The University of Arizona women's basketball team (No. 15 AP/No. 14 USA Today) hits the road again this weekend to take on the L.A. schools. The Wildcats will play at USC on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. in the L.A. Sports Arena. On Saturday, Feb. 19, the Cats take on 24th-ranked UCLA in Pauley Pavilion at 1 p.m. in a contest which will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.
POSSIBLE STARTING LINEUP: 45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 So. Houston, TX 10.2 ppg 4.3 rpg 0.9 bpg 53 Tatum Brown F 6-4 Sr. Tacoma, WA 13.9 ppg 8.2 rpg 0.7 bpg 3 Lisa Griffith G 5-6 Sr. Portland, OR 9.3 ppg 2.2 spg 3.7 apg 10 Reshea Bristol G 5-10 Jr. Omaha, NE 6.8 ppg 3.5 rpg 2.3 spg 23 Felecity Willis G 5-7 Sr. Apple Valley, CA 7.9 ppg 5.4 apg 1.5 spg OFF THE BENCH (listed alphabetically): 33 Tysell Bozeman G 5-8 So. Riverside, CA 2.8 ppg 1.1 rpg 0.5 spg 20 Julie Brase G 5-9 So. Tucson, AZ 7.4 ppg 2.8 rpg 2.2 apg 22 Monika Crank G 5-7 Sr. Page, AZ 5.1 ppg 2.7 rpg 2.1 apg 34 Angela Lackey F 6-0 Sr. Louisville, KY 12.9 ppg 4.9 rpg 1.7 spg 51 Michelle Mitchell C 6-4 So. Oregon City, OR 1.1 ppg 1.2 rpg 21 Jamie Sturdivant G 5-7 Fr. Simi Valley, CA 0.8 ppg 0.2 rpg 0.4 apg 50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 So. Houston, TX 2.8 ppg 2.8 rpg 0.4 bpg 35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 Fr. Cloverdale, CA 3.6 ppg 3.0 rpg 0.5 apg
Off to the best Pac-10 start in school history, the Wildcats swept the Washington schools last weekend to improve to 20-3 overall and 9-2 in Pac-10 play. The UA is currently in sole possession of first place in the Pac-10 standings.
The highest-ranked team in the Pac-10, the UA is on a six-game win streak and has won eight of its last nine games. Arizona will play five of its final seven contests on the road.
With 13.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, senior forward Tatum Brown remains the UA leader in both categories. Senior forward Angela Lackey is second in both categories with 12.9 ppg and 4.9 rpg. Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in third in both categories, averaging 10.2 ppg and 4.3 rpg.
Guards Lisa Griffith (9.3 ppg), Felecity Willis (7.9 ppg) and Julie Brase (7.4 ppg) follow on the scoring chart. Willis is the team's assists leader, at 5.4 per game, while junior guard Reshea Bristol is the steals leader, averaging 2.3 per contest.
Arizona leads the Pac-10 in five different statistical categories, including scoring (80.5 ppg), scoring margin (+14.1 ppg) and steals (10.87 apg). Individually, Tatum Brown is tops in field goal percentage (.599) and second in rebounding (8.2 rpg), while Felecity Willis is second in assists (5.43 apg).
ABOUT SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:
The Women of Troy ended a three-game losing skid last Saturday with a 73-69 victory over crosstown rival UCLA. USC now stands at 9-11 overall and 4-6 in Pac-10 play. The Women of Troy are 7-2 on their home court this season.
Senior forward Danielle Golay leads USC in both scoring and rebounding, with averages of 11.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Junior forward Tashara Carter is the second-leading scorer, with 10.4 ppg, while senior forward Tiffany Washington is second in rebounding, registering 4.9 per contest. Sophomore guard Tiffany Elmore is contributing 9.2 points per game.
USC is third in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage (.717) and fourth in blocked shots (3.55 bpg). Denise Woods is third in the conference in blocked shots (1.9 bpg).
