In two weeks we will know if the Arizona women's basketball team is truly a contender for the Pac-10 title in 2002-03. We will know because, in order to finish first, you have to win big games on the road, and that's where the Cats will spend the majority of their time in the next 10 days.
The grueling schedule begins at ASU on Thursday night. The team will travel to Phoenix on Wednesday to take part in an alumni function and then play the Sun Devils on Thursday night at 6 p.m. This game promises to be very physical. The Devils come at you hard, and they play what might be called "hack ball." So, the Cats will get a real test at Wells Fargo Arena this week.
Friday morning will bring an early wake-up call and a flight to the icy "tundra" of Madison, Wisconsin. The Wildcats will have one day's rest before taking on the Badgers on Sunday afternoon. Wisconsin is one of the top women's basketball draws in the country, and Arizona will be facing a crowd that will probably be at least 7,000 strong. After a slow start, the Badgers themselves have begun to wake up, getting a huge win over Illinois over the weekend. This will be a very tough game, but the kind of game that champions find a way to win. Immediately following this contest, the team will be back on a plane and will arrive back in Tucson in the early hours of Monday morning.
There will not be much time to rest. On Wednesday afternoon (Jan. 29), the team will board a flight for Oregon, where they will play in two of the toughest Pac-10 venues. On Thursday night, Jan. 30, the Cats will battle Oregon State, which is very good at home. Then, on Saturday (Feb. 1), it's on to Eugene to play a struggling Oregon squad that is capable of beating anyone at any time. In fact, this injury-plagued bunch took Stanford to the wire and lost by just one point. Again, these are the games that champions win.
The Wildcats finally return home on Thursday, Feb. 6, to play Washington. By then, we will know if Arizona is a serious contender.
On her coach's show Monday night, Coach Bonvicini made this comment, "We have shown that we can beat great teams at home, but to win a conference championship, you have to do that on the road. That is what we still have to prove."
So true! The Wildcats must now become tough mentally and physically as the road awaits. So, hang on, listen to each game on the radio, and then in two weeks, we will know if this team will have a chance to win the Pac-10.
See you on the radio!
Upcoming broadcasts of Arizona women's basketball on KJLL radio include:
Thursday, Jan. 23 = Arizona at Arizona State, 5:30 p.m. for Wildcat Warm-up
Sunday, Jan. 26 = Arizona at Wisconsin, 12 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