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02-11-08 Stanford Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/11/2008
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Coming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (9-14, 3-9 Pac-10), in the midst of a three-game road swing, travels to No. 6 Stanford (22-3, 11-2 Pac-10) for a game against the Cardinal on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. in Maples Pavilion.? The Wildcats will try to end a 10-game losing streak against Stanford, as head coach Joan Bonvicini will coach in her 900th career game.

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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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Arizona State Recap:

Arizona State held off a furious Arizona rally with three seconds left in the game to hang on for a 67-64 win over the Wildcats on Friday night in Wells Fargo Arena.

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Arizona scored five points in two seconds at the very end of the game to cut the ASU lead to 65-64 with three seconds left on the clock, but two free throws by Dymond Simon sealed the win for the Sun Devils at the end.

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As a team, Arizona shot 37.3 percent (25-67) from the field, and outrebounded ASU 41-33.? The Wildcats also tallied 15 steals and eight blocked shots, as the Sun Devils shot 42.9 percent (21-49) from the field.

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Individually for the Wildcats, senior Ashley Whisonant scored a game-high 16 points to go with six assists and four steals, and junior Amina Njonkou added her ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.? Sophomore Rheya Neabors finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, five steals, four assists and four blocks, and freshman Ify Ibekwe posted 11 points and seven rebounds.

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Briann January led ASU with 14 points.

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Arizona jumped out to an early 8-5 lead, but the Sun Devils answered with an 8-2 scoring run over 2:24 to go up 13-10 at the 12:22 mark.? The Wildcats then rallied with a 10-0 run of their own to take a 20-13 advantage capped by a Whisonant jumper with 9:23 left in the first.? ASU scored six-straight points to cut the deficit to 20-19 after three by January at the 6:56 mark.

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The two teams went into halftime tied up at 25-25, as Arizona shot 35.5 percent (11-31) from the field compared to a 37.5 percent mark (9-24) for ASU.

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The Wildcats and Sun Devils traded baskets early on in the second half, but Arizona managed to take a 39-36 lead at the 11:25 mark after a lay in by Njonkou.? ASU answered with eight unanswered points over the next 2:28 to take a 44-39 lead with 8:57 left in the game.? Arizona stayed close, taking a 48-47 lead at the 5:47 mark on a trey by Neabors.

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With the game tied up 50-50 at the 5:07 mark, ASU scored two-straight baskets to go up 54-50, but freshman Tasha Dickey converted a layup at the 3:19 mark to keep the Wildcats within two.?

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ASU extended its lead to 59-54 after a layup by Sybil Dosty, but Whisonant converted a three-point play on the next possession to cut the lead to 59-57 with 1:28 left.? Arizona State looked in control of the game while holding a 65-59 lead with 21 seconds left in the game, but the Wildcats wouldnˇ?t go down easy.?

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Whisonant converted another three-point play with four seconds left, and Dickey stole the ensuing ASU inbounds pass and laid it up as her free throw cut the deficit to 65-64 with two seconds left to play.? The Wildcats couldnˇ?t snag the steal on the next inbounds play, and Simon hit two free throws with 1.7 seconds left on the clock to seal the win for the Sun Devils.

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A Quick Look at Arizona:

Arizona averages 64.7 points a game while shooting 41.5 percent from the field, 25.5 percent from three-point range, and 65.5 percent from the free throw line. Senior Ashley Whisonant leads Arizona with 16.3 points a game (second in the Pac-10) while posting 3.4 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game (third in the Pac-10).? Junior Amina Njonkou adds 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game.

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About the Cardinal:

The No. 6 Stanford Cardinal enters Thursdayˇ?s game with a 22-3 overall record and an 11-2 mark in the Pac-10.? Stanford is riding a 10-game winning streak, and is a perfect 11-0 at home so far this season.? As a team, the Cardinal shoots 46.3 percent from the field, 30.4 percent from three-point range and 70.6 percent from the free throw line.? Individually, Candice Wiggins leads the team with 19.2 points per game, and Jayne Appel adds 14.6 points and 8.9 rebounds a game.? ? Head coach Tara VanDerveer is in her 22nd season at the helm of the Stanford program.

