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012-13-2007 New Mexico Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/13/2007
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C oming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (5-4) takes its three-game winning streak on the road for a game at New Mexico (7-2) on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. in ˇ?The Pit.ˇ±? It is Arizonaˇ?s first trip to New Mexico since a 50-49 win over the Lobos on Dec. 20, 2003.

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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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Boise State Recap:

Freshman Ify Ibekwe put in a layup as time expired to give Arizona a thrilling 62-61 comeback victory over Boise State on Wednesday night in McKale Center.?

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As a team, Arizona shot 45 percent (27-60) from the field while holding Boise State to a 36.2 percent mark (21-58).? The Wildcats outrebounded the Broncos 35-34, and picked up nine steals off of 21 BSU turnovers.? Arizona also outscored Boise State 42-12 in the paint.

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Individually for the Wildcats, senior Ashley Whisonant finished with a game-high 18 points to go with three steals, and Ibekwe tallied her second-straight double-double and third of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds.? Junior Amina Njonkou added 10 points.

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Senior Jackie Lee and junior Tasha Harris led Boise State with 15 points apiece.

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Boise State jumped out to a quick start, taking a 10-4 lead over the Wildcats at the 16:17 mark.? The Broncos increased their lead to 14-6, but Arizona went on a 10-0 scoring run over 4:03 to take a 16-14 lead at the 9:46 mark.? Boise State responded with a 9-0 run of its own to take a 23-16 lead, and went up 29-19 at the 5:00 mark on a three by Jessica Thompson.? The Broncos were up 32-21 with 3:19 left in the first half, but Arizona closed out the half with six-straight points to cut the deficit to 33-27.? Both teams shot 40 percent (12-30) from the floor in the first half.

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The Broncos expanded their lead to 41-32 in the first two minutes of the second half, but Arizona rallied with an 8-0 run to trail 41-40 at the 16:01 mark.? BSU took a 47-40 lead on a three by Harris at the 14:50 mark, but the Wildcats rallied again with another 8-0 run to take a 48-47 lead with 10:47 left in the game.? Arizona led 58-57 with 4:25 left, but Boise State put in two layups to go up 61-58 with 2:07 left.?

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Whisonant made a lay in with 37 seconds left to cut the deficit to 61-60.? After a BSU turnover, Jackie Lee stole the ball from Whisonant on an inbound play but stepped out of bounds to turn the ball back over to the Wildcats with eight seconds in the game.? On the ensuing drive, Whisonant missed a layup with four seconds left, but Ibekwe grabbed the rebound and put in a layup as time expired to give Arizona the win.? Arizona shot 50 percent (15-30) from the field in the second half, holding Boise State to a 32.1 percent mark (9-28).

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About the Lobos:

The New Mexico Lobos enter Saturdayˇ?s matchup with a 7-2 overall record after winning their last two straight and four of their last five games.? New Mexico is 7-0 at home with the always daunting ˇ?Pitˇ± advantage, as the Lobos average 7,809 fans per game.? As a team, New Mexico shoots 40.7 percent from the floor, 35.3 percent from three point range and 69.2 percent from the free throw line.? Dionne Marsh leads the team with 15.1 points and 6.8 rebounds a game, and Amy Beggin adds 13.6 points a game.? Head coach Don Flanagan is in his 13th season at the helm of the New Mexico program.

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Series Notes:

Saturdayˇ?s game will be the 18th meeting between the Wildcats and the Lobos on the hardwood with Arizona owning a 9-8 series lead.? Arizona has won two of the last three contests, including its last trip to ˇ?The Pitˇ±, a 50-49 victory on Dec. 20, 2003.? New Mexico beat Arizona last season, 76-63, on Dec. 5 in McKale Center.

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On the Road Again:

The Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season and this weekend will be another trip added to the list.? After two trips to the East Coast and a trip last weekend to California, the Wildcats will head to New Mexico, another neighbor state.? Counting the trip to Albuquerque, and with trips to Penn State, NC State and Long Beach, Calif., under their belts, the Wildcats have already racked up 9,898 round trip travel miles.? Arizona still has a trip to Wisconsin-Green Bay to go on before the Pac-10 season starts.? Weˇ?ll keep you posted on when the Wildcats earn their free round trip to anywhere in the United States.

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vs. the Mountain West:

Arizona is 37-43 (.463) all-time against teams that currently make up the Mountain West Conference.? Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 15-6 (.714) since 1991 against Mountain West schools, including a 5-3 mark against New Mexico.

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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 282-207 (.577) mark at Arizona and is 607-278 (.686) 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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Just Win, Baby:

Arizona is currently riding a three-game win streak, a season-long stretch topping a two-game streak earlier this year.? Last season, the Wildcats had only one winning streak in the form of a three-game stretch.

