COMING UP: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (10-19, 4-13 Pac-10) hosts its regular season finale against archrival No. 8 Arizona State (25-3, 15-2 Pac-10) on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.
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.
Live statistics and live video feeds are available at Arizona athletics department official website: arizonaathletics.com.
SENIOR SALUTE: Arizona will honor seniors Joy Hollingsworth and Linda Pace after Saturday’s game as the two play their final home game at McKale Center in an Arizona jersey.
RED-OUT: Saturday’s game will be a “Rivalry Red-Out” game. All Arizona fans are encouraged to wear red for the game.
USC RECAP: USC used a hot-shooting second half to pull away from Arizona for a 66-42 win over the Wildcats on Saturday afternoon in the Galen Center. The loss drops Arizona to 10-19 overall and 4-13 in the Pac-10, while USC improves to 16-10 and 10-6 in the Pac-10.
The Women of Troy shot 55.6 percent (15-27) from the field in the second half, making up for a 24.1 percent (7-29) shooting mark in the first half. Arizona was held to 30.0 percent (18-60) shooting from the field in the game, finishing with a season-low 42 points, as USC outscored the Wildcats 42-23 in the second half. USC also out-rebounded Arizona 47 to 31.
Individually for Arizona, junior Ashley Whisonant posted 10 points and five steals, and senior Linda Pace finished with nine points and a career-high six rebounds. Senior Joy Hollingsworth added nine points, and junior Suzy Bofia posted eight points and four rebounds.
Senior Shay Murphy led USC with 16 points.
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, as two free throws by Murphy gave USC a 10-7 lead at the 10:35 mark. The Trojans used a 10-2 run to go up 16-9 at the 5:42 mark, but Arizona cut the deficit to 16-13 on a three by Hollingsworth with 4:05 left in the first. Arizona cut the USC lead to 20-19 on a lay in by Rhaya Neabors at the 1:35 mark, but USC scored four-straight to end the half to lead 24-19 at the break. Arizona shot 30.8 percent (8-26) from the field in the first half.
At the start of the second half, Murphy scored five straight points to give USC a 29-19 lead at the 19:22 mark. That ignited a 27-8 scoring run over 11 minutes to give the Trojans a commanding 52-27 lead. USC held Arizona to a 29.4 percent (10-34) mark in the second half.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 63.5 points a game while shooting 39.6 percent (696-1756) from the field, 26.7 percent (127-475) from three-point range, and 68.0 percent (323-475) from the free throw line. The Wildcats have also tallied 255 steals (8.79 spg), third-best in the Pac-10, off of 562 opponent turnovers. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 16.1 points a game (7th in the Pac-10) while posting 5.3 rebounds, and 2.14 steals per game (fourth in the Pac-10).
ABOUT THE SUN DEVILS: The Arizona State University Sun Devils enter Saturday’s game with a 25-3 overall record and a 15-2 mark in the Pac-10 standings, with a No. 8 ranking in the Coaches’ poll and a No. 10 ranking in the AP poll. The Sun Devils have won six straight games and own a 9-1 record on the road so far this season. As a team, ASU shoots 48.3 percent (783-1621) from the field, 35.3 percent (89-252) from three point range, and 73.7 percent (467-634) from the free throw line, while averaging 75.8 points a game. Arizona State ranks No. 1 in eight different Pac-10 team categories. Individually for the Sun Devils, senior Emily Westerberg leads the team with 13.7 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. Head coach Charli Turner Thorne is in her 11th season at the helm of the Sun Devil program.
THE ARIZONA STATE-ARIZONA SERIES: Friday’s game will be the 72nd meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Sun Devils on the hardwood, with ASU owning a 41-30 series advantage. The Sun Devils beat Arizona 74-58, on Dec. 22 in Tempe. ASU swept the two-game series last season, beating Arizona 83-59 in McKale Center on Dec. 22, 2005, and 81-45 on Feb. 25 in Wells Fargo Arena. Arizona is 19-15 (.559) against ASU under head coach Joan Bonvicini, but is 4-10 against the Sun Devils since the 2001 season, losing five of the last six in the series. Interestingly enough, Arizona’s last four wins against the Sun Devils have all been in McKale Center.
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 276-201 (.579) mark at Arizona and is 601-272 (.688) 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.
