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Women's Basketball Heads to Pac-10 Tournament
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/27/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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COMING UP: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (10-20, 4-14 Pac-10) heads to San Jose, Calif., for first round action in the 2007 Pac-10 Tournament.  The ninth-seeded Wildcats will take on the No. 8 seed Oregon State Beavers (9-18, 4-14 Pac-10) on Friday, March 2 at 8:15 p.m. (PST) in HP Pavilion.  The winner of Friday’s game will face No. 1 seed Stanford (25-4, 17-1 Pac-10) on Saturday, March 3 at 5 p.m.

 

CATCH THE ACTION: As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Paul Johnson calling the action from courtside.

 

ABOUT THE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT: The Pac-10 Tournament has been a staple of the conference’s postseason since the 2001-02 season.  The first tournament was played in Eugene, Ore., with the last four consecutive being played in San Jose, Calif., at the HP Pavilion.  All of the Pac-10’s teams will be competing for the Pac-10 Tournament crown.  The winner of the Pac-10 Tournament earns an automatic berth into the NCAA Championships. 

 

PAC-10 TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE:

 

Fri., March 2

Game 1: No. 7 UCLA vs. No. 10 Washington State 6 p.m. PT

Game 2: No. 8 Oregon State vs. No. 9 Arizona 8:15 p.m. PT

Sat., March 3

Game 3: No. 3 California vs. No. 6 Oregon 11 a.m. PT

Game 4: No. 2 Arizona State vs. Game 1 winner 1:15 p.m. PT

Game 5: No. 1 Stanford vs. Game 2 winner 5 p.m. PT

Game 6: No. 4 Washington vs. No. 5 USC 7:15 p.m. PT

Sun., March 4

Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner 2 p.m. PT

Game 8: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner 4:30 p.m. PT

Mon., March 5

Game 9: Championship Game 7:30 p.m. PT

 

No. 9 SEED: For the second year in a row, Arizona enters the Pac-10 Tournament as the No. 9 seed.  Although Oregon State and Arizona finished tied for eighth place in the conference standings, the Beavers won the tie breaker over the Wildcats that pitted UA as the No. 9 seed.  Last season, the ninth-seeded Wildcats defeated No. 8 seed Oregon, 64-57, in first round action.  Arizona has played in the Pac-10 Tournament as a No. 6 seed, a No. 3 seed, a No. 2 seed, and a No. 4 seed.  All-time, Arizona is 5-5 in the Pac-10 Tournament, reaching the championship game twice (2003, 2004).

 

Arizona Results in the Pac-10 Tournament

 

2002 Pac-10 Tournament

(Eugene, Ore.)

March 2, 2002

#3 Arizona State 66, #6 Arizona 58

 

2003 Pac-10 Tournament

Runners-up

(San Jose, Calif.)

March 8, 2003

#3 Arizona 70, #6 Oregon State 56

March 9 2003

#3 Arizona 74, #2 Washington 51

March 10, 2003

#1 Stanford 59, #3 Arizona 49

 

2004 Pac-10 Tournament

Runners-up

(San Jose, Calif.)

March 6, 2004

#2 Arizona 81, #7 Oregon State 58

March 7, 2004

#2 Arizona 77, #6 Washington 55

March 8, 2004

#1 Stanford 72, #2 Arizona 60

 

2005 Pac-10 Tournament

(San Jose, Calif.)

March 5, 2005

#4 USC 74, #5 Arizona 66

 

2006 Pac-10 Tournament

(San Jose, Calif.)

March 3, 2006

#9 Arizona 64, #8 Oregon 57

March 4, 2006

#1 Stanford 77, #9 Arizona 50

 

Arizona Honors in the Pac-10 Tournament

 

2003 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team

Krista Warren, Dee-Dee Wheeler, Shawntinice Polk

 

2004 Pac-10 All-Tournament Team

Aimee Grzyb, Shawntinice Polk

 

GOOD OMEN?: Arizona is one of only two Pac-10 teams to have advanced to the championship game in back-to-back years (Stanford being the other).  The Wildcats advanced to the championship game in both 2003 and 2004.  In both of those tournaments, Arizona had the same first round opponent ?- Oregon State.

 

GUARD PLAY: Look for Arizona’s guard duo of senior Joy Hollingsworth and Ashley Whisonant to lead the Wildcats in the Pac-10 Tournament.  In last year’s tournament, Whisonant averaged 17.0 points a game, and Hollingsworth added 15.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in Arizona’s two games.  Whisonant posted 17 points against both Oregon and Stanford, as Hollingsworth poured in 22 points against Oregon in the opener.

 

RECORD BOOKS: In second round action in 2003, Arizona shot 53.6 percent (30-56) from the field against Washington en route to a 74-51 win over the Huskies.  That mark is a Pac-10 Tournament record for the highest field goal percentage in a tournament game.

