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0-12-7-2007 Long Beach State Notes
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/07/2007
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Complete Release as a PDF

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C oming Up:

The Arizona womenˇ?s basketball team (3-4) hits the road again for a game at Long Beach State (1-5) on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. in the Walter Pyramid.? Head coach Joan Bonvicini heads back to her old stomping grounds for the first time since 1996.

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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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Northern Arizona Recap:

Arizona ended the game on a 29-10 scoring run and sophomore Rheya Neabors scored a career-high 15 points to lead the Wildcats to a 75-54 win over Northern Arizona on Thursday night in McKale Center.?

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As a team, Arizona shot 45.2 percent (28-62) from the field and held NAU to a 37 percent (20-54) mark.? The Wildcats outrebounded the Lumberjacks 42-33, but only shot 26.7 percent (8-30) from three point range and 55 percent (11-20) from the free throw line.? Arizona also tallied 14 steals on 25 NAU turnovers.

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Neabors scored her career-best 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from three-point range to go with eight rebounds.? Senior Ashley Whisonant tallied 13 points and eight assists, and junior Amina Njonkou posted 12 points, six rebounds and five steals.

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Sophomore Levyna Ben led NAU with 18 points.

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Arizona started the game strong, racing out to a 12-3 lead at the 14:36 mark.? The Wildcats led 34-21 with 2:46 left in the first half, but NAU ended the half on an 8-0 scoring run to cut the deficit to 34-29 going into halftime.? Arizona shot 40.6 percent (13-32) in the first half, limiting NAU to a 35.5 percent (11-31) mark.

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The Lumberjacks turned the momentum in their favor at the start of the second half, using a 12-6 run in the first 6:06 to cut the Arizona lead to 42-41 on a three by Ben.? NAU trailed 46-44 after a jumper by Liana Boer at the 12:39 mark before the Wildcats went on a 10-0 run over the next 3:27 to stretch their lead to 56-44.? The Wildcats never looked back from there, cruising down the stretch to seal the win.? Arizona posted a 50 percent (15-30) mark from the field in the second half while holding the Lumberjacks to a 39.1 percent shooting (9-23).

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About the 49ers:

The Long Beach State 49ers enter the week with a 1-5 overall record and will host Fresno State on Friday night before taking on the Wildcats Sunday.? Long Beach Stateˇ?s only win on the year so far was at San Jose State (64-60).? As a team, the 49ers shoot 40.6 percent (131-323) from the field, 32.9 percent (24-73) from three point range, and 70.6 percent (72-102) from the free throw line.? Individually for LBSU, junior Karina Figueroa leads the squad averaging 12.3 points a game.? Head coach Mary Hegarty is in her fifth season at the helm of the Long Beach State program.

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Series Notes:

Sundayˇ?s game will be the 18th meeting all-time between the Wildcats and the 49ers on the hardwood, with Long Beach State owning a 14-3 series advantage.? Arizona has won the last three contests in the series, including a 77-39 victory last season on Dec. 12, 2006.? Before last yearˇ?s game, these two teams had not played since Dec. 1, 1996, a 97-57 win for the Wildcats in Long Beach, Calif., Arizona first win over the 49ers on the road.

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Familiar Foe:

Head Coach Joan Bonvicini has coached two Division-I teams in her 28-year coaching career, and both of her teams will meet Sunday night in the Walter Pyramid.? Bonvicini began her coaching career at Long Beach State in 1980, and tallied a 325-71 record (.820) there in 12 seasons, including two trips to the NCAA Final Four.? In 1991, Bonvicini moved on to Arizona where she has compiled a 280-207 (.595) in 16 plus seasons as the coach of the Wildcats.

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Interestingly enough, Bonvicini went 13-0 against Arizona as the head coach of the 49ers, defeating the Wildcats by an average margin of victory of 37 points.? As the head coach of Arizona, Bonvicini is 3-0 against her former team, beating the 49ers by an average of 29 points.

