The bandwagon seems nearly empty. Crowds at 20070129 Courtside Conversations ? Jan. 29, 2007 - The University of Arizona Official Athletic Site
 
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20070129 Courtside Conversations ? Jan. 29, 2007
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/29/2007
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<P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">The bandwagon seems nearly empty. Crowds at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:PlaceType w:st="on">University</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Arizona</st1:PlaceName></st1:place> women&rsquo;s basketball games are shrinking and interest is plummeting.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Fans have a good reason to be disappointed.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The Wildcats are normally chasing first place in the conference standings rather than trying to stay out of last place.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>But before you give up hope, let me reassure you that things aren&rsquo;t quite as bad as they seem.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">First, don&rsquo;t forget about what Joan Bonvicini has accomplished at <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State>.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It&rsquo;s easy to be absorbed into the &ldquo;what have you done for me lately&rdquo; scenario. But Joan&rsquo;s record is solid and steady.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>In the 10 seasons before the death of Shawntinice Polk, Joan won 20 games eight times.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Until last season, her teams hadn&rsquo;t posted a losing record since 1995.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The Cats also won the Pac-10 just three years ago.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Secondly, there is help on the way.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> has a solid group of freshmen that are hard-working and care about winning.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Marie McGee and the Neabors twins are every coach&rsquo;s dream.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>They come to play and they don&rsquo;t make excuses.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>They come from winning programs and desperately want to win here.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Meanwhile, the Cats have gotten a commitment from Tasha Dickey out of <st1:PlaceName w:st="on">Brighton</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st="on">High School</st1:PlaceType> in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Salt Lake City</st1:place></st1:City>.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The 5-foot-10 guard averages 15 points and 12 rebounds per game.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The staff isn&rsquo;t finished recruiting yet.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Next season, the Wildcats will receive the full benefit of a healthy Beatrice Bofia (6-7) and Rheya Neabors, both whom have been sidelined for most of this season.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> will graduate Joy Hollingsworth, but juniors Ashley Whisonant and Jessica Arnold will have to fill that void.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Third, coach Bonvicini has been willing to change with the times.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>For example, in a crucial game with Stanford last Thursday, she sat starting point guard Ashley Whisonant for the entire second half.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Ashley wasn&rsquo;t hurt, she just wasn&rsquo;t playing the way Coach B. thought necessary.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>So, Joan is adjusting and adding more discipline into her suffering program.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Fourth, the &ldquo;Polkey&rdquo; factor will have been diminished.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>It&rsquo;s taken two seasons for <st1:State w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Arizona</st1:place></st1:State> to adjust to losing their friend and teammate.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Staff members, vital to the program, have moved on and now the players are beginning to understand their new roles.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Certain challenges do remain if the Wildcats are to climb back into the top heap of the conference standings.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>An attitude of &ldquo;expecting to lose&rdquo; must be erased.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>Joan needs to continue to pursue &ldquo;tough love&rdquo; and injuries must disappear.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>But all is not lost.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>So if your about to jump, find a railing to hang on to.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>The bandwagon may be full again next year.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">See you on the radio!<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><st1:PersonName w:st="on"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">Paul Johnson</SPAN></st1:PersonName><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial">*Each Wildcat Women&rsquo;s Basketball Game is broadcast life on AM 1400 KTUC.<SPAN style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </SPAN>To find out more about Paul visit: <A href="http://www.pauldanieljohnson.net/">http://www.pauldanieljohnson.net</A>.<o:p></o:p></SPAN></P> <P class=MsoNormal style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt"><SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10pt; FONT-FAMILY: Arial"><o:p> </o:p></SPAN></P>
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