WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (No. 22 AP/No. 20 USA Today) wraps up regular season play with a pair of contests in the Bay Area this weekend. The Wildcats play at Stanford on Thursday, Mar. 9, at 7:30 p.m. PST, then the UA takes on California on Saturday, Mar. 11, at 1 p.m. PST.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 So. Houston, TX 10.0 ppg 4.2 rpg 1.0 bpg 53 Tatum Brown F 6-4 Sr. Tacoma, WA 13.2 ppg 8.0 rpg 0.7 bpg 3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 Sr. Portland, OR 8.6 ppg 2.1 spg 3.7 apg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Jr. Omaha, NE 8.2 ppg 3.5 rpg 2.1 spg 23 Felecity Willis G 5-7 Sr. Apple Valley, CA 7.9 ppg 5.3 apg 1.5 spgABOUT ARIZONA: Ranked 22nd in the A.P. poll this week, the Wildcats slipped to 22-6 overall and 11-5 in the Pac-10 after a 75-71 loss to Oregon at home on Saturday. The Cats have lost three of their last five games.
OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically): 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 So. Riverside, CA 3.0 ppg 1.1 rpg 20 Julie Brase G 5-9 So. Tucson, AZ 6.5 ppg 2.5 rpg 1.9 apg 22 Monika Crank G 5-7 Sr. Page, AZ 5.1 ppg 2.5 rpg 2.2 apg 34 Angela Lackey F 6-0 Sr. Louisville, KY 12.7 ppg 5.1 rpg 1.7 spg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 So. Oregon City, OR 1.1 ppg 1.2 rpg 21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 Fr. Simi Valley, CA 0.8 ppg 0.2 rpg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 So. Houston, TX 2.7 ppg 2.7 rpg 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 Fr. Cloverdale, CA 3.6 ppg 2.7 rpg
With 13.2 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, senior forward Tatum Brown remains the UA leader in both categories. Senior forward Angela Lackey is a close second in scoring, with 12.7 ppg, and is second in rebounding, at 5.1 rpg. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in third in both categories, averaging 10.0 ppg and 4.2 rpg.
Guards Lisa Griffith (8.6 ppg), Reshea Bristol (8.2 ppg), Felecity Willis (7.9 ppg) and Julie Brase (6.5 ppg) follow on the scoring chart. Willis is the team's assists leader, at 5.3 per game, while Griffith and Bristol have the highest steals average, at 2.1 per game each.
Arizona leads the Pac-10 in four different statistical categories, including scoring (78.9 ppg), scoring margin (+11.0 ppg) and assists (18.46 apg). Individually, Tatum Brown is tops in field goal percentage (.613) and third in rebounding (8.0 rpg), while Felecity Willis is third in assists (5.25 apg).
"SELECTION SUNDAY" PLANS: The UA women's basketball players and staff will gather in the McKale Room at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 12, to watch the NCAA tournament "Selection Show" on ESPN. All media are invited to attend, and the players and staff will be available for interviews once the tournament bracket is announced.
The team will have its annual awards banquet at 5:30 p.m. that same day at the Marriott University Park.
ABOUT STANFORD: The Cardinal split a pair of contests in L.A. last weekend to move to 19-7 overall and 12-4 in the Pac-10. Stanford fell at UCLA, 64-61, on Friday, then recovered to defeat USC, 66-64, on Sunday. The Cardinal have won eight of their last 10 games and are 11-1 on their home court this season. Stanford is not currently ranked but is receiving votes in both polls.
With 12.5 points per game, junior forward Carolyn Moos leads three Stanford players averaging in double digits in scoring. She is the team's second-leading rebounder, with 5.6 rpg, behind sophomore forward Bethany Donaphin's 5.8 rpg. Senior guard Milena Flores is averaging 11.5 points per game, and freshman guard Jamiey Carey is recording 10.8 ppg.
Stanford is leading the Pac-10 in three-point percentage (.408), three-pointers per game (7.04) and in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.92). The Cardinal is second in scoring (73.8 ppg), scoring margin (+8.8 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.393). Milena Flores is the Pac-10 leader in assists (5.85 apg) and in free throw percentage (.873). Jamie Carey (.469) and Lauren St. Clair (.463) are first and second, respectively, in three-point percentage.
In her 14th year at Stanford, head coach Tara VanDerveer (Indiana, 1975) has a 343-89 mark. She is 495-140 in 21 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. STANFORD: Stanford has a solid 29-8 lead in the series with Arizona. Arizona has won only two of the last five meetings with the Cardinal. Earlier this season, the Cats lost a barn-burner, 98-95, to the Cardinal in Tucson on Jan. 8. Last year in Palo Alto, Stanford handed Arizona a sound 79-64 defeat on Jan. 28, 1999.
