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01-28-2008 Oregon Game Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/28/2008
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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (7-13, 1-8 Pac-10) returns home to host the Oregon Ducks (10-10, 4-5 Pac-10) on Thursday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.? The Wildcats open up the second half of the Pac-10 schedule against Oregon and Oregon State before playing five of their last seven conference games on the road.

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Catch the Action:

As always, Arizona women's basketball games can be heard live on KTUC AM 1400, with Derrick Palmer and Shannon Hobson calling the action from courtside.? Please visit www.arizonaathletics.com for all of your live stats and live video needs.

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Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show:

Hosted by Wildcat radio announcer Derrick Palmer, the Joan Bonvicini Coachˇ?s Show is broadcast live from 6-7 p.m. every Monday on KTUC 1400 AM and is held at the Varsity Clubs of America, located at Speedway and Alvernon. The show features Bonvicini with several special guests, ranging from players to staff members.

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Washington Recap:

Arizona gave up a 19-4 second half scoring run to Washington, and the Huskies ran away with a 74-59 win on Saturday afternoon in Bank of America Arena before 3,343 fans.?

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As a team, Arizona shot 43.1 percent (25-58) from the field, and finished with eight steals and four blocked shots.? Washington posted a 45.3 percent mark (24-53) from the field, including an 8-of-19 clip from three-point range.? The Huskies also outrebounded Arizona 33-28.?

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Individually for Arizona, senior Ashley Whisonant finished with a game-high 20 points and seven assists, and junior Amina Njonkou added 15 points.? Sophomore Rheya Neabors posted 13 points and freshman Ify Ibekwe chipped in with eight points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

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Freshman Katelan Redmon led Washington with 18 points.

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Washington raced out to a quick 10-4 lead in the first 2:43 of the game, but Arizona cut the deficit to 10-9 at the 16:31 mark on a pair of free throws by Njonkou as she scored all of the Wildcatsˇ? first nine points.? UA stayed within two points for much of the first half, but the Huskies opened things up with five-straight points to take a 22-15 lead after a three by Redman at the 8:37 mark.? Arizona then went on a 14-3 scoring run to take a 29-25 lead with 3:03 left in the first after back-to-back threes by Neabors and a pair of free throws by freshman Ify Ibekwe.? But Washington finished the half on a 10-4 run to go into halftime up 35-33.

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Arizona shot 44.8 percent (13-29) from the field in the first half, as the Huskies posted a 40 percent mark (10-25).? Njonkou led the Wildcats with 13 points in the first half.

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The Wildcats tied the game at 35-35 on a jumper by Whisonant to open the second half, but UW used seven unanswered points to take a 42-35 lead at the 17:23 mark.? Arizona countered with a 14-4 run over the next 4:08 to take a 49-46 advantage after a layup by Njonkou at the 13:15 mark.

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The Huskies then went on a 19-4 run of their own to take a commanding 65-53 lead with 5:21 left in the game.? Arizona would struggle to cut into that deficit down the stretch, as turnovers and missed free throws held the Wildcats from a possible comeback.? Arizona shot 41.4 percent (12-29) from the field in the second half, giving up a 50 percent mark (14-28) to UW.

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Saturdayˇ?s game at Washington was head coach Joan Bonviciniˇ?s 500th career game at the helm of the Arizona womenˇ?s basketball program.? In 17 seasons at Arizona, Bonvicini owns a 284-216 record, and an overall record of 608-287 in 29 years of coaching.

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A Quick Look at Arizona:

Arizona averages 64.4 points a game while shooting 41.3 percent from the field, 26.3 percent from three-point range, and 65.1 percent from the free throw line. Senior Ashley Whisonant leads Arizona with 16.0 points a game (4th in the Pac-10) while posting 3.7 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game (3rd in the Pac-10).? Junior Amina Njonkou adds 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds a game.

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About the Ducks:

The Oregon Ducks enter Thursdayˇ?s game with a 10-10 overall record and a 4-5 mark in the Pac-10.? Oregon lost its last two games last week at UCLA and USC by a combined eight points.? UO is 1-7 on the road so far this season.? As a team, Oregon shoots 39.3 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from three-point range and 72.6 percent from the free throw line (tops in the Pac-10).? Individually for the Ducks, Taylor Lilley leads with 12.6 points a game, and Ellyce Ironmonger adds 7.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest.? ? Head coach Bev Smith is in her seventh year at the helm of the Oregon program.

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Series Notes:

Thursdayˇ?s game will be the 47th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Ducks on the hardwood, with Oregon owning a 27-19 all-time series advantage.? Oregon beat Arizona 59-53 on Jan. 5 in Eugene, and swept the Wildcats last season.? Arizona has won eight of the last 13 meetings in the series, but has dropped four of the last five to the Ducks.

