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Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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Dec. 23, 2003

The Arizona women's basketball team is not being noticed. The Arizona women's basketball team is flying under the radar. The Cats are not ranked in either poll, and are getting zero coverage (O.K. that's an exaggeration - after all, the Daily Star did offer a one- paragraph game story on page 10 of Sunday's edition after a huge win at New Mexico). However, all that doesn't matter because the team is winning, and I think someone once said that "winning isn't the only thing... it's everything." And in the world of women's basketball, nothing could be closer to the truth!

Joan Bonvicini's team will open Pac-10 play against Washington this Saturday at 2 p.m. at McKale Center. Fans who decide to attend will see a different kind of Arizona women's basketball team. The fans who attend will see an Arizona team that wins ugly...but they do win! You see, in the world of women's basketball, you have to win and win and win in order to have any chance to advance to the NCAA Tournament and make a run once you get there. The Wildcats have won 7 straight games, yet have fallen from a ranked position in the A.P. Poll to garnering just 17 votes. Why? Because in the in the world of women's basketball, the voters do not have a clue. That is why you have to win... win and win some more. The Wildcats are winning, but has anyone noticed?

Let's go back to the Pit in Albuquerque. Here is a town that is about the same size as Tucson and features a team in the pitiful Mountain West Conference. Yet, the Lobos average 11,000 fans per game. Almost 12,000 people saw Arizona win on Saturday, and the Cats lost votes in the polls! Huh? Last season, the Lobos were able to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, drawing 16,000+ for each game, and ended up in the Sweet Sixteen. Were the Lobos better than the Wildcats? No! Arizona had beaten them earlier in the season. But, the Lobos draw fans and that is the world of women's college basketball. If you are not one of the five or six top draws in the country, then the only way you can survive is to win... win and win again.

This Saturday, the Washington Huskies will visit Tucson in another series that has become a great Pac-10 rivalry. The Huskies are good, and so are the Wildcats. Yet neither team is ranked. Whether the rest of the country notices or not, this will be a great basketball game played between two top-25-caliber teams. Be there. You will see an Arizona team that wins. It may win ugly, but it wins. You can be a factor. After all, in the world of women's college basketball, you had better either reside on the east coast, draw 10,000 fans per game, or win-win-win and win some more!

Oh, by the way, Merry Christmas!

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson

All Arizona Women's Basketball Games are broadcast live on 1330 AM!

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