RANKED FOES: Saturday’s game will be Arizona’s 10th matchup against a ranked opponent this season. The Wildcats own a 0-9 record against ranked teams so far.
REPEAT?: History tends to repeat itself, and with that said, Arizona has history on its side heading into Saturday’s game against the Sun Devils. The last time Arizona hosted Arizona State in a regular season finale in McKale Center was Feb. 23, 2002, a 72-66 win for the Wildcats.
LOVE THOSE THURSDAYS: Although Arizona started the season 0-5 when playing games on Thursday, the Wildcats finished the regular season winning three-straight games in Pac-10 weekly openers. Arizona knocked off Washington State on the road on Feb. 1, beat Oregon State on Feb. 8 in McKale Center, and topped UCLA, 66-63, Thursday night in Pauley Pavilion Arizona had not started a Pac-10 week with three-straight Thursday wins since February of 2005.
SATURDAY STRUGGLES: So far this season, Arizona is 1-9 on games played on Saturday. The Wildcats' lone Saturday win was against Washington State (59-57) on Jan. 6 in McKale Center.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 8-4 this season when leading at halftime. However, Arizona is 2-14 when trailing at the half.
CARDIAC CATS: So far this season, the Wildcats have succeeded in the close ball games. Arizona is 7-3 in games decided by five points or less. Arizona held on to top UCLA by three points, 66-63 last Thursday, as four of the Wildcats' last six games have been decided by four points or less, with Arizona owning 3-1 record in those ball 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 255 steals (8.79 spg) on the year, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has also forced 562 opponent turnovers. The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in 13 games this season, including 11 against USC last Saturday. Before the USC game the Wildcats failed to post double-figures in steals in the last three-straight games, and six of the last seven. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.14 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 382 offensive rebounds. Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 22 of 29 games this season. Arizona has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 11 of the last 14 games, and 14 of the last 18 games, finishing with 14 pull downs against USC. Arizona is out-rebounding opponents on the offensive glass 382-347 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 +1.6 turnover margin, as Arizona averages 17.8 turnovers a game compared to a 19.4 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 four games.
POST UP: Arizona's post play on the offensive end has stepped it up lately, as the Wildcats have scored 120 of its 228 (52.6 percent) in the last four games inside the paint. In the six games before Arizona’s current four-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 Whisonant, Arizona has tallied 104 bench points in the last four games, an average of 26 bench points per game. The bench has accounted for 45.6 percent of the scoring output for the Wildcats the last four 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.
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 16.1 points a game (7th in the Pac-10), as she has scored 20 points or more on 11 different occasions. She is also averaging 5.3 rebounds and 2.14 steals a game (fourth in the Pac-10), and has posted double-figure point totals in 23 out of 29 games this season.
LOOK FOR A BREAK OUT: Look for a big game from Hollingsworth on Saturday, not only because it is senior day, but because she has the knack for putting up big performances after being held in single digits in scoring in the previous game. Against USC, Hollingsworth posted nine points on 4-of-16 shooting from the field, including a 1-of-7 mark from three point land, marking only the sixth game this season she has been held under double-digits in scoring. In the five previous games being held under double-figures in scoring, Hollingsworth is averaging 18.2 points in the game after.
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 1,487 career points in 114 games for an average of 13.0 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 Shawtinice Polk.
ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant has provided the Wildcats with a much needed spark off the bench. In the last five games coming off the bench, Whisonant is averaging 14.2 points and 3.5 assists a game. She posted 15 points and five assists against the Bruins last Thursday, and was the only Wildcat to score in double digits with 10 points against USC last Saturday. On the year, Whisonant is averaging 11.3 points and 3.59 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 3-3 with Pace in the starting lineup, as she has helped solidify the Wildcats' post play the last six 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 last Saturday, Pace finished with nine points and a career-high six rebounds. In her last six games as a starter, Pace is averaging 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals a game in 23.8 minutes of action.
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, five of Arizona's 2006-07 opponents are ranked in the top-25. So far this season, Arizona is 0-9 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.
Arizona was also selected to finish seventh in the Pac-10 Media Poll released Nov. 7.
UP NEXT: Arizona will play in the Pac-10 Tournament on Friday, March 2 in San Jose, Calif.