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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Women’s basketball back on court

    The Arizona women’s basketball team began practicing this weekend with a new understanding of winning and a clean slate in the standings.

    Although the Wildcats return five starters from an 11-21 finish last season, UA head coach Joan Bonvicini believes the team trip to Italy last May taught Arizona how to win again. Arizona finished with a perfect 5-0 record overseas during the two-week trip, May 12-26, feeding off momentum from a late-season surge.

    “”We’re hungry and ready to go,”” Bonvicini said after an intrasquad scrimmage yesterday morning.

    Arizona plays an exhibition game Nov. 5 against Vanguard, before starting the season with the WBCA Basketball Travelers Classic at University Park, Penn., on Nov. 9-11.

    With intentions of complementing the solid play of senior guards Ashley Whisonant and Jessica Arnold, Bonvicini will implement a new offense featuring a much-improved inside game with return of Beatrice Bofia.

    The 6-foot-7 Bofia received a medical redshirt last year after a season-ending knee injury suffered in the preseason Red-Blue game. Her return spurs more combinations and significant improvement down low with her ability to post up and upperclass leadership, Bonvicini said.

    “”When we get players with experience who understand what it means to play here … I don’t think you can measure that,”” Bonvicini said.

    From Dec. 18 to Jan. 27 last season, Arizona lost 11 of 12 games through the conference schedule. A persistent, never-give-up attitude, however, launched a successful final month of the season into a motivation for this year, Bonvicini said.

    “”Obviously we’re very disappointed with last season,”” Arnold said. “”But we got a lot of new faces, so we’re looking forward to seeing a lot of new people playing, and definitely competing in the Pac-10.””

    Whisonant averaged 11.9 points per game last season, only second behind the graduated Joy Hollingsworth’s 16.2 average. As for preseason goals, Whisonant aims to lead the team back on the winning track by focusing on rebounding and improving on defense, she said.

    Whisonant’s senior leadership is accompanied by Arnold, who said being together and learning to play as a team can translate into wins. A solid nucleus of five returning starters should help the three new freshman gain knowledge, she said.

    “”We want to get back into the NCAA tournament here, and in order to do that, we have to get better each day here,”” Bonvicini said.

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