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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women’s hoops heads for Italy

    Tomorrow, the Arizona women’s basketball team will have an Italian dinner at head coach Joan Bonvicini’s house. But as she put it, they will eat much better Italian food during the next two weeks.

    The Wildcats take off for Milan, Italy, on Saturday to play five exhibition games against selected FIBA (International Basketball Association) teams.

    This will be Arizona’s fourth international trip under Bonvicini. The Wildcats visited Australia in 1997, Italy and France in 1993 and Italy in 2001. The university allows the team to take a summer trip overseas every four years, though the last one was six years ago.

    “”We’re very excited,”” Bonvicini said, adding later that “”The competition is good. … We’re playing pro teams. There’ll be some young kids, teenagers, but there’ll be a lot of players in their late 20s as well.””

    The Wildcats will play exhibition games in Milan on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. They will play the final two games May 22 and May 25.

    The excursion won’t include graduating senior players or incoming freshmen. Seniors Jessica Arnold and Beatrice Bofia also won’t play because of injuries, but they will still make the trip, Bonvicini said.

    Though the trip will provide “”good preparation for next season,”” it will also be educational off the court, she said.

    Each player has been assigned a topic to learn about during the trip. When the team is in Milan, Lake Como, Jesolo, Venice, Florence and Rome, the players will write blogs telling of their experiences and what they have learned. The blogs will be posted on arizonaathletics.com, along with pictures and game updates.

    One thing the team will experience is a ride on a large boat on Lake Como, Bonvicini said.

    “”On this big boat, you stop at different villages,”” Bonvicini said. “”Have you been to (Las) Vegas and seen the Bellagio? Well, the real Bellagio is a village on the lake. It’s not a hotel; it’s a village. It’s gorgeous.

    “”George Clooney has a villa in Lake Como, too, but we’re not very close,”” she joked.

    The team will also see Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Last Supper and the Duomo in Milan, one of the world’s largest cathedrals.

    Each player will have her topic to learn about, but with great food, sightseeing and playing basketball games against international professionals, the learning will come naturally.

    “”This is something they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives,”” Bonvicini said.

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