 

ARIZONA STATE RECAP: Emily Westerberg scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half, including key free throws down the stretch, to give No. 8 Arizona State a 59-54 victory over Arizona on Saturday.

 

The win gave Arizona State (26-3, 16-2) a single-season school record for victories, passing the previous mark set in 1982. The Sun Devils moved within a half-game of Stanford for the Pac-10 lead.

 

Westerberg made four free throws in the final 15 seconds to hold off a late charge by the Wildcats, who trailed by 10 with 4:50 left in the game. In the process Westerberg became the school's sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,262 points.

 

Arizona cut the ASU lead to 55-54 with 15 seconds left on a Malia O'Neal jumper only to have Westerberg get fouled and make two free throws a second later.

 

O’Neal had a chance to tie the game but her 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining hit the front of the rim. Westerberg sealed the outcome with two more free throws.

 

Arizona State also got 16 points from Aubree Johnson.

 

Joy Hollingsworth scored 24 points and Ashley Whisonant added 12 for Arizona (10-20, 4-14).

 

Arizona made a furious comeback to go on an 11-2 run to creep to within 53-52 with 1:04 left on Whisonant's lay-in.

 

ASU's Reagan Pariseau countered with a jumper from the baseline for her only basket of the game to give the Sun Devils a 55-52 lead with 29 seconds left.

 

Westerberg gave ASU its biggest lead at 51-41 after following her own miss.

 

Arizona State started pulling away at the nine minute mark after Westerberg hit two free throws, Briann January connected on a 3-pointer and Johnson made a free throw to give the Sun Devils a 46-37 edge with 7:54 left.

 

A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 63.2 points a game while shooting 39.8 percent (718-1806) from the field, 26.6 percent (128-481) from three-point range, and 67.5 percent (332-492) from the free throw line.  The Wildcats have also tallied 261 steals (8.70 spg), third-best in the Pac-10, off of 584 opponent turnovers.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 16.4 points a game (7th in the Pac-10) while posting 5.3 rebounds, and 2.13 steals per game (fourth in the Pac-10).

 

ABOUT THE BEAVERS: The Oregon State University Beavers enter Friday’s game with a 9-18 regular season mark and a 4-14 record in the Pac-10.  OSU had lost eight straight games before beating Washington State on the road (66-61) in the regular season finale.  As a team, Oregon State shoots 42.9 percent from the field (612-1428), 28.4 percent (89-313) from three point range, and 71.6 percent (341-476) from the free throw line while averaging 61.3 points a game.  Senior Casey Nash leads the Pac-10 in scoring with 20.3 points a game to go with 6.6 rebounds, and freshman Judie Lomax adds 11.0 points and 7.7 rebounds a game.  Head coach LaVonda Wagner is in her second season at the helm of the Beaver program.

 

THE OREGON STATE-ARIZONA SERIES: Friday’s game will be the 47th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and Beavers on the hardwood, with Arizona owning a 24-22 all-time series advantage.  OSU defeated Arizona, 69-62, on Jan. 13 in Gill Coliseum, but Arizona knocked off the Beavers, 65-61 on Feb. 8 in McKale Center.  Last season, Oregon State swept the two-game series, breaking a six-game Wildcat winning streak.  Since 1998, Arizona is 15-7 against the Beavers.  Arizona is 2-0 against OSU in the Pac-10 Tournament, defeating the Beavers in first round action in 2003 and 2004.

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 16 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 10 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history. 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, 21 All-Pac-10 honorees, 16 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 11 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 276-202 (.578) mark at Arizona and is 601-273 (.687) in 28 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. 

 

WIN #600: Head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 600th career victory on Thursday, Feb. 8, as the Wildcats defeated Oregon State, 65-61.  Bonvicini became the 18th women's basketball coach in NCAA Division I history to accomplish the 600-win plateau.

 

GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 8-4 this season when leading at halftime.  However, Arizona is 2-15 when trailing at the half. 

 

CARDIAC CATS: So far this season, the Wildcats have succeeded in the close ball games.  Arizona is 7-4 in games decided by five points or less.  Five of Arizona’s last seven games have been decided by five points or less, with the Wildcats owning a 3-2 record in those games. 

 

MAGIC NUMBER: On the season, Arizona is 5-3 when scoring 70 points or more in a game, including a season-high 83 points scored in its season-opening win against Nicholls State.  All-time, Arizona is 176-21 (.893) when scoring 80 points or more, as the Wildcats are 129-14 (.902) under head coach Joan Bonvicini when reaching the 80 point plateau.  Arizona is 3-11 this season when posting 60-69 points in a game.