USC head coach Chris Gobrecht (USC, 1977) holds a 28-46 mark in her third year at the helm of her alma mater's program. She is 360-249 in 21 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. USC:
USC holds the commanding 33-10 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats are on a six-game win streak against the Women of Troy and have won eight of the last nine meetings.
Earlier this season, the Cats earned a 67-52 victory over the Women of Troy on Jan. 22 in Tucson.
In last year's matchup in Los Angeles, UA scraped out a narrow 68-62 win on Mar. 4, 1999.
LAST MEETING WITH USC:
A 23-point performance off the bench by Angela Lackey sparked the Wildcats to a 67-52 victory over USC at home on Jan. 22.
The two teams played one another tight early in the game until the Cats managed an 18-7 run that gave them a nine-point (32-23) edge at the half.
Arizona pushed that lead out to 16 points (47-31) at the 12:52 mark in the second half, then went completely cold from the floor. While the Cats spent six clock minutes with only one field goal, the Women of Troy used a 15-2 spurt to claw back to within three points (29-46) with just over seven minutes left in the game.
Julie Brase drained a crucial three-pointer for the Cats at 6:34 and triggered a 16-2 UA run that ballooned the lead back out to 17 points (65-48). USC came no closer than 13 points for the remainder of the game.
In addition to Lackey's 23 points, freshman Krista Warren dumped in 15 points in her first collegiate start and was the only other Cat in double digits in scoring.
Ranked 24th this week, the Bruins were upended by rival USC, 73-69, last Saturday. With records of 13-7 overall and 7-3 in the Pac-10, UCLA has lost three of its last four games. The Bruins, who are 7-2 in Pauley this season, will play host to Arizona State on Thursday before taking on the Wildcats Saturday.
Four Bruins are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by senior forward Maylana Martin with 16.5 ppg. Martin is also the team's top rebounder, at 8.8 per contest. Freshman guard Nicole Kaczmarski is second with 11.3 ppg, followed closely by senior center Janae Hubbard's 11.1 ppg. Sophomore guard Michelle Greco is posting 10.3 ppg.
In the Pac-10, UCLA is second only to Arizona in scoring, with 76.4 ppg. The Bruins are leading the league in rebounding (43.2 rpg) and are second in steals (10.75 spg). Maylana Martin has the league's top rebounding average and is fourth in scoring and field goal percentage, while Michelle Greco is third in steals (2.33 spg).
In her seventh year at UCLA, head coach Kathy Olivier (UNLV, 1982) holds a 110-81 mark.
THE SERIES vs. UCLA:
The Bruins have a 32-11 advantage in the series with Arizona and have won each of the last three meetings. The Wildcats were swept by UCLA last season for the first time in seven years.
During their last meeting on Jan. 20, the Bruins handed the Cats a 79-68 loss in Tucson.
Last year's contest in Los Angeles resulted in an 85-77 win by UCLA on Mar. 6, 1999, to give the Bruins a share of the Pac-10 title.
LAST MEETING WITH UCLA:
Twenty-three turnovers and a season-low 35.3 percent performance from the field led to Arizona's demise, as it fell, 79-68, to then-12th-ranked UCLA at home on Jan. 20.
The Cats jumped out to a quick 10-4 lead, only to see UCLA take control of the game by outscoring the UA, 35-22, for the rest of the second half. The Bruins held a 39-32 advantage at halftime.
Arizona made an 11-3 run at UCLA early in the second period, gaining a one-point (43-42) lead at the 16:57 mark. That was the last time the Cats would lead, as the Bruins went on a 9-0 spurt. The UA came no closer than five points for the remainder of the game, with UCLA connecting on 10-of-16 free throws down the stretch.
Tatum Brown and Felecity Willis each scored 16 points for the UA, with Brown and Angela Lackey grabbing 10 rebounds apiece. Julie Brase added 11 points for the Cats.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT:
A dominating performance by the Wildcats enabled them to earn win number 20 on the season with an 81-52 victory over Washington State at home on Feb. 12.