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Series Notes:

Thursdayˇ?s game will be the 59th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the Cardinal on the hardwood, with Stanford owning a 46-12 series advantage.? Stanford has won 10-consecutive games in the series, including three wins over UA last season and an 89-64 win over the Wildcats back on Jan. 17.? The Wildcats last defeated the Cardinal, 88-83, on Feb. 5, 2004 in McKale Center.

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Revenge on the Nerds:

Since Arizonaˇ?s last win over Stanford nearly four years ago, the last 10 games against the Cardinal have not always been close.? Stanford has won the last 10 games against Arizona by an average of 17.5 points.

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vs. Ranked Teams:

Arizona will take on two more ranked teams this week as the Wildcats will face off against No. 6 Stanford and No. 9 California on the road.? So far this season, Arizona is 0-4 against ranked teams, losing to No. 20 Pitt (81-58) and the Sun Devils (75-65), No. 7 Stanford (89-64) and No. 8 California (66-45). Over the last three seasons, the Wildcats are 0-23 against ranked opponents, going 0-12 against ranked teams last year.? Arizonaˇ?s last win against a ranked team was an 88-83 victory over the Cardinal on Feb. 5, 2004.

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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.? Arizona is currently riding a two-game winning streak, its longest in Pac-10 play since 2005.

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The Newest Wildcats:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team has added walk-ons Ashley Gilpin and Sabreena Berger to its roster.?

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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, starting the season playing nine of their first 15 games on the road.? Arizona will also end the regular season with five of its last seven 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.? Add 200-plus miles this week with a bus trip up to and from Tempe, and the Wildcats have traveled over 20,000 miles this season, with trips to the Bay and LA still waiting.? Now the Wildcats will head to the Bay Area for games at Stanford and Cal and will add 1,800 more roundtrip miles to their traveling profile brining their running season total to 21,800.? 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 286-217 (.568) mark at Arizona and is 611-288(.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 on Jan. 26 at Washington.? The 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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900:

Thursdayˇ?s game at Stanford will mark head coach Joan Bonviciniˇ?s 900th career game on the sidelines.? She will be the 14th head coach in NCAA Division I womenˇ?s basketball history to coach in 900 games.? She compiled a 325-71 record in 12 seasons at Long Beach State, and is 286-217 at the helm of the Arizona program in 17 seasons.

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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 22 games, Arizona has been outscored 760-641 by opponents in the first half, and is 4-12 when trailing at the half.? When leading at the half or tied at the half, Arizona is 5-1.? Against Oregon last Thursday, Arizona held a 34-31 lead over the Ducks at halftime, which translated into a 65-60 win.? It was Arizonaˇ?s first halftime lead since leading Oregon State at the half on the road.? On Saturday, Arizona was tied with Oregon State at halftime, 37-37, which led to a 71-63 Wildcat victory.

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Shoot better = W:

As simple as it may seem, Arizonaˇ?s best equation for winning ball games is to shoot better than its opponents.? The Wildcats are 9-3 so far this season when outshooting the opposition.?

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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 438 times (19.0 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 65.5 percent (287-438) from the charity stripe.? Opponents are shooting 71.5 percent (289-404) from the line against the Cats.

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Against Arizona State, the Wildcats were 11-of-14 (78.6 percent) from the line, including a 9-of-10 mark in the second half.

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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 23 games, Arizona has forced 467 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 20.3 turnovers a game. The Wildcats rank fourth in the Pac-10 with a +0.57 turnover margin.? Arizona forced 23 turnovers on Arizona State in its last outing and scored 27 points of those Sun Devil miscues.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 195 steals so far on the season for an 8.5 steals per game average.? Arizona ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in the steals department, and had a season-high 15 steals against Arizona State in its last game.

