1.5 spg
51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 So. Oregon City, OR 1.2 ppg 1.8 rpg
21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 Fr. Simi Valley, CA 1.5 ppg 0.2 rpg 0.5 apg
50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 So. Houston, TX 2.0 ppg 2.6 rpg 0.4 bpg
35 Krista Warren G 6-2 Fr. Cloverdale, CA 2.2 ppg 2.3 rpg 0.7 apg
WHAT THE COACHES THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the
Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
1. UCLA 6. Washington
2. Oregon 7. USC
3. Stanford 8. Oregon State
4. ARIZONA 9. California
5. Arizona State 10. Washington State
WHAT THE MEDIA THINK: Here is the predicted order of finish for the
Pac-10 this season, according to the league's women's basketball media members...
1. UCLA 6. Arizona State
2. Oregon 7. USC
3. Stanford 8. Oregon State
4. ARIZONA 9. California
5. Washington 10. Washington State
ARIZONA ON THE TUBE: The Wildcats are currently scheduled to make television
appearances for four more games...
Tues. Dec. 21 at Kansas Sunflower Cablevision* 7:05 p.m. CST
Sat. Jan. 22 USC Fox Sports Net 2 p.m.
Sun. Jan. 30 Arizona State Fox Sports net 2 p.m.
Sat. Feb. 19 at UCLA Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST
(* broadcast in Lawrence, Kan., area on taped-delay basis)
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Mon. Dec. 20 depart for Kansas
Tues. Dec. 21 at Kansas, 7:05 p.m. CST
Wed. Dec. 22 Players depart from Kansas for Christmas break
Dec. 22-25 Christmas break
Sun. Dec. 26 Team meets in Louisville, Ky.
practice 6:30-8 p.m. EST in Louisville
Mon. Dec. 27 2-4 p.m. EST in Louisville
Tues. Dec. 28 vs. Marshall, 5 p.m. EST
Wed. Dec. 29 at Seelbach Cardinal Classic, 5 or 7:30 p.m. EST
Thurs. Dec. 30 return to Tucson, no practice