Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtside Conversations with Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is employed by the UA as the women's basketball play-by-play announcer. He has 21 years of sports broadcasting experience and is in his eighth season 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

It's back to the good old days in Pac-10 women's basketball. For the most part, this 2002-03 season looks like any other season. It is comforting to know that not everything in this world changes after all!

One glance at the Pac-10 standings shows that everything is in order. The usual suspects are off to excellent starts. Stanford and UCLA are undefeated; Washington and Arizona are close behind. You would think you were looking at the Pac-10 of 1998 or 1999. However, there are some strange things happening behind the scenes.

First, the Oregon schools have become a complete disaster. Each squad is 1-3 in conference play after being swept in Arizona, and both are falling from high pillars. The Ducks won the WNIT last year and were picked to finish in the top third of the conference, and just a few years ago, Oregon State was drawing 7,000 people at Gill Coliseum. Now, you will be lucky to see 1,000 fans in the old barn.

Second, UCLA is not supposed to be good. In fact, they are supposed to be really bad! However, the emergence of freshman Nikki Blue and the return of Michelle Greco has put UCLA back on the map. Just down the freeway, things are normal as USC stumbles out of the gate. The Trojans always have the talent but usually come up lame because of head cases and bad coaching. Their 1-3 conference start would bear witness to this. It is good to know that the Trojans are under-achieving. You see things really aren't changing that much!

Third, up in Washington, things are stable too. The Cougars are awful, and they have been awful. The Huskies are overrated, and they are always overrated. Now, with two starters out of the line-up in Seattle, who knows what June Daugherty will be able to pull out of the hat?

Finally, we come to the Arizona schools, and things are a bit more in sync this season. The Wildcats are once again the better team after a short Sun Devil run. After all, as of this weekend, the Wildcats showed an RPI ranking of No. 7, while ASU was buried somewhere in the nether-lands. The Cats also are moving up in the national rankings, while the Devils' votes have stopped coming as if George Bush was trying to get elected again in Palm Beach County, Florida.

All in all, aside from the disappearance of Oregon, the Pac-10 looks pretty normal. It looks like Stanford, Arizona, UCLA, and Washington will battle for the title, and the rest will scurry for Pac-10 tournament seeding. It is good to know that in a world full of unrest and change, Pac-10 women's basketball is bringing back the good old days!

See you on the radio!
Paul Johnson

Upcoming broadcasts of Arizona women's basketball on KJLL radio include:

Monday, Jan. 6 = The Joan Bonvicini Coach's Show - 6-7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 9 = Arizona at Washington State - 7:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Saturday, Jan. 11 = Arizona at Washington - 8:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Monday, Jan. 13 = The Joan Bonvicini Coach's Show - 6-7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 16 = USC at Arizona - 6:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Saturday, Jan. 18 = UCLA at Arizona - 1:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Monday, Jan. 20 = The Joan Bonvicini Coach's Show - 6-7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 23 = Arizona at Arizona State - 5:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Sunday, Jan. 26 = Arizona at Wisconsin - 12:00 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Monday, Jan. 27 = The Joan Bonvicini Coach's Show - 6-7 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 30 = Arizona at Oregon State = 7:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Saturday, Feb. 1 = Arizona at Oregon = 12:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up