O.K.- you sold me! This Arizona women's basketball team is for real. On Saturday, before a crowd of 5,096, the Wildcats put on one of the best shows in the history of the program. Anyone who walked into McKale Center that day, and wondered how good Arizona really is, must be convinced. Arizona is very good!
You see, not only did Arizona's young squad beat #8 Georgia, they clobbered them! Before the benches were emptied late in the second half, the Cats held a stunning 60-35 lead. This effort came against a team averaging well over 80 points per game. Here are the things that impressed me most:
1) Arizona's sometimes-sporadic defense was smothering. The Cats held the Bulldogs to just 35.2% from the floor and 20% beyond the arc. Arizona's changing defenses confused Georgia, and Joan Bonvicini finally has the depth she needs to stifle her opponents.
2) Shawntinice Polk is the real deal. Sure she scored only 10 points against the Dogs' big posts, but grabbed 17 rebounds. 17 rebounds! That's big time! Polkey is on her way to greatness.
3) Krista Warren is becoming a star. Krista is now the leader of the Wildcats. The senior from Cloverdale, Calif., put in another solid performance. She scored 12 points and had 9 rebounds. That's typical Krista.
4) Julie Brase is back. After a two-year sabbatical from being Julie Brase, Julie Brase is again Julie Brase! She does all of the little things. Her numbers against Georgia were outstanding: 6-8 from the field and 4-6 from trey land. Welcome back, Julie Brase!
I could go on and on about Saturday's performance. Dee-Dee Wheeler was outstanding again, as were Aimee Grzyb and Natalie Jones. All in all, it is the best performance I have seen from a Wildcat team in the 8 seasons that I have broadcast their games.
However, before we order tickets for the Final Four, the Cats still have some things to work on. They are getting very little production from their bench, and their free throw shooting has been dismal. Arizona needs another player or two to provide points, and it needs to improve from the foul line. If it can do these things, look out!
Arizona's next victim will be an undermanned UC Riverside team on Saturday at McKale Center. Then tough opponents await. Arizona will most likely play Illinois in the final of their tournament on Sunday and then must travel to Columbus, Ohio, to play a strong Ohio State ball club. After these games, we will know more. However, right now, Arizona just has to be one of the top 15 teams in the country. They are very good! O.K.- I'm sold!
See you on the radio!
Please join us all season long on AM 1330 KJLL with each game broadcast beginning one half-hour before tip-off. December's schedule includes:
- Saturday, December 7 - Arizona vs. UC Riverside = 3:00 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Sunday, December 8 - Arizona vs. Illinois/North Texas = 3:00 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Sunday, December 15 - Arizona at Ohio State = 11:30 a.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Wednesday, December 18 - Arizona vs. New Mexico = 6:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Sunday, December 22 - Arizona at UNLV = 5:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Friday, December 27 - Arizona at California = 7:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up
- Sunday, December 29 - Arizona at Stanford = 2:30 p.m. Wildcat Warm-up