Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Women's Basketball 2006-07 Season-In-Review
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 10, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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THE 2006-07 SEASON: The University of Arizona women's basketball team finished the 2006-07 with an 11-21 overall record and a 4-14 mark in the Pac-10.  Arizona finished the season on a high note as the Wildcats played some of their best basketball down the stretch, despite battling one of the toughest schedules in the nation and a slew of injuries the entire year.  Arizona won four of its last nine games, with impressive wins at UCLA, and over Oregon State in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament before a strong showing in the season finale against Stanford.  With a solid cast of returning players, look for the Wildcats to keep the momentum rolling in 2007-08.


A LOOK AT ARIZONA: Arizona averaged 63.1 points a game while shooting 39.7 percent (761-1916) from the field, 26.8 percent (135-504) from three-point range, and 67.7 percent (363-536) from the free throw line.  The Wildcats have also tallied 279 steals (8.71 spg) off of 627 opponent turnovers. 


TEAM LEADERS: Senior Joy Hollingsworth led the Wildcats in scoring with 16.2 points per game, as well as eight other statistical categories.  Hollingsworth also averaged team highs in minutes played with 34.7, steals with 2.1 per game, and led the team in field goals made (189), three-point field goals made (63) and free throws made (77).  Junior Ashley Whisonant averaged 11.9 points a game and a team-best 3.6 assists per contest.  Sophomore Amina Njonkou flourished in her first full season of collegiate basketball, posting 8.4 points and a team-leading 6.7 rebounds a game.


ARIZONA HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. In her 16 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. 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, 16 Pac-10 All-Freshman Team choices and 15 Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Bonvicini holds a 277-203 (.577) mark at Arizona and is 602-274 (.687) in 28 years as a head coach.  She has a career record of 24-17 in NCAA Tournament play and has lost just two first-round games in 17 tourney appearances. 


WIN #600: Arizona witnessed a historic milestone during the season as head coach Joan Bonvicini joined an elite group in women’s basketball history.  Bonvicini earned her 600th career victory on Feb. 8, as the Wildcats defeated Oregon State, 65-61.  She became the 18th women's basketball coach in NCAA Division I history to accomplish the 600-win plateau.


Bonvicini earned The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association 2007 Russell Athletic/WBCA Victory Club Award, honoring her for winning her 600th career victory this season.


The Russell Athletic/WBCA Victory Club Award is presented to each WBCA-member head coach who achieves career wins of 200, 300, 400, 500 or more, in 100 victory increments. 


HOLLINGSWORTH NAMED TO ALL-PAC-10 TEAM:  Senior Joy Hollingsworth represented Arizona on the 2007 All-Pacific-10 Conference team as an honorable mention selection.  It was the first All-Pac-10 honor of her career.


FOUR CATS EARN ALL-PAC-10 ALL-ACADEMIC HONORS: Arizona senior Linda Pace, juniors Jessica Arnold and Shannon Hobson, and sophomore Kelsey Burns each received Pac-10 Women’s Basketball All-Academic honorable mention honors.  To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant contributor.


Pace, from San Diego, Calif., earned honorable mention honors for the second consecutive season.  The 5-foot-9 guard started the final nine games of the season, helping the Wildcats to four wins over that span.  As a starter, Pace averaged 3.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.4 steals in 21.6 minutes per game.  Pace is set to graduate in May with a degree in accounting and boasts a 3.0 grade point average.


Arnold, from Tucson, Ariz., earned the second honorable mention honor of career.  Arnold started 20 of the 31 games she played in this season and averaged 7.5 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 21.2 minutes per game.  The 5-foot-4 guard led the team in scoring on two different occasions, shot 76.3 percent (45-59) from the free throw line, and was second on the team with 31 three point field goals made.  Arnold owns a 3.1 GPA and is majoring in business.


Hobson, a Perris, Calif., native earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors for the first time in her career.  The 6-foot-2 forward played in all 32 games this season for the Wildcats, making 19 starts.  She averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game while shooting a team-high 46.7 percent (49-105) from the field.  Hobson, who graduated from the UA last December with a degree in psychology, is currently continuing her education as a graduate student.


Burns, from Seattle, received the first honorable mention honors of her career.  The 5-foot-11 guard made 15 appearances this season, averaging 7.3 minutes per contest.  She posted a season-high 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, including a 2-of-5 mark from three point range to go with two rebounds in a season-best 20 minutes of action against Stanford on Jan. 25 in McKale Center.  Burns owns a 3.1 GPA as a psychology major.


2006-07 TEAM AWARDS:


Most Valuable Player: Joy Hollingsworth

Defensive MVP: Linda Pace

Most Improved Player: Malia O’Neal

Freshman of the Year: Rhaya Neabors

Hustle Award: Marie McGee

Most Inspirational: Marie McGee, Whitney Fields

Academic Award: Jessica Arnold

Golden “A” Award: Joy Hollingsworth

Polkey Award: Linda Pace


PAC-10 RANKINGS: Arizona was one of the top teams in the Pac-10 this past season at forcing turnovers on the opposition and handling the ball on the offensive side.  The Wildcats ranked third in the conference in steals with 8.72 per game, and owned a +1.62 turnover margin, third best in the Pac-10.  Individually for Arizona, Joy Hollingsworth ranked eighth in points per game (16.2), second in steals (2.13), third in three-point field goals made (63), and seventh in minutes played (34.7).  Ashley Whisonant ranked eighth in assists with 3.61 per game, and Amina Njonkou ranked 10th in the Pac-10 in rebounding (6.7 rpg), and second in the conference with 98 offensive rebounds.