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Streaky:

After beating New Mexico on the road in ˇ?The Pitˇ± (Dec. 15), the Wildcats had posted their fourth-straight win and were rolling with a 6-4 record.? Since that game, Arizona had lost eight-straight games before beating Washington State on Jan. 24, its longest losing streak since dropping nine-straight during the 2005-06 season.

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The Newest Wildcats:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team has added walk-on Ashley Gilpin and Sabreena Berger to its roster, head coach Joan Bonvicini has announced.?

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Gilpin, a senior from Las Cruces, N.M., is a 5-foot-9 guard currently studying psychology at the UA.? She hails from Mayfield HS, the same high school current Wildcat Marie McGee attended, and where the two were teammates.

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Berger, a 5-foot-9 sophomore, is from San Diego, Calif., and played high school ball at Point Loma HS.

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On the Road, Again:

The Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season, playing nine of their first 15 games on the road.? With trips to Washington, Oregon, Green Bay, Wis., Penn State, NC State, Long Beach, Calif., and New Mexico under their belts, the Wildcats have already racked up a grand total of 19,822 round trip miles (and it is only January).? Weˇ?ll keep you posted on when the Wildcats earn their free round trip to anywhere in the United States.

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Arizona Head Coach Joan Bonvicini (17th season):

The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 17 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 11 years, and in 2003-04 won a share of the conference regular-season title for the first time in school history.

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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, 22 All-Pac-10 honorees, 17 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 18 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 284-216 (.568) mark at Arizona and is 609-287(.678) in 29 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.

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500:

Head coach Joan Bonvicini reached another milestone last Saturday.? Saturdayˇ?s game at Washington marked head coach Joan Bonviciniˇ?s 500th game as the leader of the Wildcat program.? She became just the sixth coach in Arizona history in any sport to coach 500 games.

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Road Warriors:

With a wins against Long Beach State and New Mexico, the Wildcats managed to win two-straight road games for the first time since the 2004-05 season.? Arizona last won two-straight on the road in December of 2004 with wins at Chicago State and Washington.?

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Pit This:

Arizona went into New Mexicoˇ?s Pit and did something most visiting teams canˇ?t do: win.? The Wildcats snapped the Lobosˇ? 13-game home winning streak with their 44-36 win, as New Mexico was 7-0 on the season before Saturdayˇ?s game.

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Slow Starts:

Through 20 games, Arizona is getting outscored 692-570 by opponents in the first half, and is 4-12 when trailing at the half.? When leading at the half, Arizona is 3-1, as the Wildcats relinquished their first halftime lead at Oregon State (Jan. 3) after being up by 12 at halftime and leading by as many as 16 points in the second half.? In its last game, Arizona trailed Washington 35-33 at halftime before getting outscored 39-26 in the second half.

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Almost History:

Arizonaˇ?s 44-36 win over New Mexico came very close to some intriguing historical proportions.? Arizonaˇ?s 44 points in the win was the programˇ?s lowest point total in a victory since beating Utah, 46-36, on Jan. 17 1974.? Arizonaˇ?s school low for a point total in a win is 36 in a win (36-30) over Northern Arizona on Feb. 10, 1973.

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Making History:

Arizonaˇ?s shooting against Cal on Jan. 19 made some dubious school history.? In that game, the Wildcats shot a school record low 24.1 percent from the field (13-54) in Pac-10 play.? Arizonaˇ?s 13 field goals in the game are also a school record low in Pac-10 play.

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Toe That Line:

So far, the Wildcats have shown an ability as a team to get to the free throw line.? Arizona has made it to the line 381 times (19.1 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 65.1 percent (248-381) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting 71.2 percent (252-354) from the line against the Cats.

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Make Those Free Throws:

Free throw shooting has been a major factor in Arizonaˇ?s ability to win and lose games.? In the Wildcatsˇ? loss against USC (Dec. 28), Arizona shot 17-of-29 from the line (58.6 percent) against the Women of Troy, including a 13-of-23 (56.5 percent) mark in the second half.? Poor shooting from the line kept Arizona from making legitimate comeback attempt at the end of the game, as the Wildcats scored five-straight points in the final 22 seconds of the game to cut the deficit to seven points.? Against UCLA (Jan. 30), Arizona shot 19-of-29 from the line (65.5 percent) against the Bruins, including an 11-of-18 mark (61.1 percent).? Even though the 19 free throws were the second most for the Wildcats on the season, not being able to hit free throws in the second half prevented another comeback attempt, as Arizona cut the deficit to six points with 33 seconds to play in the game.

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Despite playing with six players, and with four players down the stretch, Arizona could have held off an Oregon State comeback (Jan. 3) had it hit its shots at the line.? The Wildcats shot a season-low 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from the free throw line against the Beavers, including a 3-of-7 mark in the first half, and a 3-of-8 mark in overtime.