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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 own 90 blocks in 23 games.? Arizona currently ranks second in the Pac-10 in the blocks department behind Stanford, averaging 3.9 blocks a game.? A big reason for the complete 180 when it comes to blocks has with its aggressive play upfront.? Freshman Ify Ibekwe leads the team with 22 blocks on the year, and junior Beatrice Bofia is second on the team with 21 blocks.? Sophomore Rheya Neabors is third on the squad with 16 blocks so far this season.? Arizona has posted four blocks or more in 11 games so far, including eight of the last 10 contests, and has recorded 27 blocked shots in the last five games.? In the last 10 games, Arizona is averaging 5.4 blocks per contest.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through 23 games, the Wildcats have posted 775 points in the paint, which accounts for 52.0 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (1,489), and average 33.7 points per game down low.? Arizona scored 26 of its 64 points against Arizona State in its last game in the paint.

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Pac-10ˇ?s Best:

In Pac-10 play, a few Wildcats have been tearing it up.? Through 12 Pac-10 contests, senior Ashley Whisonant is averaging 17.8 points a game, second in the Pac-10, and a league best 37.9 minutes of action.? Junior Amina Njonkou is third in scoring and fourth in rebounding with 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds a game in league play, and is the top offensive rebounder in conference play by pulling down 49 offensive rebounds.

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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.? Whisonant has played at an All-Pac-10 level all season long.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging a team-high 16.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists a game while snagging 1.9 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 37.1 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks second 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 continue 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 1,377 career points in 116 games (11.9 career ppg average).? Her 20 points at Washington moved her past Timi Brown (1987-91, 1,315 points) for fifth-place all-time in school history.? She now needs 90 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 20 of 23 games, including the last 11-straight as she has been on an absolute tear as of late.? In her last 11 games, Whisonant is averaging 18.8 points a game.? She finished with a game-high 16 points to go with six assists and four steals against Arizona State in her last outing.

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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 370 career assists, Whisonant is now the No. 9 assists disher in Arizona history.?

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With six assists on Friday at ASU, Whisonant now has 105 on the season, marking her third-straight season with 100 or more assists.

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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 17-straight games including seven double-doubles over that span.? Over the last 17 contests, Njonkou is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds a game.? In the last 14 games, Njonkou is posting 15.6 points and 8.5 rebounds a game.?

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Against ASU, Njonkou posted 10 points and 10 rebounds for her ninth double-double of the season to go with a career-best four assists.

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On the season, Njonkou is posting 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game while shooting 50 percent (110-220) from the field, the six-best mark in the Pac-10.? In Pac-10 play, Njonkou is averaging 15.6 points and 8.1 rebounds a game, and is shooting a team-best 77 percent (57-74) 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 nine double-doubles so far on the season after finishing 10 and 10 against Arizona State, the second best total in the Pac-10.

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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 scored in double figures in five of the last six games, including a 10-point outing against the Sun Devils. At ASU, Neabors was a stat stuffer, finishing with eight rebounds, four assists and career highs of four blocks and five steals in 35 minutes of action. ?Over the last six games she is averaging 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 36.0 minutes a game.? On the season, Neabors is averaging 8.6 points and 4.1 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 8.0 points and 8.0 rebounds a game.? She has posted six or more rebounds in each of the last seven games, including 11 against California, 10 against Washington and 13 against Oregon State.? She is also leads the team with 22 blocks on the season.? Through 17 games, Ibekwe leads the team with a 7.9 rebounds per game average and posts 9.9 points a game.? She finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and two blocks at ASU.

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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 7.0 points and 2.1 rebounds a game in 25.3 minutes of action.? Dickey is also second on the squad with 30 steals, and has started in 17 games so far this season.? In Pac-10 play, Dickey posts 7.3 points a game.

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Hays Factor:

Junior forward Sarah Hays had an impressive homecoming against Arizona State on Friday.? Before family and friends, Hays finished with a season-high eight points and five rebounds to go with a block and two steals in 19 minutes of action.? On the season, Hays is averaging 2.8 points and 3.6 rebounds a game in 14.3 minutes per contest.

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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 ?head to Berkeley, Calif., for a game at California on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1 p.m. in Haas Pavilion.? The game will be televised by Comcast Sportsnet.? Please check your local listings for availability.

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