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01-22-08 Washington State Game Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/22/2008
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Complete Release as a PDF

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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (6-12, 0-7 Pac-10) travels to the Palouse to take on Washington State (3-15, 0-7 Pac-10), as the two teams battle for their first Pac-10 win on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. (PST).? The Wildcats are looking to erase an eight-game losing skid, as the Cougars look to end a nine-game losing streak.

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Catch the Action:

As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Derrick Palmer and Shannon Hobson calling the action from courtside.? Please visit www.arizonaathletics.com for all of your live stats and live video needs.

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Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show:

Hosted by Wildcat radio announcer Derrick Palmer, the Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show is broadcast live from 6-7 p.m. every Monday on KTUC 1400 AM and is held at the Varsity Clubs of America, located at Speedway and Alvernon. The show features Bonvicini with several special guests, ranging from players to staff members.

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California Recap:

Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 19 points and made five of No. 8 Californiaˇ?s season-high 10 three-pointers in a 66-45 victory over Arizona on Saturday.

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The Bears (17-2, 8-0) won their ninth straight game, the longest streak since the 1986-87 team won 10 consecutively. Cal also tied its school record with eight straight Pac-10 victories.

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The Bears had scoring help from Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker, who scored 10 apiece.

Rheya Neabors led Arizona (6-12, 0-7) with 13 points as the Wildcats lost their eighth straight game. Ashley Whisonant and Amina Njonkou each had 10.

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California usually has a powerful inside game, but relied on three-point shooting against Arizona, making 10 of 17 attempts.? Gray-Lawson hit from three-point range for a 17 point lead and then another to go ahead 55-34 with 9:21 remaining to pull ahead.? California made 10 of its first 15 three-pointers before finishing up the game with reserves.

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Arizona struggled offensively from everywhere, shooting 24 percent from the field against the Pac-10ˇ?s leader in scoring defense. The Wildcats made only 4 of 26 field goal attempts in the second half, and finished 3 for 17 overall from three-point range.?

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Natasha Vital hit two straight threeˇ?s to give the Bears a 45-31 lead with 14:29 left. Gray-Lawson not only connected from the perimeter but also scored off her steal and breakaway lay-up en route to a 16-point cushion as the Bears made five consecutive shots to open the second half.

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Arizona took a 21-16 lead on a Neabors three-pointer before California went on a 10-0 run to gain control before the first half. Gray-Lawson hit a pair of three-pointers during the Bearsˇ? run to help them take a 29-24 lead at the break.

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Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano served as a guest coach on the bench for the Wildcats, the fifth time she has done so during her tenure.

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A Quick Look at Arizona:

Arizona averages 64.3 points a game while shooting 40.9 percent from the field, 24.6 percent from three-point range, and 65.7 percent from the free throw line. Senior Ashley Whisonant leads Arizona with 15.8 points a game (4th in the Pac-10) while posting 3.9 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game (3rd in the Pac-10).

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About the Cougars:

The Washington State Cougars enter Thursdayˇ?s game with a 3-15 overall record and a 0-7 mark in the Pac-10.? WSU has lost its last nine-straight games, last winning at home on Dec. 16 against San Jose State (78-72) in overtime.? The Cougars are 2-7 at home so far this season.? As a team, WSU shoots 33.4 percent from the field, 32.2 percent from three-point range and 62.1 percent from the free throw line.? Katie Appleton leads the team with 11.8 points and 4.4 rebounds a game.? Head coach June Daugherty is in her first season at the helm of the WSU program.

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Series Notes:

Thursdayˇ?s game will be the 43rd meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Cougars on the hardwood, with Arizona owning a 24-18 all-time series advantage.? Last season, Arizona swept the Cougars in the two game series, defeating WSU, 59-57, in Pullman, Wash., and 55-51 in McKale Center.? Arizona has won 15 of the last 17 games in the series.? Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 22-10 against WSU.

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Streaky:

After beating New Mexico on the road in ˇ?The Pitˇ± (Dec. 15), the Wildcats had posted their fourth-straight win and were rolling with a 6-4 record.? Since that game, Arizona has lost its last eight-straight games, its longest losing streak since dropping nine-straight during the 2005-06 season.

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The Newest Wildcat:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team has added walk-on Ashley Gilpin and Sabreena Berger to its roster, head coach Joan Bonvicini has announced.?

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Gilpin, a senior from Las Cruces, N.M., is a 5-foot-9 guard currently studying psychology at the UA.? She hails from Mayfield HS, the same high school current Wildcat Marie McGee attended, and where the two were teammates.