Arizona has not won in Maples since the inception of the Pac-10, a streak of 13 consecutive losses in Palo Alto. The last time the Wildcats won at Stanford was during the Pac-West days, when the UA took a 75-59 victory on Mar. 8, 1986.
LAST MEETING WITH STANFORD: For the second time in the young season, the Wildcats blew a double-digit lead against tough competition, and it cost them the game. On Jan. 8, Arizona was edged, 98-95, by Stanford at home, ending the Cats' school-record 15-game home win streak.
Stanford jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead in the early going, then the Cats went on a 26-10 run that gave them a 10-point (26-16) lead at the 11:03 mark. The Cardinal then out-scored the UA, 35-20, over the remainder of the half and, at the buzzer, hit a three-pointer which would prove to be the Cats' undoing.
Stanford managed to push its lead to as great as 13 points (84-71) at 6:11 in the second half and then staved off a furious 24-14 rally by the Cats to win the game by three points.
The UA's Angela Lackey led all scorers with her 21 points and set new school single-game records with 15 free throws made out of 20 attempts. Felecity Willis contributed 18 points, while Julie Brase added 16 points that included a perfect 10-for-10 performance from the line. LaKeisha Taylor pulled down a game-high-tying and career-high 10 rebounds.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA: Winners of three of their last four games, the Golden Bears are 10-16 overall and 5-11 in Pac-10 play following a split with the L.A. schools last weekend. Cal lost a close one to USC, 81-78, on Friday, then pulled off the 61-53 upset of UCLA on Sunday. The Golden Bears will play host to Arizona State on Thursday before facing the Wildcats on Saturday.
Three Golden Bears are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by junior guard Courtney Johnson's 11.6 ppg. Sophomore center Shavaki Jackson is close behind at 11.2 ppg and is the team's top rebounder at 8.1 per game. Junior guard Kenya Corley is averaging 10.5 points per game, and junior forward Lauren Ashbaugh is the second-leading rebounder, with 6.2 rpg.
California is third in the Pac-10 in rebounding (39.3 rpg). Shavaki Jackson is the conference's second-leading rebounder (8.1 rpg), and Courtney Johnson leads the league in steals (3.23 spg).
Cal head coach Marianne Stanley (Immaculata, 1976) holds a 34-64 mark in her fourth season with the Golden Bears. As a head coach, she has a 414-223 record in 21 years.
THE SERIES vs. CALIFORNIA: The series with Cal is the only Pac-10 series in which Arizona holds the edge. The Wildcats have an 18-13 lead in the series with the Golden Bears, including victories in each of the last nine meetings and in 12 of the last 13. Earlier this year, Arizona logged a 71-58 win over Cal on Jan. 6 in Tucson. At Cal last year, the Cats registered a 77-58 victory on Jan. 30.
Arizona holds a 7-8 all-time mark when playing at California. With a string of four straight road wins over the Golden Bears, Arizona last lost in Berkeley on Feb. 11, 1995, a 94-66 defeat.
LAST MEETING WITH CALIFORNIA: The Cats had to overcome their worst shooting performance of the season-to-date to garner a 71-58 win over California at home in their Pac-10 opener on Jan. 6.
The first half was a tight one, with nine lead changes and six ties, but the Cats managed a five-point (39-34) lead at the break. The UA opened the second half with a 16-7 spurt that gave it a 14-point (55-41) advantage at the 11:59 mark.
Cal fought back to within four but would come no closer as Arizona ended the game on a 12-3 run to claim the victory.
Tatum Brown led all scorers with her 15 points, and Angela Lackey earned her second double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds to go with a game-high four steals.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: It was a tale of two halves as the Wildcats fell to Oregon, 75-71, in their final home game of the year on Mar. 4.
Arizona opened the game on fire, shooting 58.6 percent in the first half and holding a 46-29 lead at halftime. The Cats made each of their first five shots in the game and nailed seven treys in the first half alone.
After pushing the lead to 20 points (57-37) at the 14:37 mark in the second half, Arizona's offense stalled out and never recovered. The Ducks outscored the UA, 38-14, over the remainder of the game, holding the Cats to only four points in the final eight minutes on the clock.
Four Wildcats reached double digits in scoring, with Lisa Griffith and Tatum Brown notching 12 points apiece. Brown and Angela Lackey grabbed game-highs of 10 rebounds each, while Lackey contributed 11 points. Reshea Bristol came off the bench to put up 11 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 performance from the line.
LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona is hoping to earn its fourth straight NCAA tournament berth this weekend. The tournament selections will be announced on Sunday, Mar. 12, at 3:15 p.m. MT on ESPN. The women's first- and second-round games will be conducted at the sites of the top four seeds in each bracket on Mar. 17-20. Regionals will be Mar. 25 and 27 at Richmond, Va. (East Region); Memphis, Tenn. (Mideast Region); Kansas City, Mo. (Midwest Region); and Portland, Ore. (West Region).
CATS SET ATTENDANCE RECORD: The 5,272 fans who watched the Cats play Oregon in the McKale Center on Mar. 4 set a new single-game attendance record for Arizona women's basketball. The previous high was 4,693, set when Arizona defeated Virginia on Mar. 15, 1998, while hosting the second round of the NCAA tournament.
WINS RECORD WITHIN REACH: The Wildcats are only one victory away from tying the school record for the most wins in a season. The record is 23 victories, set by the 1997 team and tied by the 1998 team. No team has ever tallied more than 23 wins in a season.
ARIZONA'S SCHEDULE: Here is the upcoming schedule for the Wildcats... Tues. Mar. 7 practice 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Mar. 8 practice 12:30-2 p.m. McKale lifting before depart for Bay Area, 2:30 p.m. Thurs. Mar. 9 at Stanford, 7:30 p.m. PST Maples Pavilion Fri. Mar. 10 practice 1-3 p.m. PST Haas Pavilion Sat. Mar. 11 at California, 1 p.m. PST Haas Pavilion Sun. Mar. 12 Selection Show, 3 p.m. McKale Room Awards Banquet, 5:30 p.m. Marriott University Park Mon. Mar. 13 practice 2-4:30 p.m. Bear Down lifting after Tues. Mar. 14 practice 4:30-7 p.m. Bear DownTRACKING THE PAC-10: With a 13-4 record in Pac-10 play, Oregon has sole possession of first place in the league standings. Stanford is a close second, with a 12-4 record, followed by Arizona at 11-5, UCLA at 10-6 and Oregon State at 10-7
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 156-104 (.600) mark and has a 481-175 (.733) 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.
BONVICINI FINALIST FOR COACH OF THE YEAR: Fifteen finalists have been named for the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year Award, including Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini.
The winner, selected by Naismith's National Advisory Board members, NCAA Division I coaches, former Naismith winners, NCAA Division I conference commissioners and media representatives, will be presented with the award April 8 in Atlanta.
The other finalists are Pat Summitt (Tennessee), Geno Auriemma (Connecticut), Leon Barmore (Louisiana Tech), Vivian Stringer (Rutgers), Andy Landers (Georgia), Joe Ciampi (Auburn), Bill Fennelly (Iowa State), Mark French (UC Santa Barbara), Gail Goestenkors (Duke), Sue Gunter (Louisiana State), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Rene Portland (Penn State), Marsha Sharp (Texas Tech), and Kay Yow (North Carolina State).
RACKING UP THE WINS: Joan Bonvicini needs only three more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined (159).
DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 83-77 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 49-21 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is in 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 with scouting and with coaching the post players.
DOUBLING UP: Senior forward Tatum Brown leads the Pac-10 with nine double-doubles on the season, including back-to-back double-doubles against the Oregon schools last weekend. Fellow senior Felecity Willis is one of only two players in the conference to rack up a points-assists double-double this year, when she had 15 points and 10 assists at Washington on Jan. 15.
TO START OR NOT TO START: Seems that Joan Bonvicini's decision to insert Reshea Bristol into the starting lineup a few weeks ago was a good one. In the eight contests that the junior guard has started, she has averaged 11.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. During that stretch, she also hit 47.9 percent from the floor and 80.8 percent from the free throw line.
In the 16 games which saw Bristol coming off the bench, she averaged only 6.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. She shot only 33.7 percent from the floor and 78.7 percent from the line.
BY THE NUMBERS: Nineteen of Arizona's wins this year have been by an average of 10 points or more... Each loss has been by an average of 7.8 points per game... The Cats have hit five or more 3-pointers in 17 games this season... Arizona has 20 or more assists in 13 games this year... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 18 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 19 contests, and no opponent has committed less than 14.
GOTTA TAKE CARE OF THE BALL: Arizona has committed an average of 22.3 turnovers per game over the last nine contests. During that stretch, the Cats have forced opponents into an average of only 21.6 turnovers per game.
Arizona had its season high of 29 turnovers at UCLA on Feb. 19, also the UA's highest turnover total since committing 36 at Arizona State on Jan. 17, 1998.