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Against Oregon (Jan. 5), the Wildcats erased a 16-point second half deficit and trailed 56-53 with 1:10 left to play, but shot 12-of-20 (60 percent) from the charity stripe.

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What do you know about Pressure?:

Arizona can put on some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through 20 games, Arizona has forced 408 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 20.4 turnovers a game. Arizona forced 25 turnovers on Washington in its last game.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 171 steals so far on the season for an 8.6 steals per game average.? Arizona ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in the steals department, and had eight steals in each of its last two outings.

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Rejectmuch:

Last season, Arizona tallied 51 blocked shots the entire season.? This year, it is a different story.? The Wildcats surpassed last yearˇ?s total in 15 games with 53 blocks, and owns 75 blocks in 20 games.? Arizona currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in the blocks department behind Stanford, averaging 3.75 blocks a game.? A big reason for the complete 180 when it comes to blocks has to do with junior Beatrice Bofia and her 21 blocks shots so far this season.? Freshman Ify Ibekwe is second on the team with 16 blocked shots.? Sophomores Marie McGee and Rheya Neabors have 11 blocks apiece to their credit.? Arizona has posted four blocks or more in nine games so far this season, including six of the last seven contests, including 12 blocked shots in the last two games.? In the last seven games, Arizona is averaging 5.6 blocks per contest.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through 20 games, the Wildcats have posted 669 points in the paint, which accounts for 51.9 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (1,289), and average 33.5 points per game down low.? Arizona outscored Washington State 36-30 in the paint last Thursday, and outscored Washington 38-24 in its last game.

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Pac-10ˇ?s Best:

In Pac-10 play, a few Wildcats have been tearing it up.? Through nine Pac-10 contests, senior Ashley Whisonant is averaging 17.6 points, second in the Pac-10, and a league best 39 minutes of action.? Junior Amina Njonkou is third in scoring and rebounding with 16.7 points and fourth in rebounding with 8.4 rebounds a game in league play and junior Beatrice Bofia is second with 1.6 blocks a game in Pac-10 play.

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant has been counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has flourished in that position.? So far, Whisonant has played at an All-Pac-10 level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 16.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game while snagging 1.8 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 37.5 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring average, third in assists per game, and first in minutes per game.?

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Game of a Lifetime:

Ashley Whisonant showed why she is one of the best players in the Pac-10 at Oregon State on Jan. 3.? Whisonant led a team of just six players with a career-high 34 points in 48 minutes of action.? Her 34 points is the fourth-best mark in school history, one point shy of the all-time school record (35 points).? She tied a school record with 15 field goal attempts, and set a new school record with 29 field goal attempts.?

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All-Time Scorer:?

Ashley Whisonant scored her 1,000th career point in the final game of the season last year, and look for her to climb up the Arizona all-time point leader list this season.? So far this season, Whisonant has moved up nine spots on the all-time Arizona scorers list, and currently ranks fifth all-time with 1,322 career points in 113 games (11.7 career ppg average).? Her 20 points on Saturday at Washington moved her past Timi Brown (1987-91, 1,315 points) for fifth-place all-time in school history.? She now needs 145 points to tie former teammate Shawntinice Polk (2003-05, 1,467 points) for fourth all-time.

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On Fire:

So far this season, Whisonant has posted double-figures in points in 17 of 20 games, including the last eight-straight as she has been on an absolute tear as of late.? In her last eight games, Whisonant is averaging 18.8 points a game.? She posted 15 points, 13 in the second half to go with four rebounds, four assists and four steals at Washington State, and finished with a game-high 20 points on 10-of-19 shooting to go with seven assists and three steals at Washington.

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Ms. 100:

Senior Ashley Whisonant has been a constant in the Arizona lineup ever since her freshman season, and she is on pace to be one of Arizonaˇ?s all-time leaders in games played.? She played in her 100th career game against NAU (Dec. 6), and is on pace to finish her career with 123 games played, a figure that will rank No. 3 all-time in school history.

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Looking For a Dime:

With each dime Ashley Whisonant dishes out, she is moving to the top of the line on Arizonaˇ?s all-time career assists list.? With 356 career assists, Whisonant is now the No. 9 assists disher in Arizona history.?

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Amina the Bull:

Junior forward Amina Njonkou is a force down low in the paint, and her strength allows her to bull over defenders.? The 6-foot-1 Cameroon native has posted double-figures in points in the last 14-straight games including double-doubles in the last six of the last 11 games.? Over the last 14 contests, Njonkou is averaging 15.4 points and 7.9 rebounds a game over that span.? In the last 11 games, Njonkou is posting 16.5 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.?

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Against ASU, Njonkou finished with a career-best 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and a 9-of-11 mark from the free throw line to go with five boards.? Against Stanford, she posted 13 points but finished with just two rebounds, and had 10 points and eight rebounds against Cal.