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On the Road Again:

The Wildcats have been racking up those frequent flyer miles so far this season and this weekend will be another trip added to the list.? This time, Arizona will be headed to the Left Coast instead of trekking to the East Coast.? Counting the trip to Long Beach, Calif., and with trips to Penn State and NC State under their belts, the Wildcats have already racked up 8,948 round trip travel miles.? Arizona still has trips to New Mexico and Wisconsin-Green Bay to go on before the Pac-10 season starts.? Weˇ?ll keep you posted on when the Wildcats earn their free round trip to anywhere in the United States.

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vs. the Big West:

Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, Arizona is 16-3 since 1991 against schools that currently make up the Big West Conference.? Those three loses are all against UC Santa Barbara.

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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 280-207 (.575) mark at Arizona and is 605-278 (.685) 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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Slow Startsˇ? No More:

Through seven games, Arizona is getting outscored 248-210 by opponents in the first half.? However, the Wildcats earned their second halftime lead of the season with a 34-29 advantage over NAU on Thursday night.? When leading at the half, Arizona is 2-0.

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Bombs Away:

Against NAU, the Wildcats stretched out their perimeter offense and let it fly from behind the arc.? Arizona put up 30 three-pointers in the game, the second-highest mark in school history, hitting a season-high eight three point field goals.? The Wildcats were just two treys shy of matching the school record mark of 32 three point attempts set against UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 14, 2002.? That team performance comes after the Wildcats failed to hit a three point basket (0-6) against Middle Tennessee the game before.? Arizonaˇ?s 0 three point field goals in that game against the Blue Raiders marked the first time in three seasons that the Wildcats had failed to hit a three pointer in a game.? The last time Arizona went 0-for from three point range was at Ohio State on Nov. 17, 2004 (L, 45-78), a span of 96 games.

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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 147 times (21 free throw attempts per game), but is only shooting 64.6 percent (95-147) from the charity stripe. ?Opponents are shooting 69 percent (100-145) from the line against the Cats.? Against NAU, the Wildcats only shot 55 percent (11-20) from the line.

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What do you know about Pressure?:

The Wildcats can put some pressure defense, and opponents have shown they canˇ?t handle it.? Through seven games, Arizona has forced 156 turnovers on the opposition, which equates to an average of 22.3 turnovers a game.? The Wildcats, on the other hand, have turned the ball over 139 times, and own a +2.4 turnover margin.? Arizona forced an opponent season-high 25 turnovers on the Lumberjacks Thursday night.

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Ball Thieves:

The Wildcats have shown they can scratch at opponents, posting 75 steals so far on the season for a 10.7 steals per game average.? Arizona has racked up 59 steals in its last five games (11.8 spg), including a season-high 14 against Portland, NC State and NAU.? Arizona ranks third in the Pac-10 in the steals department.

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Paint Job:

So far, Arizona has been doing a solid job scoring in the paint.? Through seven games, the Wildcats have posted 252 points in the paint, which accounts for 52.3 percent of the teamˇ?s point production (482).? Arizona is averaging 36 points per game in the paint, and outscored NAU 30-22 in the paint in its last outing.

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Lotta Action:

So far, a lot of Wildcats are getting a lot of action.? Through seven games, 10 Wildcats are averaging double figures in playing time, led by senior Ashley Whisonantˇ?s 36.4 minutes per game average.

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Good Defense:

Arizonaˇ?s defense was key in its win over NAU Thursday night.? The Wildcats held the Lumberjacks to opponent season low marks in shooting percentage (37.0), field goals (20), and points scored (54).

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Swat This:

Arizona tallied a season-high four blocked shots against NAU as four different players registered rejections in the game.

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Splinters Out:

Arizonaˇ?s bench has given the Wildcats a major boost on the court.? The UA bench has scored in double figures in each game so far, including a season-best 42 points against Portland, and had 22 bench points against NAU.? Arizonaˇ?s reserves have accounted for 168 points for a 24 ppg average, which is also 34.9 percent of the teamˇ?s total output.? Arizona outscored NAUˇ?s bench 22-5 on Thursday night

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AW Leads the Way:

Senior guard Ashley Whisonant will be counted on to lead at the point this season, and she has already flourished in that position.? So far this season, Whisonant has played at an All-American level.? The Bowie, Md., native is averaging 15.7 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists a game while snagging 2.1 steals a contest.? She is also averaging a team-high 36.4 minutes per contest.? Whisonant ranks fourth in the Pac-10 in points scored, first in assists per game, fourth in steals per game, and first in minutes per game.