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Berger, a 5-foot-9 sophomore, is from San Diego, Calif., and played high school ball at Point Loma HS.

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vs. Ranked Teams:

On Saturday, Arizona dropped its third-straight game to a ranked team, falling to No. 8 Cal, 45-66.? So far this season, Arizona is 0-4 against ranked teams, also losing to No. 20 Pitt (81-58), No. 25 ASU, and No. 6 Stanford. Over the last three seasons, the Wildcats are 0-23 against ranked opponents, going 0-12 against ranked teams last year.? Arizonaˇ?s last win against a ranked team was its 88-83 win over the Cardinal on Feb. 5, 2004.

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On the Road, Again:

After a season-long three game home stand, Arizona is back on the road.? The Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season, playing nine of their first 15 games on the road, and will now add to it with its upcoming trip to Washington.? With trips Oregon, Green Bay, Wis., Penn State, NC State, Long Beach, Calif., and New Mexico under their belts, the Wildcats have already racked up a grand total of 16,482 round trip miles (and it is only January).? Counting its trip to Pullman, Wash., then over to Seattle and back, the Wildcats will accumulate 3,340 more travel miles by weekˇ?s end, bringing their grand total up to 19,822 roundtrip miles so far this season.? And yes, it is still only January.? Weˇ?ll keep you posted on when the Wildcats earn their free round trip to anywhere in the United States.

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Arizona Head Coach Joan Bonvicini (17th season):

The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 17 seasons at the helm, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to nine postseason appearances, including seven NCAA Tournament berths and a WNIT Championship.? Under Bonvicini's tutelage, the Wildcats have finished in the upper tier of the Pac-10 in nine of the last 11 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history.

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During this time, Arizona has been nationally ranked multiple times, including a best ever ranking of No. 7 in 1998.? Bonvicini's success is mirrored in her players' accolades. She has produced one All-American, five honorable mention All-America selections, a Pac-10 Player of the Year, three Pac-10 Freshmen of the Year, 22 All-Pac-10 honorees, 17 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 18 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 283-215 (.569) mark at Arizona and is 608-286(.679) in 29 years as a head coach. On Feb. 8, 2007, Bonvicini became the 18th coach in NCAA Division I women's basketball history to reach the 600 win milestone with a 65-61 victory over Oregon State in McKale Center. She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances.

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Road Warriors:

With a wins against Long Beach State and New Mexico, the Wildcats managed to win two-straight road games for the first time since the 2004-05 season.? Arizona last won two-straight on the road in December of 2004 with wins at Chicago State and Washington.?

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Pit This:

Arizona went into New Mexicoˇ?s Pit and did something most visiting teams canˇ?t do: win.? The Wildcats snapped the Lobosˇ? 13-game home winning streak with their 44-36 win, as New Mexico was 7-0 on the season before Saturdayˇ?s game.

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Slow Starts:

Through 18 games, Arizona is getting outscored 506-618 by opponents in the first half, and is 3-11 when trailing at the half.? When leading at the half, Arizona is 3-1, as the Wildcats relinquished their first halftime lead at Oregon State (Jan. 3) after being up by 12 at halftime and leading by as many as 16 points in the second half.? In its last game, Arizona trailed California 29-24 at halftime, and has trailed at the half in its last four-straight games, and seven of its last eight.

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Almost History:

Arizonaˇ?s 44-36 win over New Mexico came very close to some intriguing historical proportions.? Arizonaˇ?s 44 points in the win was the programˇ?s lowest point total in a victory since beating Utah, 46-36, on Jan. 17 1974.? Arizonaˇ?s school low for a point total in a win is 36 in a win (36-30) over Northern Arizona on Feb. 10, 1973.

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Making History:

Arizonaˇ?s shooting against Cal on Jan. 19 made some dubious school history.? In that game, the Wildcats shot a school record low 24.1 percent from the field (13-54) in Pac-10 play.? Arizonaˇ?s 13 field goals in the game are also a school record low in Pac-10 play.

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Toe That Line:

So far, the Wildcats have shown an ability as a team to get to the free throw line.? Arizona has made it to the line 356 times (19.7 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 65.7percent (234-356) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting 70 percent (224-320) from the line against the Cats.