WSU stayed with the Cats through the first five minutes of the game, then Arizona blew the contest open by out-scoring the Cougars, 25-11, over the remainder of the period. The Wildcats stretched their lead to as great as 39 points (74-35) with 4:57 left in the game and ended up with a 29-point victory.
Elizabeth Pickney led all scorers with her 21 points, aided by 10-of-13 shooting from the floor. Monika Crank contributed 10 points, and seven other Wildcats added five points or more. Tatum Brown and Reshea Bristol each pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
Arizona will remain on the road next weekend, heading up the highway to play rival Arizona State on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 8 p.m. in a game that will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Net Arizona. The Cats play their final home contests against the Oregon schools on Mar. 2 and 4.
BUSES HEADED FOR ASU:
A caravan of Wildcat "fun buses" will make its way up to Tempe next weekend for the game at Arizona State. For the cost of only $20, fans receive a reserved game ticket and transportation to and from Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Two buses are already full, and a third one is filling rapidly. Space is still available, so fans can obtain information by calling the Arizona women's basketball office at (520) 621-4014.
ARIZONA'S PRACTICE SCHEDULE:
Here is the upcoming practice schedule for the Wildcats...
Tues Feb. 15 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Feb. 16 1-2:30 p.m. McKale lifting before depart for Los Angeles Thurs. Feb. 17 at USC, 7 p.m. PST L.A. Sports Arena Fri. Feb. 18 3-5 p.m. PST Pauley Pavilion Sat. Feb. 19 at UCLA, 1 p.m. PST Pauley Pavilion Sun. Feb. 20 OFF Mon. Feb. 21 2-4:30 p.m. McKale lifting after Tues. Feb. 22 4:30-7 p.m. McKale Wed. Feb. 23 OFF
TRACKING THE PAC-10:
At 9-2 in Pac-10 play, the Cats are currently holding down first place in the league standings, followed by Oregon (8-3), Stanford (8-3), UCLA (7-3), Arizona State (6-5) and Oregon State (6-5). Arizona also has the best overall record of all the Pac-10 teams, at 20-3.
ACHIEVING 20 WINS:
With its defeat of Washington State on Feb. 12, this UA squad has become the fastest ever to reach the 20-win mark. No other Wildcat team has ever been able to reach 20 wins in only 23 games.
It is also the earliest in the season that any team has reached 20 wins. The earliest mark previously was set by the 1996-97 squad, which reached the 20-win plateau on Feb. 22.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI:
In nearly a decade at the helm of the University of Arizona's women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.
Now in her ninth year at the UA, Bonvicini has posted a 154-101 (.604) mark and has a 479-172 (.736) record in 20 years as a collegiate head coach. She also has a 22-13 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.
Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.
THE REST OF THE STAFF:
Awarded the title of associate head coach during the summer of 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) is in her eighth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and the perimeter coach. Second-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players, assists with scouting and recruiting and directs the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp. In his first year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.
THE CATS IN PAC-10 PLAY:
Currently at 9-2 in conference action, the Cats have achieved their best start ever in Pac-10 play. Previously, the UA had never made it through the first 11 conference games with less than three losses.
DID YOU KNOW:
Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 81-74 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 47-18 league mark over the last four seasons combined.
RACKING UP THE WINS:
Joan Bonvicini needs only five more victories at the UA to collect as many wins as the six previous Wildcat coaches combined (159).
BY THE NUMBERS:
Eighteen of Arizona's wins this year have been by an average of 10 points or more... Each loss has been by an average of only 5.7 points... The Cats have hit five or more 3-pointers in 16 games this season... Arizona has 20 or more assists in 12 games this year... The Cats have had 10 or more steals in 16 games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 16 contests, and no opponent has committed less than 14.