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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.? With 76 points in the first three games, Whisonant moved past Kim Conway (1,060 points, 1990-94) for the No. 13 spot on the all-time scoring list.? Now standing at 1,113 career points (100 games), Whisonant needs 31 points to catch Yolanda Turner (1984-87) for the No. 12 position.

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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 one 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 307 career assists, Whisonant needs 27 more to claim the No. 10 spot in school history.?

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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.? In the first seven games, Dickey is averaging 7.3 points on 19-of-44 shooting (43.2 percent), 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals a game.

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Impressive Start:

Freshman Ify Ibekwe comes from a family of distinguished athletes and she is trying to prove that she is the best yet.? The 6-foot-1 Carson, Calif., native from Narbonne HS has been a spark on the court in the first seven games, averaging 11.0 points on 64.0 percent shooting (32-50), the second-best mark in the Pac-10, and a team-high 6.9 rebounds a game in just 17.9 minutes a game.? In her last four games, Ibekwe is averaging a team-high 14.0 points and 9.5 rebounds a game, numbers highlighted by performances against Portland and Middle Tennessee at home.? Against Portland, Ibekwe straight went off against the Pilots.? She finished with a team-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with 13 rebounds for her first career double-double.? Against the Middle Tennessee, Ibekwe finished with a team-high 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.? In her first career start against NAU, Ibekwe finished with seven points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals in 22 minutes of action.

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In the Books:

Ify Ibekweˇ?s performance against Middle Tennessee was one for the history books, as her 22 points came off of a scorching 10-of-11 shooting mark from the field.? Her .909 shooting percentage is the second-best single game performance in school history, matching Shawn Coderˇ?s 10-of-11 mark against Cal State Northridge on Dec. 13, 1991.

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Wonˇ?t you be my Neabor?:

Sophomore Rheya Neabors sure wasnˇ?t nice to NAU on Thursday, posting a career-high 15 points to go with eight rebounds, two assists, and a block and a steal in 35 minutes of action.? The Pomona, Calif., native put up a career-best 10 three pointers, hitting a career-high five three point field goals.? On the season, she is averaging 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds a game.

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Stepping Up her Game:

Sophomore Marie McGee is playing a more vital role in the Arizona lineup this season, as the Las Cruces, N.M., native earned her first career start against NAU on Thursday.? She responded by finishing with six points and two steals, hitting a career-best two three pointers.? On the season, McGee is averaging 4.6 points and 2.0 rebounds a game in 16.0 minutes of action per contest.

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Welcome Back!:

After missing out on the first six games due to a concussion, senior Jessica Arnold returned to the Arizona lineup for the first time on Thursday.? The Tucson native played 20 minutes in her first outing, posting four points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal.? Last season, Arnold averaged 7.5 points a game.

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Back at It:

Junior Sarah Hays was back in the lineup on Thursday and had quite a nice stat line after sitting out against Middle Tennessee.? The 6-foot-1 forward finished with a season-high eight points and pulled down three rebounds to go with a block in 17 minutes of action.

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B For Block:

Although she likes to go by ˇ?Queen Bˇ±, junior Beatrice Bofia might want to keep on accumulating more ˇ?Bsˇ± on the court ?C as in blocked shots.? Against NAU, the 6-foot-7 center posted the second block of her career, and finished with a season-high eight points on a perfect 4-for-4 mark from the field.? On the season, Bofia is averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds a game.

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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.? Against NAU, the 6-foot-1 Cameroon native finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field to go with six rebounds and a career-best five steals.? On the season, Njonkou is posting 10.0 points and 4.7 rebounds 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 return home to host Boise State on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. in McKale Center.

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