COMING UP:The Arizona women’s basketball team (4-2) travels to College Park, Md., for a 1 p.m. (EST) game at No. 8/9 Maryland (7-1) Sunday, Dec. 11. Live stats of the game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS:Arizona claimed the championship of the Mission Management & Trust 2005 Fiesta Bowl Classic with a 61-51 win over Chicago State Sunday. Sophomore Ashley Whisonant was named tournament MVP, while senior Natalie Jones and junior Joy Hollingsworth were also named to the all-tournament team. Arizona shot 39 percent from the field, 20 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the charity stripe on the game, compared to the 38, 33 and 62 percent, respectively, of the Cougars. Chicago State out-rebounded the Wildcats 38 to 34, but Arizona forced 20 Cougar turnovers while committing just nine of its own. Whisonant led all players with 14 points, followed by Jones and Hollingsworth with 13 and 11. Jones also pulled down 10 boards for her first double-double of the season.
Jones leads the Wildcats this season, averaging 16.0 points. Whisonant averages 15.7 points and 5.8 assists per game, while Hollingsworth adds 15.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. Sophomore Ch?© Oh and freshman Whitney Fields average 6.0 rebounds each to pace Arizona. As a team, the Wildcats are shooting 42 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 38.0 to 37.5.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:Marissa Coleman had 22 points and nine rebounds to lead Maryland to an 88-55 victory over Monmouth Wednesday night. Crystal Langhorne added 20 points for the Terrapins, while Shay Doron had 17 points and 10 assists. Maryland shot 54 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the free throw line on the game. Monmouth connected on just 34 percent from the field, 36 percent from downtown and 63 percent from the charity stripe. The Terps also nearly doubled the Hawks in rebounds, 45 to 23. Both teams committed 21 turnovers.
On the season, the Terps are led by Coleman, a freshman that played high school basketball with Arizona’s Ashley Whisonant, with 17.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. Doron adds 16.9 points and 5.4 assists, while Langhorne averages 16.9 points and a team-high 8.4 rebounds per game. As a team, Maryland is shooting 53 percent from the field on the season and outscoring its opponents by more than 30 points per game. The Terps also out-rebound their opponents 48.2 to 29.3.
SERIES SHORTS:Arizona is 0-1 all-time vs. the Terrapins. Last season, the Wildcats fell in overtime, 88-77, to Maryland on Jan. 29, 2005, at McKale.
INJURY UPDATE:Freshman Amina Njonkou has a stress fracture in her right foot and is out up to another three weeks.
HOLLINGSWORTH A JOY IN GAMES AS A WILDCAT:After sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules, junior Joy Hollingsworth finally made her debut as a Wildcat in the team’s season-opening win over Loyola Marymount. In her four games at Arizona, the guard is averaging 15.5 points per game on 51 percent shooting and has been named to the Great Alaska Shootout and Fiesta Bowl Classic all-tournament teams.
THE DISH ABOUT WHISONANT:Sophomore point guard Ashley Whisonant, playing in a new position this season, is averaging 15.7 points, 5.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. The Bowie, Md., native dished out a career-high 11 assists in Arizona’s win over Furman on Nov. 22 and tied her career high of 21 points against Lehigh. She has also been named to both all-tournament teams in which Arizona has participated.
JONES SCORES 750TH CAREER POINT:Senior Natalie Jones scored her 750th career point in Arizona’s win over Furman on Nov. 22 in her hometown of Anchorage. The senior is averaging 16.0 points per game for the Wildcats this season and has been named to the Great Alaska Shootout and Fiesta Bowl Classic all-tournament teams.
PACE SETTING A NEW PACE:Junior Linda Pace has more than quintupled her minutes and points from a year ago. The guard from San Diego, who has started all six games for the Wildcats this season, is averaging 4.8 points in 22.7 minutes per game. In 21 appearances last season, she averaged 0.9 points in 4.2 minutes per game. Over the last three games, Pace is averaging 9.0 points in 28.3 minutes.
CATS PICKED TO FINISH SIXTH, SEVENTH IN PAC-10:Arizona was picked to finish sixth in the Pacific-10 Conference in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Wildcats garnered 42 points, just one point behind fifth-place Oregon. In the media poll, Arizona was picked to finish seventh in the conference, receiving 59 votes.
GOING POLLING:Six of Arizona’s 2005-06 opponents (Stanford, Maryland, UCLA, USC, Utah and Arizona State) were nationally ranked in the various preseason polls. Pac-10 power Stanford is ranked as high as No. 8, while Pac-10 teams USC and Arizona State are ranked in all four polls. Arizona received votes in both the Associated Press and ESPN/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) polls.
STACKED PAC:As a conference, the Pac-10 finished last season ranked as the third toughest conference in the nation after sending five teams to the NCAA Tournament. Finishing ahead of the Pac-10 were the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference.
TOUGH SCHEDULE:The Wildcats have a challenging schedule that includes 12 games against eight teams (Arizona State, Maryland, Oregon, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, USC, Utah and Wisconsin-Green Bay) that made it to the NCAA Tournament last year. Of those teams, six advanced to the second round, while Arizona State made it to the Sweet 16 and Stanford to the Elite Eight.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS:Senior Natalie Jones ranks sixth all-time at Arizona in free throw percentage (.767), seventh in three-point field goals attempted (280) and ninth in three-point field goals made (80).
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO:All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in his 11th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION:The Wildcats have four more games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Saturday, Dec. 31 - 4 p.m. vs. Washington (FSN Northwest)
Sunday, Jan. 8 - noon vs. USC (FSN)
Saturday, Jan. 14 - noon vs. Oregon (FSN)
Sunday, Jan. 22 - 1 p.m. (PST) at California (FSN)
In addition, the Wildcats’ games at home against Stanford (Feb. 18) and at Arizona State (Feb. 25) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package.
UP NEXT: Arizona travels to Fresno, Calif., for a 7 p.m. (PST) game next Saturday, Dec. 17, at Fresno State.