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Make Those Free Throws:

Free throw shooting has been a major factor in Arizonaˇ?s ability to win and lose games.? In the Wildcatsˇ? loss against USC (Dec. 28), Arizona shot 17-of-29 from the line (58.6 percent) against the Women of Troy, including a 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) mark in the second half.? Poor shooting from the line kept Arizona from making legitimate comeback attempt at the end of the game, as the Wildcats scored five-straight points in the final 22 seconds of the game to cut the deficit to seven points.? Against UCLA (Jan. 30), Arizona shot 19-of-29 from the line (65.5 percent) against the Bruins, including an 11-of-18 mark (61.1 percent).? Even though the 19 free throws were the second most for the Wildcats on the season, not being able to hit free throws in the second half prevented another comeback attempt, as Arizona cut the deficit to six points with 33 seconds to play in the game.

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Despite playing with six players, and with four players down the stretch, Arizona could have held off an Oregon State comeback (Jan. 3) had it hit its shots at the line.? The Wildcats shot a season-low 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the free throw line against the Beavers, including a 3-of-7 mark in the first half, and a 3-of-8 mark in overtime.

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Against Oregon (Jan. 5), the Wildcats erased a 16-point second half deficit and trailed 56-53 with 1:10 left to play, but shot 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the charity stripe.

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Itˇ?s an Improvement:

In its last three games, Arizona has been knocking down its shots at the free throw line, shooting 77 percent (47-61) over that span spearheaded by junior Amina Njonkouˇ?s 16-of-18 foul shooting.? Against Arizona State last Saturday, the Wildcats shot a solid 72.7 percent (16-22) from the free throw line.? Against Stanford on Thursday night, the Wildcats posted a 22-of-27 mark (81.5 percent), its Pac-10 season high.? Those numbers are a vast improvement from Arizonaˇ?s free throw shooting in the previous three games before that, as the Wildcats posted a 58.8 percent mark (57-of-97) from the free throw line over that span.? In the last three games, opponents have shot just 66 percent (31-47) from the line against the Wildcats.

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What do you know about Pressure?:

Arizona can put on some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through 18 games, Arizona has forced 365 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 20.3 turnovers a game.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 157 steals so far on the season for an 8.6 steals per game average.? Arizona ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in the steals department, and had six steals against Cal in its last outing.

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Rejectmuch:

Last season, Arizona tallied 51 blocked shots the entire season.? This year, it is a different story.? The Wildcats surpassed last yearˇ?s total in 15 games with 53 blocks, and owns 63 blocks in 18 games.? Arizona currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in the blocks department behind Stanford, averaging 3.5 blocks a game.? A big reason for the complete 180 when it comes to blocks has to do with junior Beatrice Bofia and her 20 blocks shots so far this season.? Freshman Ify Ibekwe is second on the team with 12 blocked shots.? Arizona has posted four blocks or more in seven games so far this season, including four of the last five contests.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through 18 games, the Wildcats have posted 595 points in the paint, which accounts for 51.4 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (1,157), and average 33.1 points per game down low.? However, Arizona was outscored 24-10 in the paint against California on Saturday.

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Pac-10ˇ?s Best:

In Pac-10 play, a few Wildcats have been tearing it up.? Through seven Pac-10 contests, senior Ashley Whisonant is averaging a league-best 17.6 points a game in 39.6 minutes of action.? Junior Amina Njonkou is third in rebounding with 8.1 rebounds a game in league play, and junior Beatrice Bofia leads with 1.8 blocks a game in Pac-10 play.

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant has been counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has flourished in that position.? So far, Whisonant has played at an All-Pac-10 level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 15.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists a game while snagging 1.7 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 37.6 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring average, third in assists per game, and first in minutes per game.?

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Game of a Lifetime:

Ashley Whisonant showed why she is one of the best players in the Pac-10 last Thursday against the Beavers.? Whisonant led a team of just six players with a career-high 34 points in 48 minutes of action.? Her 34 points is the fourth-best mark in school history, one point shy of the all-time school record (35 points).? She tied a school record with 15 field goal attempts, and set a new school record with 29 field goal attempts.?

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All-Time Scorer:?

Ashley Whisonant scored her 1,000th career point in the final game of the season last year, and look for her to climb up the Arizona all-time point leader list this season.? So far this season, Whisonant has moved up seven spots on the all-time Arizona scorers list, and currently ranks seventh all-time with 1,287 career points in 111 games (11.6 career ppg average).? She needs 12 more points to tie Dana Patterson (1985-88, 1,299 points) for sixth all-time.?