GOTTA TAKE CARE OF THE BALL:
Arizona has committed an average of 21.6 turnovers per game over the last seven contests. During that stretch, however, the Cats have forced opponents into an average of 23.9 turnovers per game. Arizona had its season high of 28 turnovers at Oregon State on Feb. 6, yet still took home a 65-49 victory. That was also Arizona's highest turnover total since committing 36 at Arizona State on Jan. 17, 1998.
LONG RANGE BOMBING:
The Wildcats have hit at least one 3-pointer in 56 consecutive games, dating back to Mar. 5, 1998.
SHAKING THOSE FREE THROW WOES:
Arizona was wildly inconsistent from the free throw line during non-conference play this season, hitting only 66.0 percent from the line. During that time-frame, the Cats shot as well as 84 percent (vs. Tennessee Tech) and as poorly as 53.1 percent (vs. Northern Illinois).
Since entering Pac-10 play, the Cats have regained some consistency, and accuracy, from the free throw line. They are shooting 72.3 percent from the stripe against conference opponents and have been at 80 percent or better in three of the last four games.
CRASHING THE BOARDS:
Rebounding was a major problem for the Wildcats over the last few years, but they are on an upswing in that area. The UA has out-rebounded or been equal to its opponent in 22 of this season's games. That's a great improvement over last season, when the Cats out-rebounded only seven opponents in all 29 games combined.
The UA bench has been quite productive this season, contributing an average of 29.3 points per game. The highest point total from the bench so far this year came on Dec. 10 against Texas Southern, when 47 of the UA's 96 points came from the subs.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME:
During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 91-40 mark in McKale Center, including a 60-12 record over the last five seasons combined. Arizona has a record of 157-148 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
Several of the UA's opponents this season are ranked in this week's polls.
UC Santa Barbara is 11th in this week's A.P. poll, while Oklahoma is 18th and UCLA is 24th. Stanford, Oregon, Kansas and Colorado State all received votes for ranking.
In this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches' poll, UC Santa Barbara is No. 13, Oklahoma is No. 20, UCLA is No. 23 and Kansas is No. 24. Stanford, Oregon, Colorado State, Hawai'i and Oregon State all received votes for ranking.
Nine schools had both their men's and women's basketball teams ranked among the A.P. Top 25 this week. They are Arizona, Connecticut, Tennessee, Louisiana State, Iowa State, Auburn, Duke, Purdue and Oklahoma..
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER:
Seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 28-year history of Arizona women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 121-16 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 81-9 when topping that 80-point plateau.
WE CAN HANDLE THE CLOSE ONES...:
Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Cats have gone 24-18 in games settled by five points or less, including a 8-4 mark in games settled by one or two points.
...BUT WE REALLY PREFER THE BLOWOUTS:
Over the last nine seasons, Bonvicini's Arizona teams have won 50 games by spreads of 20 points or more.
KEYS TO THE WIN:
This season, Arizona is... 18-3 when out-rebounding its opponent... 17-0 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 18-2 when shooting 40% or better from the field... 17-1 when scoring 70 points or more... 15-2 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent... 15-3 when three or more players reach double digits in scoring.
The Cats are forcing opponents to commit an average of 3.56 more turnovers per game than the UA, the highest ratio in the Pac-10... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 313-392 (.444) all-time record, however it is 117-56 (.676) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 171-88 career record against Pac-10 teams.
The Wildcats are 11-2 at home this season, 6-1 in road games and 3-0 in neutral contests. Arizona posted an 11-3 mark at home, was 5-8 on the road and notched a 2-0 record in neutral contests last year.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK:
Lisa Griffith is the Arizona and the Pac-10 career leader in both three-pointers made (266) and attempted (698). She is in the #6 spot on the UA's top-20 all-time leading scorers' list, with 1,130 career points. She needs 14 more points to move into the #5 spot.
Griffith is also on the career top-10 list for games started, coming in at #3 with 101 career starts. She is second on the career steals chart, with 208, and is fifth on the career assists list, with 434.