WHISONANT REACHES 1,000 POINT MARK: Junior Ashley Whisonant scored her 1,000th career point against Stanford in the second round of the Pac-10 Tournament on March 3 in the Wildcats season finale.  Whisonant finished with 18 points, vaulting her to 1,003 points in her career.


Whisonant hit a jumper at the 15:28 mark in the second half against the Cardinal to reach the 1,000 point milestone.  She sank another on the Wildcats’ next possession at the 14:43 mark for 1,003 career points.


The Bowie, Md., native, needed just 93 games to reach 1,003 points, for a 10.8 points per game average.  She becomes the 11th player in Arizona history to reach the 1,000 point milestone, surpassing Melissa Handley (1989-92) and her 1,000 career points for 10th all-time.


The 5-foot-8 point guard becomes the fifth fast player in Arizona history to reach 1,000 points.  As a senior next season, Whisonant will have a chance to break into the top five on the all-time scoring list.


GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: Arizona was 8-4 during the 2006-07 season when leading at halftime. 


CARDIAC CATS: During the 2006-07 season, the Wildcats succeeded in the close ball games.  Arizona was 7-4 in games decided by five points or less.  Five of Arizona's last nine games of the season were decided by five points or less, with the Wildcats owning a 3-2 record in those games. 


MAGIC NUMBER: On the season, Arizona was 5-3 when scoring 70 points or more in a game, including a season-high 83 points scored in its season-opening win against Nicholls State.  All-time, Arizona is 176-21 (.893) when scoring 80 points or more, as the Wildcats are 129-14 (.902) under head coach Joan Bonvicini when reaching the 80 point plateau.


RUN IT, RUN IT:  During the 2006-07 season, Arizona showed the ability to put together some large scoring runs.  Here is a breakdown of some of the Wildcats' major scoring-streaks:


25 points: 30-5 scoring run over 12:50 in the first half vs. Nicholls State

21 points: 30-9 run over the final 6:53 of the first half at UTEP

18 points: 23-5 run over the first 12:38 of the second half vs. Long Beach State

16 points: 16-0 run over 3:13 in the first half vs. Louisiana Tech

16 points: 20-4 run over the final 8:11 of the game at Maryland

15 points: 15-0 run over 4:40 in the first half vs. GW

14 points: 15-1 run over 3:57 in the second half vs. Long Beach State

12 points: 12-0 run over 4:07 in the second half vs. Oregon State

12 points: 14-2 run over 7:39 in the first half vs. Oregon

12 points: 16-4 run over 5:16 in the second half vs. Stanford

12 points: 17-5 run over 3:30 in the second half vs. UCLA

12 points: 12-0 run over 5:55 in first half vs. NC State

12 points: 18-6 run over the final 7:50 of the game vs. Nicholls State

11 points: 14-3 run over 9:20 to start the second half vs. Washington State

10 points: 17-7 run over 6:24 in the first half vs. New Mexico

10 points: 13-3 run over 4:24 in the second half vs. Washington

10 points: 10-0 run over 1:47 in the second half vs. GW

10 points: 10-0 run over 3:54 in the first half vs. USC


WATCH YOUR POCKETS: The Wildcats excelled at picking the pockets of opponents this past season.  Arizona has tallied 279 steals (8.72 spg) on the year, which is third best in the Pac-10. UA has also forced 627 opponent turnovers.  The Wildcats recorded double-figures in steals in 14 games during the season.


DOUBLING UP: Two Wildcats recorded double-doubles this season, as sophomore Amina Njonkou led Arizona with four followed by one for sophomore Malia O’Neal.  Njonkou registered four double-doubles of the points and rebounds variety, her first one with a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds against Nicholls State in the season opener.  Against Fresno State, Njonkou finished with 15 points and a career-best 13 rebounds, as she posted her third double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds against USC on Jan. 18.  She also finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds against Stanford on Jan. 25. O’Neal registered career-highs of 12 points and 11 assists for her first career double-double in the win at UCLA on Feb 15.


BRING IT: Like every season, Arizona competed against some of the toughest competition in the nation.  The Wildcats faced 10 teams that were in the NCAA Tournament’s field of 64.  Arizona took on two No. 2 seeds in Maryland and Stanford, a No. 3 seed in Arizona State, two No. 4 seeds in Texas A&M and NC State, a No. 5 seed in George Washington, two No. 8 seeds in California and New Mexico, a No. 10 seed in TCU, and No. 11 seeded Washington during the season.  Arizona was able to notch wins against TCU and NC State.


Arizona also played 11 games during the 2006-07 season against ranked opponents.


ATTENDANCE: Arizona averaged 1,863 fans in 15 games during the 2006-07 season at home in McKale Center.  That mark is up from the 2005-06 season in which the Wildcats averaged 1,797 fans a game in 14 home contests.  Arizona owned a 6-9 record at home, including a 4-2 mark in the non-conference schedule.  The Wildcats’ largest crowd of the season in McKale Center was 2,972 for the season finale against arch-rival Arizona State on Feb. 24.

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