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On Fire:

So far this season, Whisonant has posted double-figures in points in 15 of 18 games, including the last six-straight as she has been on an absolute tear as of late.? In her last six games, Whisonant is averaging 19.2 points a game.? Against Stanford on Thursday, Whisonant finished with a team-high 17 points to go with four assists in all 40 minutes of action, and posted 10 points against Cal on Saturday.

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Ms. 100:

Senior Ashley Whisonant has been a constant in the Arizona lineup ever since her freshman season, and she is on pace to be one of Arizonaˇ?s all-time leaders in games played.? She played in her 100th career game against NAU (Dec. 6), and is on pace to finish her career with 123 games played, a figure that will rank No. 3 all-time in school history.

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Looking For a Dime:

With each dime Ashley Whisonant dishes out, she is moving to the top of the line on Arizonaˇ?s all-time career assists list.? With 345 career assists, Whisonant is now the No. 10 assists disher in Arizona history.? She needs 3 more to tie Aimee Grzyb (2001-04, 348 assists) for No. 9 all-time.

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Amina the Bull:

Junior forward Amina Njonkou is a force down low in the paint, and her strength allows her to bull over defenders.? The 6-foot-1 Cameroon native has posted double-figures in points in the last 12-straight games including double-doubles in the last five of the last nine games.? Over the last 12 contests, Njonkou is averaging 14.7 points and 8.2 rebounds a game over that span.? In the last nine games, Njonkou is posting 15.8 points and 8.8 rebounds a game.?

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Against ASU, Njonkou finished with a career-best 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and a 9-of-11 mark from the free throw line to go with five boards.? Against Stanford, she posted 13 points but finished with just two rebounds, and had 10 points and eight rebounds against Cal in her last outing

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On the season, Njonkou is posting 13 points and 6.9 rebounds a game while shooting 47 percent (78-166) from the field, the ninth-best mark in the Pac-10.? In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 15.7 points and 8.1 rebounds a game, and is shooting a team-best 75.9 percent (44-58) from the free throw line.

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Double-Double Machine:

Before her 17 point and nine rebound performance against Oregon State (Jan. 3), Amina Njonkou had posted double-doubles four straight games, putting her in some very exclusive company in the Arizona history books.? Njonkou became the first player to record four-straight double-doubles since Shawntinice Polk posted five-straight double-doubles during the 2003-04 season (Feb. 7-19).? Njonkou has seven double-doubles so far on the season after finishing with 11 points and 10 boards against Oregon on Jan. 5.

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Ms. Wildcat:

Freshman Tasha Dickey, simply put, was born to be a Wildcat.? The daughter of two former Arizona athletes, Dickey has shown her tremendous athletic ability on the court.? On the season, she is averaging 7.4 points and 2.0 rebounds a game in 23.6 minutes of action.? Dickey is also second on the squad with 26 steals.? Against Stanford, Dickey finished with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field, including a team-best 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range.? In Pac-10 play, Dickey posts 8.6 points a game.

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Cats Picked To Finish Eighth in the Pac-10:

The University of Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team was selected to finish eighth in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conferenceˇ?s head coaches.? The Wildcats garnered 31 points in the poll, as seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this yearˇ?s Pac-10 title.

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The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes and 79 points, as Arizona State received a first-place nod and tallied 71 points to place second. California was tabbed to finish third with a first-place vote and 68 points, followed by fourth-place USC with 56 points and fifth-place UCLA with 44 points. Washington grabbed 41 points to place sixth, followed by Oregon (34), as Arizona (31), Oregon State (16) and Washington State (10) rounded out the poll.

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Tough Schedule:

Year in and year out, Arizona never runs away from a challenge, but rather takes on the best teams in the nation head on during the nonconference schedule before playing in the always daunting Pac-10 Conference.

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The Wildcats will play 29 games during 2007-08, 13 games in McKale Center and 16 on the road, with 14 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.

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The UA will take on 10 teams that competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, with non-conference matchups against Middle Tennessee State, Pittsburgh, Boise State, New Mexico, NC State, and UW-Green Bay, along with Pac-10 series against California, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State.

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Rank This:

Arizonaˇ?s tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this yearˇ?s preseason rankings.? In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN and AP Preseason poll, five of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the regular season.? Arizona will face No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 California, No. 21 Pittsburgh and No. 25 NC State.? Additionally, six other Arizona opponents (Middle Tennessee, USC, New Mexico, UCLA, Boise State and Wisconsin-Green Bay) each received votes in the poll.

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Up Next:

Arizona will travel to Seattle, Wash., for a game against Washington on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. in Back of American Arena.

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