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Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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Paul Johnson is employed by the UA as the women's basketball play-by-play announcer. He has 20 years of sports broadcasting experience, including the last six years as the voice of Arizona women's basketball. Every Wildcat women's basketball game this year will be broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM, with Paul calling all the action.

Courtside Archives

March 20, 2004
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2002-03 Archive
2001-02 Archive

The scouting report compiled by the Notre Dame coaching staff for their game against Arizona said it best; "Liz Pickney is Arizona's best player." How true! While Julie Brase may be the most valuable cog in the Arizona line-up, no one can argue that senior forward Elizabeth Pickney is the best player currently wearing an Arizona uniform.

Let's think back to the team's recent victory over defending champion Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish had built a solid eight-point lead in the second half, and their star player, Alicia Rattay, was on fire. It looked very much like an Arizona victory was slipping away, but then came the Cats' best player. Pickney scored 21 second half points (27 overall) and piggybacked her team to improbable 72-70 victory. Guess who scored the winning basket at the buzzer? You got it. Liz Pickney grabbed the ball in the paint, wiggled herself free and banked a shot off the glass that sent the nearly 4,000 fans at McKale Center into a frenzy. All of this happened because Arizona's best player rose to the occasion.

Liz Pickney has always been a terrific player. She has been a starter since the moment she arrived in Tucson and has put up solid numbers. However, this year, this team is her team. Joan Bonvicini put the pressure on her before the season when she told me that she expects Pickney to average 20 points per game. That's a high goal, even for the team's best player. So far Liz has not disappointed. Heading into games this week against New Mexico, Holy Cross and either Wisconsin or Pittsburgh, Pickney is averaging 21 points and 7 rebounds per game.

The best part of the Liz Pickney story may be what she is like off the court. A nursing major, she spends more time in the hospital than on the basketball floor. In the midst of a late season struggle a year ago, Pick' was all smiles because she had delivered a baby while making rounds at a local hospital. Her sense of humor and easy-going personality make her a favorite among her teammates and fans. Pretty good for a young lady who is known more for her basketball than medical expertise. Pretty good for the team's best player.

So, Liz Pickney will try to carry this Arizona team to the NCAA Tournament and beyond. Yes, she will get help from others, but make no mistake about it, this is her team. A great player and a great kid, not bad for the team's best player. Just ask the coaches at Notre Dame!

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson


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