On the upside, however, the Cats tied their season low of 13 turnovers in the overtime win over Oregon State on Mar. 2. That was the lowest turnover total for the UA since committing only 13 against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20 in Hawai'i.
SHAKING THOSE FREE THROW WOES: Arizona was wildly inconsistent from the free throw line during non-conference play this season, hitting only 66.0 percent from the line. During that time-frame, the Cats shot as well as 84 percent (vs. Tennessee Tech) and as poorly as 53.1 percent (vs. Northern Illinois).
Since entering Pac-10 play, the Cats have regained some consistency, and accuracy, from the free throw line. They are shooting 71.5 percent from the stripe against conference opponents.
In the overtime win over Oregon State on Mar. 2, the Wildcats tied the school record for single-game free throw percentage, hitting 20-of-22 from the stripe for 90.9 percent.
CRASHING THE BOARDS: Rebounding was a major problem for the Wildcats over the last few years, but they are on an upswing in that area. The UA has out-rebounded or been equal to its opponent in 25 of this season's games. That's a great improvement over last season, when the Cats out-rebounded only seven opponents in all 29 games combined.
BENCH CONTRIBUTIONS: The UA bench has been quite productive this season, contributing an average of 28.6 points per game. The highest point total from the bench this year came on Dec. 10 against Texas Southern, when 47 of the UA's 96 points came from the subs.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 92-41 mark in McKale Center, including a 61-13 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 158-149 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
STRONG SCHEDULE: Several of the UA's opponents this season are ranked in this week's polls.
UC Santa Barbara is ninth in this week's A.P. poll, while Oklahoma is 18th and Oregon is 24th. Stanford, Kansas and UCLA all received votes for ranking.
In this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, UC Santa Barbara is No. 8, Oklahoma is No. 21 and Kansas is No. 25. UCLA, Oregonand Stanford all received votes for ranking.
DUALLY SUCCESSFUL: Eight schools had both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked among the A.P. Top 25 this week. They are Arizona, Duke, Iowa State, Tennessee, Louisiana State, Oklahoma, Connecticut and Purdue.
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 121-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 81-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 25-19 in games settled by five points or less, including a 9-4 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 50 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 19-5 when out-rebounding its opponent... 19-1 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 20-5 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 19-2 when scoring 70 points or more... 17-2 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent... 17-5 when three or more players reach double digits in scoring.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Cats are forcing opponents to commit an average of 2.54 more turnovers per game than the UA, the highest ratio in the Pac-10... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 315-395 (.444) all-time record, however it is 119-59 (.669) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 173-91 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 12-3 at home this season, 7-3 in road games and 3-0 in neutral contests. Last season, Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Lisa Griffith is the Arizona and the Pac-10 career leader in both three-pointers made (273) and attempted (726). She recently moved up to the #5 spot on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list, with 1,157 career points.
Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #2 with 106 career starts. She is second on the career steals chart, with 217, and is fifth on the career assists list, with 452.
Felecity Willis is sixth in career three-pointers attempted (184) and is seventh in three-pointers made (52). She is holding down third place on the UA all-time assists chart and is ninth all-time in the Pac-10, with 519 career dishes.
Willis also stands in the #14 spot on the UA all-time scoring list, with 939 career points. She needs three more points to move into the #13 spot. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in fifth place on the UA all-time blocked shots list, with 63.
GRIFFITH TO PARTICIPATE IN 3-POINT CHAMPIONSHIP: UA senior guard Lisa Griffith has been selected as a participant in the Annual College Three-Point Basketball Championship on Thursday, Mar. 30, in Indianapolis, Ind. Along with the Slam Dunk Championship, the 3-point contest is one of the activities surrounding the men's Final Four and will be broadcast on ESPN on Mar. 30 from 9-11 p.m. EST.
LONG RANGE BOMBING: The Wildcats saw their streak of 58 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer made come to an end when they failed to connect on any treys at Arizona State on Feb. 26.
CATS REGISTER BEST PAC-10 START EVER: Arizona's 9-2 mark through the first 11 games of Pac-10 play was its best start ever in league action. Previously, the UA had never made it through the first 11 conference games with less than three losses.
ACHIEVING 20 WINS: With its defeat of Washington State on Feb. 12, this UA squad became the fastest ever to reach the 20-win mark. No other Wildcat team has ever been able to reach 20 wins in only 23 games. It was also the earliest in the season that any team has reached 20 wins. The earliest mark previously was set by the 1996-97 squad, which reached the 20-win plateau on Feb. 22.
FELECITY WILLIS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb. 7): Senior guard Felecity Willis was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 31-Feb. 6.