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Go For 4:

With a win on Saturday, Arizona can stretch its season-long three-game winning streak into something the Wildcats have not seen in awhile.? Arizona has not won four-straight games since the 2004-05 season.? Since going on a four-game streak from Jan. 16-26 in 2005, Arizona has manage to win consecutive games three times, and has won three-straight games three times.

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Break .500:

With a win against the Broncos, the Wildcats broke over the .500 mark for the first time this season.? Arizona has not owned a winning record since standing at 5-4 last season on Dec. 5, 2006.

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Win by 1:

Arizonaˇ?s one-point win over the Broncos on Thursday night was the programˇ?s first one-point victory since beating New Mexico on the road, 50-49, on Dec. 20, 2003.?

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Leave Them on the Floor:

The Wildcatsˇ? last-second win is an exciting rarity Arizona would like to enjoy more often.? Arizona has not won a game on a buzzer beater since beating then No. 15-ranked Notre Dame, 72-70, on Nov. 24, 2001 in McKale Center.? In that game, Elizabeth Pickney broke a 70-70 tie with a jumper as time expired to give the Wildcats a comeback win.

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Slow Startsˇ? No More:

Through nine games, Arizona is getting outscored 306-269 by opponents in the first half.? However, the Wildcats have posted halftime leads in the last two of the last three games, trailing Boise State 33-27 at the half.? When leading at the half, Arizona is 3-0, as the Wildcats earned its second win of the season when trailing at halftime by beating the Broncos Wednesday night.

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Get That Out of Here:

Going into Sundayˇ?s game at Long Beach State, the Wildcats owned 15 blocks on the season through seven games.? Against the 49ers, Arizona collected 10 blocked shots in the game, exploding that season number up to 25.? The 10 blocks is the fourth-best total in school history, and the highest blocked shot tally since the team posted 11 against California on Feb. 7, 2004.? To put things in more perspective, Arizona ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in blocked shots before Sunday.? After Sunday, the Wildcats now rank fourth in the Pac-10 in that category.? Arizona finished with three blocks against Boise State.

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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 169 times (19 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 65.1 percent (110-169) from the charity stripe. ?Opponents are shooting 69.5 percent (116-167) from the line against the Cats.? Against Boise State, Arizona made a season-low five free throws on a season-low seven attempts.

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What do you know about Pressure?:

The Wildcats can put on some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through nine games, Arizona has forced 200 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 22.2 turnovers a game.? The Wildcats, on the other hand, have turned the ball over 179 times, and own a +2.3 turnover margin, the second-best mark in the Pac-10.? Arizona forced 21 turnovers on Boise State, 23 turnovers on Long Beach State on Sunday, and an opponent season-high 25 turnovers on the Lumberjacks last week.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 92 steals so far on the season for a 10.2 steals per game average.? Arizona has racked up 76 steals in its last seven games (10.9 spg), including a season-high 14 against Portland, NC State and NAU.? Arizona ranks second in the Pac-10 in the steals department.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through nine games, the Wildcats have posted 338 points in the paint, which accounts for 55.4 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (610).? Arizona is averaging 37 points per game in the paint, and outscored Boise State 42-12 in that department Wednesday night.? In its last two games, Arizona outscored the opposition 86-24 in the paint.

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Lotta Action:

So far, a lot of Wildcats are getting a lot of action.? Through nine games, 10 Wildcats are averaging double figures in playing time, led by senior Ashley Whisonantˇ?s 36.8 minutes per game average.

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Good Defense:

The Wildcatsˇ? defense has been clamping down the past three games, which have been a big part of the Ws in the victory column.? Against NAU, the Wildcats held the Lumberjacks to opponent season low marks in shooting percentage (37.0), field goals (20), and points scored (54).? The Wildcats repeated the effort against Long Beach State, holding the 49ers to a new opponent season low mark of 33.9 percent shooting from the field, an opponent season-low tying field goals and a new opponent season-low 53 points scored.? Against Boise State, Arizona held the Broncos to 36.2 percent shooting from the field (21-58, including a 32.1 percent mark in the second half (9-28).

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Three for a Reason:

Arizonaˇ?s three-game winning streak is not by coincidence.? Over the last three games, Arizona has outshot the opposition 44.5 percent (81-182) to 35.7 percent (61-171) from the floor, outrebounded the opposition 117-105, and has tallied 17 blocks and 31 steals to just 2 blocks and 17 steals for the opposition.

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Splinters Out:

Arizonaˇ?s bench has given the Wildcats a major boost on the court.? The UA bench has scored in double figures in each game so far, including a season-best 42 points against Portland.? Arizonaˇ?s reserves have accounted for 195 points for a 21.7 ppg average, which is also 31.9 percent of the teamˇ?s total output.? Arizona finished with 13 bench points against Boise State.