Felecity Willis is sixth in career three-pointers attempted (178) and is seventh in three-pointers made (51). She is holding down third place on the UA all-time assists chart and is ninth all-time in the Pac-10, with 497 career dishes.
Willis has also moved up to the #15 spot on the UA all-time scoring list, with 900 career points. She needs 25 more points to move into the #14 spot.
Sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney stands in fifth place on the UA all-time blocked shots list, with 56.
ARIZONA ON THE TUBE:
The Wildcats are currently scheduled to make television appearances for at least two more games...
Sat. Feb. 19 at UCLA Fox Sports Net 1 p.m. PST Sat. Feb. 26 at Arizona St. Fox Sports Net Ariz. 8 p.m.
FELECITY WILLIS NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb. 7):
Senior guard Felecity Willis was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 31-Feb. 6.
Willis, from Apple Valley, Calif., averaged 11.0 points, 7.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game while leading the Cats to their first road sweep of the Oregon schools in 10 years. She shot .455 (5-for-11) from the floor and .833 (10-for-12) from the free throw line over the two games.
In the victory at Oregon, which snapped the Ducks' 19-game home winning streak, Willis scored a season- and game-high 19 points, including 17 in the second half. She dished out a game-high eight assists, leading the Wildcats to their first win in Eugene since 1997. Willis went 7-of-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:20 to seal the 73-66 win. In the victory at Oregon State, she tallied a game-high seven assists to go with three points and three rebounds.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Willis' career, and the 19th all-time selection for the Wildcats. It is also the first time that Arizona has had four recipients in the same year.
GRIFFITH BECOMES PAC-10 LEADER:
On Jan. 30, senior guard Lisa Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in three-pointers attempted, surpassing former Washington player Jamie Redd's total of 675. Griffith became the Pac-10 career leader in 3-pointers made during the 1998-99 season.
BONVICINI REACHES MILESTONES:
With the win over Arizona State on Jan. 30, Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini earned her 150th win at the UA and 475th win as a head coach.
PICKNEY TOPS 500:
Against UCLA on Jan. 20, sophomore forward Elizabeth Pickney became the latest Wildcat to top the 500-point plateau in career scoring.
LISA GRIFFITH NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 17):
Senior guard Lisa Griffith was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 10-16.
Griffith averaged 20.0 points, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals and 2.0 rebounds per game while leading the Wildcats to their first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools on Jan. 13 and 15. She shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the floor, including a blazing 61.1 percent (11-of-18) from three-point range.
In the win at Washington, Arizona's first victory ever in Seattle, Griffith drained a school-record-tying seven treys en route to a career-high 26 points. She shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc, marking the first time any Wildcat has hit seven treys in one game since Griffith herself did it twice during the 1996-97 season. In the win over Washington State, she tallied 14 points, four steals and seven assists.
The Player of the Week honor is the second of Griffith's career, and was the 18th all-time selection for Arizona.
CATS EARN FIRST ROAD SWEEP IN WASHINGTON:
With wins at Washington State (83-68) on Jan. 13 and at Washington (96-85) on Jan. 15, Arizona completed its first-ever road sweep of the Washington schools. While the Cats had previously been able to defeat Washington State in Pullman, this season's win at Washington was the UA's first in 14 attempts.
A GREAT START:
With their victory over California on Jan. 6, the Wildcats tied the 1995-96 team for the best start ever at 12-1.
CATS SET RECORD WITH HOME WIN STREAK:
Arizona set a new school record this season with a 15-game home win streak, dating from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 8, 2000. They saw their streak end with a 98-95 loss to Stanford on Jan. 8. The previous long streak was a string of 10 games midway through the 1997-98 season.
The Cats went 11-1 in regular season non-conference play this year, their best non-conference mark since the 1995-96 team went 9-0. The 11 victories are the most regular season non-conference wins ever under Joan Bonvicini.
