COMING UP: The University of Arizona women’s basketball team (6-9, 0-3 Pac-10) returns home to host the Washington Huskies (11-4, 4-0 Pac-10) on Thursday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center. The Wildcats look to snap a four-game losing streak and grab their first win in Pac-10 play.
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
CALIFORNIA RECAP: No. 18-ranked California (10-3, 2-2 Pac-10) used two large scoring runs to earn a 65-48 win over Arizona (6-9, 0-3 Pac-10) on Saturday afternoon in Haas Pavilion. The loss is Arizona’s fourth straight, and gives the Wildcats their first 0-3 start to the Pac-10 season since 1992-93.
Arizona shot 34.5 percent (19-55) from the field, with Cal finishing at 45.3 percent (24-53). The Golden Bears out-rebounded the Wildcats 42-27, but Arizona forced 25 Cal turnovers.
Individually for Arizona, junior Ashley Whisonant scored a game-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, and junior Jessica Arnold added 12 points.
Arizona played close with the Golden Bears early, tying the game at 11-11 on a trey by Arnold at the 12:59 mark. Cal responded with a 16-0 scoring run over the next 7:45 to lead 27-11, as the Wildcats went 0-of-8 from the field with six turnovers during that span. Arizona outscored Cal 12-8 the rest of the half to trail 35-23 at the break. The Wildcats shot 33.3 percent (9-27) from the field in the first half, compared to a 50.0 percent (13-26) mark for the Golden Bears. Cal also out-rebounded Arizona 22-10 in the first half. Arnold led UA with nine first half points.
The Wildcats opened the second half shooting 2-of-9 from the field with five turnovers, and trailed 49-27 at the 13:43 mark after a 10-0 Cal scoring run. Arizona couldn’t cut into the Cal lead, shooting 35.7 percent (10-28) from the field after halftime.
A QUICK LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averages 63.6 points a game while shooting 40.2 percent (373-928) from the field, 25.4 percent (59-232) from three-point range, and 65.6 percent (149-227) from the free throw line. The Wildcats have also tallied 149 steals (9.9 spg) off of 309 opponent turnovers. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with 14.4 points a game while posting 5.9 rebounds, and 2.5 steals per game.
ABOUT THE HUSKIES: The University of Washington Huskies enter Thursday’s game riding an eight-game winning streak, with a perfect 4-0 mark for first place in the Pac-10 standings. UW knocked off Oregon and Oregon State on the road, and USC and UCLA at home for its best start in the Pac-10 since 1991-92. The Huskies are 3-4 on the road so far this season. As a team, Washington shoots 39.0 percent (401-1029) from the field, 32.2 percent (68-211) from three point range, and 68.8 percent (238-346) from the free throw line while averaging 73.9 points a game. Senior guard Cameo Hicks leads UW with 18.5 points and 5.7 rebounds a game, and junior forward Andrea Plouffe adds 11.8 points a contest. Head coach June Daugherty is in her 11th year at the helm of the UW program.
THE WASHINGTON-ARIZONA SERIES: Thursday’s game will be the 43rd meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Huskies on the hardwood, with Washington owning a 27-15 all-time series advantage. Arizona has lost the last three games in the series, winning six-straight before that span. Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 15-19 against UW, including an 11-7 mark against the Huskies since 1999. Washington has won the last two games it has played in Tucson.
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 15 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 272-191 (.587) mark at Arizona and is 597-262 (.694) in 27 years as a head coach, needing just three wins to become the 18th coach in NCAA history to reach 600 career wins. She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances.
PAC-THIS: After facing four ranked opponents in a tough non-conference schedule, aren’t any easier for the Wildcats at the start of the Pac-10 schedule. Arizona opened Pac-10 play at No. 10 Arizona State on Dec. 22, and now travels to the Bay Area for games at No. 14 Stanford on Dec. 28, and at No. 18 California on Dec. 30. The Wildcats will play five of their first seven Pac-10 games on the road.
TOUGH BEATS: Arizona has lost nine games on the season, but their beats have come against some of the top teams in the nation. Entering Thursday’s game against Washington, Arizona's nine losses have been against teams with a combined record of 90-26 (.776), with seven of those losses being to ranked teams.
GOTTA HAVE ONE: Arizona has not opened the Pac-10 season off 0-4 since 1991-92, head coach Joan Bonvicini’s first season with the Wildcats.
NEW YEAR-NEW START: Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 10-5 in the first game of the New Year.
HOME AGAINST THE PAC: Arizona has been very successful at home in McKale Center, especially during Pac-10 Conference play. Since the 1995-96 season, Arizona is 74-25 (.747) against Pac-10 teams at home, including a 64-19 mark (.771) since the 1997-98 season. The Wildcats once owned a 20-game winning streak against the Pac-10 at home, which included two undefeated (9-0) seasons in 2003 and 2004. The Wildcats went 2-7 at home against Pac-10 teams last season.
GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona is 6-3 this season when leading at halftime. However, the Wildcats are 1-2 in their last three games, each of which Arizona led at the half.
OFFENSIVE BOARDS: So far this season, the Wildcats have done a solid job on the offensive glass. On the year, the Wildcats have grabbed 204 offensive rebounds, leading to 192 second-chance points. Arizona is averaging 13.6 offensive rebounds and 12.8 second-chance points a game, and has posted double-figures in offensive rebounds in 11 of 15 games. The Wildcats had a rare down game in terms of offensive boards against Cal on Saturday. Arizona tallied a season-low six offensive rebounds for just four second-chance points. Arizona did not record an offensive rebound in the first half.
MAGIC NUMBER: So far this season, Arizona is a perfect 4-0 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 1-6 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: 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
10 points: 17-7 run over 6:24 in the first half vs. New Mexico
10 points: 10-0 run over 1:47 in the second half vs. GW
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
21 points: 26-5 run to Texas A&M in the final 7:31 of the first half
20 points: 26-6 run to Arizona State over 9:26 to start 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
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: 16-4 run to New Mexico over 5:21 to start the first half
11 points: 15-4 run to New Mexico over 4:51 midway through the second half
10 points: 10-0 run to Utah over 3:16 in the first half
WATCH YOUR POCKETS: The Wildcats have excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this season. Arizona has tallied 149 steals (9.9 spg) on the season, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has forced 309 opponent turnovers, converting 262 points (17.5 ppg) off of turnovers. The Wildcats have recorded double-figures in steals in eight games this season, including 14 steals against Stanford last Thursday. Senior Joy Hollingsworth leads Arizona with a mark of 2.5 spg, the third-best mark in the Pac-10.
SPLINTERS OUT: Arizona's depth is certainly displayed in the team's bench play, as reserves have totaled 274 bench points in 15 games (18.3 ppg). Arizona has posted double-figures in bench points 12 of its 15 games this season, as the bench has accounted for 28.7 percent of the team's 954 points. The Wildcats finished with 25 bench points against Arizona State, and 30 points off the bench (51.7 percent of the team's 58 total points) against Stanford.
WHERE’S THE JOY?: Senior Joy Hollingsworth has proven she can put the ball in the basket during her career, but she has recently battled a bit of a slump. In her trip to the Bay Area, the 5-foot-10 guard averaged just 3.5 points per game, while shooting 2-of-22 (0.09 percent) from the field, with a 0-of-9 mark from three point range. She scored a season-low two points against Stanford, and tallied five points at California.
The Seattle native is averaging a team-best 14.4 points a game (10th in the Pac-10), as she has scored 22 points or more on four different occasions. She is also averaging 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game, and has posted double-figure point totals in 12 out of 15 games this season. Hollingsworth is shooting 37.7 percent from the field (77-204), and averages 14 shots from the field a game. Last season, she averaged 13 points a game against UW.
ON POINT: Junior Ashley Whisonant been a constant force for the Wildcats in the backcourt, and she has led the Wildcats on the offensive end in Pac-10 play. In three Pac-10 games, the Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-best 12.7 points and 3.7 assists per game. She led Arizona in scoring at Stanford with a team-high 13 points, and posted a game-high 18 points against Cal.
MS. CONSISTENCY: Sophomore Amina Njonkou has been a monster with her play in the paint this season, as she has become one of Arizona's most consistent players. The 6-foot-1 forward is averaging 9.3 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds a game. She leads the team with 46 offensive rebounds, and is shooting 49.6 percent (57-115) from the field. 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. So far this season, she has recorded five rebounds or more in 13 of her 15 games.
In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 8.7 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
THREE-POINT SNIPER: Junior Jessica Arnold has provided Arizona with a scoring option from behind the three-point line this season, as she is second on the team with 17 three-point field goals made. Against California, Arnold made a season-high four three-point baskets for 12 points in the game. On the season, she is shooting a team-best 30.9 percent (17-55) from three-point range.
MAKING THE MOST: Freshman Marie McGee has steadily seen her playing time increase at the start of Pac-10 play, and she has responded with solid play off of the bench. The Las Cruces, N.M., native has played valuable minutes against Arizona State, Stanford and Cal, providing a defensive presence for the Wildcats at the guard position. Against Cal, McGee made her the first three-pointer of her career in a career-high seven minutes of action. Interestingly enough, she has grabbed an offensive rebound in each of her last three 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. So far this season, Arizona is 0-7 against ranked opposition.
CATS PICKED TO FINISH SEVENTH IN 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 host Washington State on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.