 

RUN IT, RUN IT:  So far this season, Arizona has shown the ability to put together some large scoring runs.  Here is a breakdown of some of the Wildcats' major scoring-streaks:

 

25 points: 30-5 scoring run over 12:50 in the first half vs. Nicholls State

21 points: 30-9 run over the final 6:53 of the first half at UTEP

18 points: 23-5 run over the first 12:38 of the second half vs. Long Beach State

16 points: 16-0 run over 3:13 in the first half vs. Louisiana Tech

16 points: 20-4 run over the final 8:11 of the game at Maryland

15 points: 15-0 run over 4:40 in the first half vs. GW

14 points: 15-1 run over 3:57 in the second half vs. Long Beach State

12 points: 14-2 run over 7:39 in the first half vs. Oregon

12 points: 16-4 run over 5:16 in the second half vs. Stanford

12 points: 17-5 run over 3:30 in the second half vs. UCLA

12 points: 12-0 run over 5:55 in first half vs. NC State

12 points: 18-6 run over the final 7:50 of the game vs. Nicholls State

11 points: 14-3 run over 9:20 to start the second half vs. Washington State

10 points: 17-7 run over 6:24 in the first half vs. New Mexico

10 points: 13-3 run over 4:24 in the second half vs. Washington

10 points: 10-0 run over 1:47 in the second half vs. GW

10 points: 10-0 run over 3:54 in the first half vs. USC

 

THE BIG, BAD RUN: Although Arizona can score points in bunches, the Wildcats have a tendency to give up large scoring runs to the opposition.  Here is a look at some of the scoring runs Arizona has given up to opponents:

 

26 points: 31-5 scoring run to Maryland over 9:59 to start the first half

23 points: 33-10 run to Washington over 10:12 in the second half

21 points: 26-5 run to Texas A&M in the final 7:31 of the first half

20 points: 26-6 run at Arizona State over 9:26 to start the first half

19 points: 27-8 run at USC over 10:17 to start the second half

19 points: 27-8 run to Stanford over 7:41 in the first half

16 points: 16-0 run to California over 7:45 in the first half

16 points: 21-5 run to UTEP in the final 3:37 of the game

14 points: 17-3 run at Oregon over 4:28 in the first half

13 points: 13-0 run to Fresno State in the final 4:33 of the game

13 points: 16-3 run to Louisiana Tech over 5:29 in the first half

12 points: 14-2 run to USC over 7:14 in the first half

12 points: 13-1 run at Oregon over 5:54 in the second half.

12 points: 16-4 run to New Mexico over 5:21 to start the first half

12 points: 15-3 run to Washington State over 4:51 in the first half

11 points: 11-0 run to California over 3:06 in the first half

11 points: 16-5 run to USC over 4:04 in the second half

11 points: 15-4 run to USC in the final 4:23 of the game

11 points: 15-4 run to New Mexico over 4:51 midway through the second half

10 points: 14-4 run to Oregon in the opening 4:50

10 points: 10-0 run to Utah over 3:16 in the first half

10 points: 10-0 run to UCLA over the final 2:34 of the first half

 

WATCH YOUR POCKETS: The Wildcats have excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this season.  Arizona has tallied 261 steals (8.70 spg) on the year, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has also forced 584 opponent turnovers.  The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in 13 games this season.  Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.13 spg, the fourth-best mark in the Pac-10.

 

OFFENSIVE BOARDS: So far this season, the Wildcats have done a solid job on the offensive glass.  On the year, the Wildcats have grabbed 392 offensive rebounds, for an average of 13.1 offensive rebounds a game.  Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 23 of 30 games this season.  Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 12 of the last 15 games, and 15 of the last 19 games, finishing with 10 pull downs against Arizona State.  Arizona is out-rebounding opponents on the offensive glass 392-352 this season.

 

BALL CONTROL: On the offensive side of things, Arizona has the ability to take care of the ball. So far this season, the Wildcats own a +1.5 turnover margin, as Arizona averages 18.0 turnovers a game compared to a 19.5 mark for opponents.  Arizona is 7-9 this season when committing fewer turnovers than the opposition in a game, and has won the turnover battle in three of the last five games.

 

POST UP: Arizona's post play on the offensive end has stepped it up lately, as the Wildcats have scored 156 of its 282 (55.3 percent) in the last five games inside the paint.  In the six games before Arizona's current five-game stretch, the Wildcats only managed to score 150 of its 400 points (37.5 percent) inside the paint.

 

BENCH HELP: Powered by the play of Ashley Whisonant, Arizona has tallied 132 bench points in the last five games, an average of 26.4 bench points per game.  The bench has accounted for 46.8 percent of the scoring output for the Wildcats the last five games.

 

In the four games before the Wildcats' current streak, Arizona posted just 77 points, or 29.7 percent of the team's offensive production.