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant will be counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has already flourished in that position.? So far this season, Whisonant has played at an All-American level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 15.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists a game while snagging 2.1 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 36.8 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks fifth in the Pac-10 in points scored, first in assists per game, seventh in steals per game, and first in minutes per game.? Against Boise State, Whisonant had a game-high 18 points and three steals in 38 minutes of action.

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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.? With 76 points in the first three games, Whisonant moved past Kim Conway (1,060 points, 1990-94) for the No. 13 spot on the all-time scoring list.? Now standing at 1,141 career points (102 games), Whisonant needs three (3) points to catch Yolanda Turner (1984-87) for the No. 12 position.

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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 one 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 314 career assists, Whisonant needs 20 more to claim the No. 10 spot in school history.? With a 5.2 assists per game average, Whisonant is on pace to finish with 150 assists this season, the eighth-best mark in school history.

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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.? In the first nine games, Dickey is averaging 7.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game.? Dickey always seems to be doing the little things right on the court.? Against Long Beach State, Dickey finished with seven points, two rebounds and two steals in 21 minutes off the bench.? With the Arizona down 10-8 to Long Beach State, Dickey came in the game and gave the Wildcats an immediate spark, putting in a layup and hitting a three on consecutive possessions to put Arizona up 13-10.? Against Boise State, she came off the bench to tally eight points and two steals in 19 minutes of action.

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Narbonne ˇ?s Finest:

Freshman Ify Ibekwe comes from a family of distinguished athletes and she is trying to prove that she is the best yet.? The 6-foot-1 Carson, Calif., native from Narbonne HS has been a spark on the court in the first nine games, averaging 11.6 points on 61.6 percent shooting (45-73), the second-best mark in the Pac-10, and a team-high 7.8 rebounds a game in just 20.3 minutes a game.? In her last six games, Ibekwe is averaging a team-high 13.8 points and 10.0 rebounds a game, numbers highlighted by performances against Portland and Middle Tennessee at home, and a homecoming game at Long Beach State.? Against Portland, Ibekwe straight went off against the Pilots.? She finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with 13 rebounds for her first career double-double.? Against the Middle Tennessee, Ibekwe finished with a team-high 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.? In her first career start against NAU, Ibekwe finished with seven points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals in 22 minutes of action.? Against the 49ers, Ibekwe finished with a game-high 15 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-high four blocked shots before a hometown crowd.?

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Buzzer Beater:

Ibekwe always seems to be in the right place at the right time under the basket, and her knack for doing that couldnˇ?t have come at a more opportune time against Boise State on Thursday.? Trailing 61-60 with eight seconds left, Whisonant missed a layup with four seconds left, but Ibekwe was there to collect the rebound and lay it back in as time expired to give Arizona a 62-61 win.? That game-winning basket highlighted Ibekweˇ?s second-straight double-double (third of the season) with 12 points and 11 rebounds to go with two blocks.

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In the Books:

Ify Ibekweˇ?s performance against Middle Tennessee was one for the history books, as her 22 points came off of a scorching 10-of-11 shooting mark from the field.? Her .909 shooting percentage is the second-best single game performance in school history, matching Shawn Coderˇ?s 10-of-11 mark against Cal State Northridge on Dec. 13, 1991.

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Wonˇ?t you be my Neabor?:

Sophomore Rheya Neabors has been stepping up for the Wildcats on the outside perimeter.? Against NAU, the 6-foot-1 Pomona, Calif., native had a career-high 15 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists, and a block and a steal in 35 minutes of action.? She put up a career-best 10 three pointers, hitting a career-high five three point field goals.? Against Long Beach State, Neabors had nine points and five rebounds in a career-high 37 minutes of actions.? She finished with seven points in 36 minutes of action against Boise State.? On the season, she is averaging 8.3 points and 4.4 rebounds a game.

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Stepping Up her Game:

Sophomore Marie McGee is playing a more vital role in the Arizona lineup this season, as the Las Cruces, N.M., native earned her first career start against NAU on Thursday.? She responded by finishing with six points and two steals, hitting a career-best two three pointers.? In her second-career start against Long Beach State, McGee had six points, three rebounds and a career-high three steals in a career-high 24 minutes of action.? On the season, McGee is averaging 4.0 points and 2.0 rebounds a game in 20.0 minutes of action per contest.

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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 three-straight games.? Against NAU, she finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds and a career-best five steals.? Against Long Beach State, she had her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds.? On Thursday versus Boise State, Njonkou finished with 10 points and three rebounds.? On the season, Njonkou is posting 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds a game while shooting 47.3 percent (35-74).

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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 hit the road again for a game at UW-Green Bay on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. (CST).

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