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Against Washington State, Njonkou finished with a career-high tying 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting from the field (both career highs) to go with 10 rebounds.? She had 15 points and three rebounds against Washington.

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On the season, Njonkou is posting 13.7 points and 6.9 rebounds a game while shooting 50.3 percent (95-189) from the field, the fifth-best mark in the Pac-10.? In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds a game, and is shooting a team-best 74.6 percent (50-67) from the free throw line.

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Double-Double Machine:

Before her 17 point and nine rebound performance against Oregon State (Jan. 3), Amina Njonkou had posted double-doubles four straight games, putting her in some very exclusive company in the Arizona history books.? Njonkou became the first player to record four-straight double-doubles since Shawntinice Polk posted five-straight double-doubles during the 2003-04 season (Feb. 7-19).? Njonkou has eight double-doubles so far on the season after finishing with 24 points and 10 boards against WSU, one behind Calˇ?s Ashley Walker for the Pac-10 lead.

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Ms. Wildcat:

Freshman Tasha Dickey, simply put, was born to be a Wildcat.? The daughter of two former Arizona athletes, Dickey has shown her tremendous athletic ability on the court.? On the season, she is averaging 7.3 points and 2.0 rebounds a game in 23.7 minutes of action.? Dickey is also second on the squad with 27 steals.? Against WSU, Dickey finished with nine points and two assists, hitting 3-of-4 three pointers.? In Pac-10 play, Dickey posts 8.0 points a game.

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Big Lift:

Sophomore Rheya Neabors has been picking up her game as of late. The 6-foot-1 lefty forward has posted 13 points in each of the last three games.? It started with 13 points against Arizona State on Jan. 12.? She then finished with 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting from three point range to go with a career-best six assists and a career-high four blocked shots against Washington State.? She followed that performance up with 13 points and three rebounds against Washington.? On the season, Neabors is averaging 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds a game.

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Spark Plug:

When freshman Ify Ibekwe is on the floor, you will definitely take notice.? The 6-foot-1 forward seems to be everywhere on the court for the Wildcats, and always seems to be around to grab a rebound, block a shot or snatch a steal.? Since coming back from an eye injury, Ibekwe is averaging 4.6 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.? She 17 rebounds in two games last weekend, and has had seven or more rebounds in the last four games, including 11 against California and 10 against Washington.? She is also second on the team with 16 blocks and 27 steals so far this season.? Through 14 games, Ibekwe is second on the team with a 6.9 rebounds per game average and posts 9.1 points a game.

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Cats Picked To Finish Eighth in the Pac-10:

The University of Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team was selected to finish eighth in the Pac-10 Conference in a preseason vote by the conferenceˇ?s head coaches.? The Wildcats garnered 31 points in the poll, as seven-time defending Pac-10 champion Stanford was chosen as the favorite to win this yearˇ?s Pac-10 title.

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The Cardinal received eight of 10 first-place votes and 79 points, as Arizona State received a first-place nod and tallied 71 points to place second. California was tabbed to finish third with a first-place vote and 68 points, followed by fourth-place USC with 56 points and fifth-place UCLA with 44 points. Washington grabbed 41 points to place sixth, followed by Oregon (34), as Arizona (31), Oregon State (16) and Washington State (10) rounded out the poll.

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Tough Schedule:

Year in and year out, Arizona never runs away from a challenge, but rather takes on the best teams in the nation head on during the nonconference schedule before playing in the always daunting Pac-10 Conference.

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The Wildcats will play 29 games during 2007-08, 13 games in McKale Center and 16 on the road, with 14 games scheduled against teams that competed in the NCAA Tournament last year.

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The UA will take on 10 teams that competed in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, with non-conference matchups against Middle Tennessee State, Pittsburgh, Boise State, New Mexico, NC State, and UW-Green Bay, along with Pac-10 series against California, Stanford, Washington and Arizona State.

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Rank This:

Arizonaˇ?s tough schedule is apparent when you take a look at this yearˇ?s preseason rankings.? In the WBCA/USA Today/ESPN and AP Preseason poll, five of the top 25 teams in the nation will play the Wildcats during the regular season.? Arizona will face No. 9 Stanford, No. 12 Arizona State, No. 14 California, No. 21 Pittsburgh and No. 25 NC State.? Additionally, six other Arizona opponents (Middle Tennessee, USC, New Mexico, UCLA, Boise State and Wisconsin-Green Bay) each received votes in the poll.

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Up Next:

Arizona will next host Oregon State on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.? It will be the Arizonaˇ?s second-annual ˇ?Think Pinkˇ± Breast Cancer Awareness Day.? Fans are encouraged to wear pink to help promote the fight against breast cancer.

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