COMING UP: The Arizona women’s basketball team (5-10, 1-4) hosts Oregon State (6-6, 0-4) for a 7 p.m. game this Thursday, Jan. 12. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com. Live audio of the game is also available on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona, which has dropped eight of its last nine games, lost its fourth-straight game, a 76-60 defeat to USC in the Lyons Center Sunday. The Wildcats shot 38 percent from the field, 23 percent from downtown and 72 percent from the free throw line on the game. USC connected on 43 percent from the field, 26 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the charity stripe on the game. The Women of Troy dominated the glass, out-rebounding Arizona 43 to 25. It was the largest rebounding deficit of the season for the Wildcats. Arizona committed 19 turnovers to USC’s 20. Junior Joy Hollingsworth led Arizona with 14 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant added 12 points, while senior Natalie Jones finished with 10 points.
Whisonant leads Arizona this season with 14.5 points per game. Hollingsworth adds 14.2 points, while Jones averages 13.7 points. Sophomore Ch?© Oh leads the team with 6.0 boards per game. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 41 percent from the field, compared to the 47 percent of their opponents. They are also being out-rebounded 35.1 to 37.7.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: The Beavers dropped a 71-50 outing against California last Saturday. Oregon State finished the game with a perfect 10-for-10 mark from the charity stripe, but the Beavers were 0-for-10 from three-point range. The Bears also held a commanding 40 to 24 rebounding advantage. OSU senior forward Kim Butler reached double figures in scoring for the 12th-straight game with a team-best 16 points, and fellow senior Karen Vickery recorded a season-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and a 4-for-4 clip from the free throw line.
On the season, the Beavers are led by Butler, who averages 17.3 points per game. Anita Rivera adds 12.9 points, while Mandy Close averages 12.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. Tiffany Ducker leads the team with a 7.5 rebounding average. As a team, OSU is shooting 44 percent from the field on the season, compared to the 38 percent of its opponents. The Beavers are being out-rebounded 34.6 to 36.9 on the season.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona leads the all-time series with Oregon State 23-19, having won six in a row. The last time the two teams met, on Feb. 17, 2005, Arizona won 78-59 in Corvallis. The Wildcats are 14-6 at home, 7-13 away and 2-0 at a neutral site vs. the Beavers.
INJURY UPDATE: Junior Linda Pace suffered a left knee injury against Washington State on Dec. 29 and is out for the rest of the season. After missing the first two months of the season with a stress fracture in her right foot, freshman Amina Njonkou is expected to make her Wildcat debut against the Beavers on Thursday.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: As a team, Arizona ranks in the bottom half of the conference in every statistical category but offensive rebounds (third), turnover margin and free throw percentage (fourth), and three-point field goal average (fifth).
Individually, several Wildcats rank in the Top 10 in various categories. Senior Natalie Jones is fourth in minutes per game (34.9), fifth in free throw percentage (.855) and steals (2.3) and 10th in three-point field goals per game (1.5). Sophomore Ashley Whisonant is ninth in both scoring (14.5) and assists (3.5). Junior Joy Hollingsworth is sixth in three-point field goal average (2.0), eighth in offensive rebounds (2.5), and 10th in both scoring (14.2) and three-point field goal percentage (.341). Sophomore Ch?© Oh is tied for fifth in offensive rebounds (2.7) and 10th in minutes per game (32.5), while freshman Whitney Fields is tied for fifth in offensive rebounds (2.7).
SHOOTING WOES LEAD TO LOSSES: In each of its 10 losses this season, the Wildcats have had a worse shooting percentage than their opponents. In fact, the three times Arizona has produced a better field goal percentage than its opponent (Furman, Lehigh, Chicago State), the team has also won the game. Two times (Loyola Marymount, Washington State) the Wildcats have shot worse than the other team and still managed to win the game.
SHOOTING THE THREE OFTEN: Arizona has made 76 three-pointers this season, edging its opponents, which have made 73. However, the Wildcats have 57 more attempts than their counterparts, which accounts for the difference in percentage (37 percent compared to 30 percent). Last weekend alone, Arizona drained 15 threes.
LOOKING BACK: The last time Arizona started the season 5-10 was in 1990-91, when the Wildcats finished 6-25 overall and 1-17 in the Pac-10. That year, Arizona lost 21 of its last 22 games.
HALFTIME SCORE INDICATIVE OF FINAL RESULT: In Arizona’s 15 games this season, the halftime score has been indicative of the final result 13 times. The Wildcats are 0-8 when trailing at the half and 5-2 when leading. The only two games Arizona lost after leading at halftime were against Central Connecticut State and Utah.
HACK AWAY: The Wildcats are fouling quite a bit this season. In its 15 games, Arizona has committed more fouls than its opponent 11 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 eight games this season, six 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 62 percent of the team’s points. Whisonant has reached double-digit scoring in 14 of the 15 games, while Hollingsworth has 10 or more points in 13 games and Jones in 12.
JONES STARTS 80TH STRAIGHT GAME: Senior Natalie Jones started her 80th consecutive game at USC last Sunday. On her career, the guard has started 84 total games.
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 11 of their 15 games this season. The only games in which Arizona pulled down more boards than its opponent were against Loyola Marymount, Furman, UW-Green Bay and UCLA. In the other 11 games, the Wildcats have managed just 32.7 rebounds to their opponents’ 39.8 (-7.1).
NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP FOR WHISONANT: Sophomore guard Ashley Whisonant is leading the team with 14.7 points 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 was also named to both all-tournament teams in which Arizona has participated.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior Natalie Jones ranks sixth all-time at Arizona in both free throw percentage (.768) and three-point field goals attempted (330), and seventh in three-point field goals made (94). She looks to become just the 14th Arizona player ever to score 1,000 or more points as she has 922 on her career.
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 was ranked as high as No. 8, while Pac-10 teams USC and Arizona State were ranked in all four 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. Paul Johnson is in his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have two more games this season that will be broadcast on 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 hosts Oregon at noon this Saturday, Jan. 14. The game will be broadcast live to a national audience on FSN.