During the 12 non-conference games, the Cats averaged 83.1 points per game and out-scored their opponents by an average of 18 points per game. They shot 48.8 percent from the field, including a blazing 42.3 percent from three-point range. The UA out-rebounded its opponents by an average of 6.2 boards per contest. The Cats also averaged 20.0 assists and 11.0 steals per game, while forcing opponents to commit an average of 22.8 turnovers per game.
CATS TAKE SEELBACH CLASSIC TITLE:
Arizona won its third regular-season tournament when it swept through the Seelbach Cardinal Classic in Louisville, Ky., on Dec. 28-29. The Cats had a solid showing in the first round with a 91-61 pounding of Marshall on Dec. 28. Although host team Louisville managed to hang with the UA most of the contest, the Cats pulled out an 80-70 victory in the championship game to take the tournament title.
After averaging 14.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game over the two contests, Wildcat Tatum Brown was selected the Tournament MVP, her second such honor of the year. Louisville native Angela Lackey was selected to the All-Tournament Team as well, also her second such honor of the season.
GRIFFITH JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB:
With 3:04 left in the first half at Kansas on Dec. 21, senior guard Lisa Griffith knocked down her third three-pointer of the game to become the eighth Wildcat to reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring. The last Wildcat to join the 1,000-point club was Griffith's former teammate, Adia Barnes, who reached that mark during the 1996-97 season.
WILDCATS CLAIM TITLE OF INSIGHT.COM BOWL BASKETBALL CLASSIC:
After falling in the championship game of the 1998 tournament, Arizona reclaimed the title of its ninth annual Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic with victories over Texas Southern (96-46) and Indiana (87-70) on Dec. 10-12.
The UA's Tatum Brown was unanimously voted the Tournament Most Valuable Player after averaging 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals over the two games. Angela Lackey was named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
RECORDS FALLING ALREADY:
Tatum Brown's 11-of-12 shooting performance against Colorado State on Dec. 6 tied the UA single-game record for field goal percentage (.917). It is also a new McKale Center record, breaking the previous mark of 84.6 percent (11-13) set by former UCLA player Denise Curry on Jan. 17, 1981.
Arizona also set a new school record by hitting a sizzling 75.9 (22-29) percent in the first half against UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30.
BROWN NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 6):
Senior forward Tatum Brown was named the Pacific-10 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 29-Dec. 5. Brown scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds to lead No. 21 Arizona to an 86-76 upset over No. 15 UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 30. In just 26 minutes of action, she shot 9-for-12 (.750) from the field and 3-for-4 (.750) from the line.
The Player of the Week honor is the first of Brown's career, and the 17th all-time selection. Brown's honor followed Elizabeth Pickney's Player of the Week laurels the previous week, marking the first time in school history that the Wildcats have had back-to-back Pac-10 Players of the Week.
SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT:
The Cats shot a school-record 75.9 percent (22-29) from the floor in the first half of the UCSB contest on Nov. 30. For the game, they shot 63 percent (34-54), the highest field goal percentage for any team since the school record was set at 64.3 percent (36-56) against Drake on Nov. 25, 1990.
PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 29):
Elizabeth Pickney was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Nov. 15-28. Pickney averaged 16.0 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game in the UA's four straight victories to open the season. She shot a team-high .575 (23-40) from the field and .720 (18-25) from the line during that stretch.
Pickney was named the Tournament MVP at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, leading Arizona to the team title with three wins. In the tourney, she averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The Player of the Week honor was the first of Pickney's career and the 16th all-time selection for Arizona.
SULTANS OF SWAT:
The Wildcats racked up nine blocked shots in the contest against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 20. That is the highest single-game block total since the 1985 squad collected 10 at Tennessee-Chattanooga on Jan. 5, 1985. Elizabeth Pickney had five of the UA's blocked shots against Tennessee Tech, a career high for her.
As a team, Arizona collected 20 blocks over the first four game of the year, the highest block total ever over that stretch in any season.