 

GOT TO HAVE THEM: Arizona played close with the Sun Devils on Saturday, but the game came down to free throw shooting.  Arizona shot 9-of-17 from the charity stripe for a 52.9 percent mark.  The Wildcats’ eight misses was the most from the line in 12 games.

 

LEADING LATE: The Wildcats are 8-1 this season when leading with one minute left in the game.

 

GIVE HER THE ROCK: Senior Joy Hollingsworth has powered the Arizona offense the entire season.  So far, the Seattle native is averaging a team-best 16.4 points a game (7th in the Pac-10), as she has scored 20 points or more on 12 different occasions.  She is also averaging 5.3 rebounds and 2.13 steals a game (fourth in the Pac-10), and has posted double-figure point totals in 24 out of 30 games this season.  Hollingsworth finished with a game-high 24 points against ASU on Saturday on 9-of-16 shooting from the field.

 

PUT INTO CONTEXT: Joy Hollingsworth has played at Arizona for two seasons after starting her career at San Francisco.  Heading into Saturday's game, Hollingsworth has scored 1,511 career points in 115 games for an average of 13.1 points a game.  Had Hollingsworth played her entire career at Arizona, she would rank No. 4 on the all-time scoring list just ahead of Shawntinice Polk. 

 

ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant has provided the Wildcats with a much needed spark off the bench. In the last six games coming off the bench, Whisonant is averaging 13.8 points and 3.5 assists a game.  She posted 12 points and four assists against in 32 minutes against ASU.  On the year, Whisonant is averaging 11.3 points and 3.6 assists a game.

 

PICKING UP THE PACE: Senior guard Linda Pace's stats might not jump out from the box score, but her play has been pivotal for the Wildcats' success as of late.  Arizona is 3-4 with Pace in the starting lineup, as she has helped solidify the Wildcats' post play the last seven games.  Against the Ducks on Feb. 10, Pace posted a season-high nine points to go with four rebounds and three steals.  Against the Trojans on Feb. 17, Pace finished with nine points and a career-high six rebounds.  In her last seven games as a starter, Pace is averaging 3.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.5 steals a game in 21.9 minutes of action.

 

MS. CONSISTENCY: Sophomore Amina Njonkou has been a monster with her play in the paint this season, as she has been one of Arizona's most consistent players.  The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 8.5 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds a game.  Njonkou leads the team with 92 offensive rebounds (second in the Pac-10), and is shooting 46.8 percent (94-201) from the field. She leads the team with four double-doubles.  Against Fresno State, Njonkou finished with 15 points and a career-best 13 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.  Njonkou recorded the first double-double of her career with a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds against Nicholls State. 

 

Against USC on Jan. 18, Njonkou posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high four assists, and finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Stanford on Jan. 25.  Against ASU on Saturday, she finished with seven points and 12 rebounds.  So far this season, she has recorded five rebounds or more in 26 of her 30 games. 

 

BRING IT: Like every season, Arizona competes against some of the toughest competition in the nation.  This year will be no different.  The Wildcats will face a strong non-conference slate to go along with the always-difficult Pac-10 Conference season.  Arizona will play 20 games this season against 12 teams that participated in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.  The Wildcats will face defending national champion Maryland and NCAA Tournament teams George Washington and TCU in the first week of the season.  Arizona also hosts NC State, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico, and travels to Texas A&M and Utah.  After the brutal non-conference slate, Arizona must throw blows with its Pac-10 Conference foes, including Arizona State, California, Stanford, Washington, USC, and UCLA, all tournament teams from a year ago.

 

RANK THIS: Arizona's tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this year's preseason rankings.  In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN Preseason Top-25 Poll, nine of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the season.  Defending champs Maryland tops the list at No. 1 in the nation, followed by No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 Texas A&M, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 21 California, No. 22 USC, No. 23 UCLA, and No. 25 Washington.  Additionally, five other Arizona opponents (George Washington, Utah, TCU, Louisiana Tech, and NC State) received double-digit votes in the poll.

 

This week, seven of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25, including four in the top-10.  So far this season, Arizona is 0-10 against ranked opposition.

 

CATS PICKED TO FINISH SEVENTH IN THE PAC-10: The University of Arizona women's basketball team was selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conference's head coaches on Oct., 16.  The Wildcats garnered 32 points in the poll, as defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this year's Pac-10 title.

 

The Cardinal received nine of 10 first-place votes and 81 points, as Arizona State received the remaining first-place nod and tallied 70 points to place second. USC was tabbed to finish third with 63 points, followed by California and Washington with 53 points for a tie for the fourth-place slot. UCLA grabbed 46 points to place sixth, followed by Arizona (32), as Oregon (22), Washington State (16) and Oregon State (14) rounded out the poll. 

 

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