Willis, from Apple Valley, Calif., averaged 11.0 points, 7.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while leading the Cats to their first road sweep of the Oregon schools in 10 years. She shot .455 (5-for-11) from the floor and .833 (10-for-12) from the free throw line over the two games.
In the victory at Oregon, which snapped the Ducks' 19-game home winning streak, Willis scored a season- and game-high 19 points, including 17 in the second half. She dished out a game-high eight assists, leading the Wildcats to their first win in Eugene since 1997. Willis went 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:20 to seal the 73-66 win. In the victory at Oregon State, she tallied a game-high seven assists to go with three points and three rebounds.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Willis' career, and the 19th all-time selection for the Wildcats. It is also the first time that Arizona has had four recipients in the same year.
GRIFFITH BECOMES PAC-10 LEADER: On Jan. 30, senior guard Lisa Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in three-pointers attempted, surpassing former Washington player Jamie Redd's total of 675. Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in 3-pointers made during the 1998-99 season.
BONVICINI REACHES MILESTONES: With the win over Arizona State on Jan. 30, Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 150th win at the UA and 475th win as a head coach.
PICKNEY TOPS 500: Against UCLA on Jan. 20, sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney became the latest Wildcat to top the 500-point plateau in career scoring.
LISA GRIFFITH NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 17): Senior guard Lisa Griffith was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 10-16.
Griffith averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 rebounds per game while leading the Wildcats to their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools on Jan. 13 and 15. She shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the floor, including a blazing 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from three-point range.
In the win at Washington, Arizona's first victory ever in Seattle, Griffith drained a school-record-tying seven treys en route to a career-high 26 points. She shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, marking the first time any Wildcat has hit seven treys in one game since Griffith herself did it twice during the 1996-97 season. In the win over Washington State, she tallied 14 points, four steals and seven assists.
The Player of the Week honor is the second of Griffith's career, and was the 18th all-time selection for Arizona.
CATS EARN FIRST ROAD SWEEP IN WASHINGTON: With wins at Washington State (83-68) on Jan. 13 and at Washington (96-85) on Jan. 15, Arizona completed its first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. While the Cats had previously been able to defeat Washington State in Pullman, this season's win at Washington was the UA's first in 14 attempts.
A GREAT START: With their victory over California on Jan. 6, the Wildcats tied the 1995-96 team for the best start ever at 12-1.
CATS SET RECORD WITH HOME WIN STREAK: Arizona set a new school record this season with a 15-game home win streak, dating from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 8, 2000. They saw their streak end with a 98-95 loss to Stanford on Jan. 8. The previous long streak was a string of 10 games midway through the 1997-98 season.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS: The Cats went 11-1 in regular season non-conference play this year, their best non-conference mark since the 1995-96 team went 9-0. The 11 victories are the most regular season non-conference wins ever under Joan Bonvicini.
During the 12 non-conference games, the Cats averaged 83.1 points per game and out-scored their opponents by an average of 18 points per game. They shot 48.8 percent from the field, including a blazing 42.3 percent from three-point range. The UA out-rebounded its opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per contest. The Cats also averaged 20.0 assists and 11.0 steals per game, while forcing opponents to commit an average of 22.8 turnovers per game.
CATS TAKE SEELBACH CLASSIC TITLE: Arizona won its third regular-season tournament when it swept through the Seelbach Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 28-29. The Cats had a solid showing in the first round with a 91-61 pounding of Marshall on Dec. 28. Although host team Louisville managed to hang with the UA most of the contest, the Cats pulled out an 80-70 victory in the championship game to take the tournament title.
After averaging 14.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the two contests, Wildcat Tatum Brown was selected the Tournament MVP, her second such honor of the year. Louisville native Angela Lackey was selected to the All-Tournament Team as well, also her second such honor of the season.
GRIFFITH JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB: With 3:04 left in the first half at Kansas on Dec. 21, senior guard Lisa Griffith knocked down her third three-pointer of the game to become the eighth Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring. The last Wildcat to join the 1,000-point club was Griffith's former teammate, Adia Barnes, who reached that mark during the 1996-97 season.
WILDCATS CLAIM TITLE OF INSIGHT.COM BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC: After falling in the championship game of the 1998 tournament, Arizona reclaimed 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.
RECORDS FALLING: 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.
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.
DOVE IANELLO AMONG TOP ASSISTANTS: In a survey of head women's coaches conducted by the Women's Basketball Journal last fall, UA associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello received votes for consideration as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
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).
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.
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 StateThe Pac-10 media also picked Arizona to finish fourth in the league standings this year.
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. 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.