CATS TAKE CHAMPIONSHIP AT HAWAIIAN REGENT WAHINE CLASSIC:
The Wildcats swept through three games in Honolulu on Nov. 19-21 to take the title at the Hawaiian Regent Wahine Classic, hosted by the University of Hawai'i.
Arizona garnered victories over Oklahoma (75-59), Tennessee Tech (87-71) and host team Hawai'i (86-73) to open the 1999-2000 season with a perfect 3-0 mark.
Elizabeth Pickney averaged 18.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the Cats and was the overwhelming favorite for tournament Most Valuable Player laurels. Felecity Willis and Tatum Brown were named to the All-Tournament Team, as well.
DOVE IANELLO AMONG TOP ASSISTANTS:
In a survey of head women's coaches conducted by the Women's Basketball Journal last fall, UA associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello received votes for consideration as one of the top assistant coaches in the country.
On the first day of the early signing period (Nov. 10), Arizona inked a trio of high school recruits from the state of California. The signees were 5-10 guard Candice Allen (Ontario, CA/Ayala HS), 5-7 guard Aimee Grzyb (San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) and 6-3 forward Veranda James (Pomona, CA/Ganesha HS).
WHAT THE COACHES THINK:
Here is the predicted order of finish for the Pac-10 this season, according to the league's coaches...
1. UCLA 6. Washington 2. Oregon 7. USC 3. Stanford 8. Oregon State 4. ARIZONA 9. California 5. Arizona State 10. Washington StateThe Pac-10 media also picked Arizona to finish fourth in the league standings this year.
For the third year in a row, the Wildcats earned a preseason national ranking. The Cats were ranked 25th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25, and they were 24th in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Preseason Top 25.
The Wildcats were ranked among the top 25 teams in five different "unofficial" preseason polls this fall. The UA's highest ranking in these polls was 13th by Women's Basketball magazine and the lowest was 22nd by both Street & Smith's and the Basketball News Report.
Angela Lackey earned preseason third team All-America honors from Lindy's College Basketball and honorable mention All-America laurels from Street & Smith's College Basketball.
1998-99 IN REVIEW:
Despite losing the squad's only two seniors before the season ever started, the very young 1998-99 Wildcats held their own and came up with an 18-11 overall record and went 12-6 in the Pac-10 to finish in fourth place.
The Cats faced a rough non-conference schedule that featured three teams which spent most of the season among the top four in the national rankings. Arizona went 5-4 against those non-conference opponents, with quality losses to Purdue, Louisiana Tech and Colorado State and a big road win over UC Santa Barbara.
That tough early slate prepared the Cats for a season of Pac-10 play which showed more parity than it has in years. After getting off to a rocky 1-3 start in league play, the Cats rebounded to finish the season 11-3, with wins over Pac-10 co-champion Oregon and over perennial power Stanford.
The Wildcats then received their third consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, earning a #6 seed in the Midwest Region. In Piscataway, N.J., Arizona faced NCAA tourney veteran Florida in the first round of play and defeated the Gators, 87-84, in overtime to move on to the second round for the third straight year. The Cats then took on host Rutgers, only to end the season on a sour note, falling to the Scarlet Knights, 90-47.
For the season, Arizona had its most balanced offense in five years, with four players averaging in double digits in scoring, and ended its season by winning 12 of its final 16 contests. The Cats broke or tied 13 school records on the year, including setting new marks in single season free throws made (520) and blocked shots (88).
With 14.4 points per game, Angela Lackey led four Wildcats averaging in double digits in scoring. Felecity Willis came in second with her 12.1 ppg scoring average, followed closely by Elizabeth Pickney at 11.4 ppg. Pickney was the team's top rebounder, with 5.8 per game, while Willis was the team's assists leader, averaging 5.5 apg. Lackey was second in rebounding with 5.4 rpg, and Reshea Bristol posted 11.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.