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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Women’s hoops assists off the court

    Members of Arizonas womens basketball team, sophomore Malia ONeal, left, freshmen Rhaya Neabors, Rheya Neabors and Marie McGee, sophomore Whitney Fields and junior Ashley Whisonant, lay the paint on thick as part of Habitat for Humanitys Women Build Day.
    Members of Arizona’s women’s basketball team, sophomore Malia O’Neal, left, freshmen Rhaya Neabors, Rheya Neabors and Marie McGee, sophomore Whitney Fields and junior Ashley Whisonant, lay the paint on thick as part of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Day.

    Instead of nailing shots, members of the Arizona women’s basketball team hammered nails as a part of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build Day Saturday afternoon.

    “”We love doing community service, and Habitat for Humanity does so many things,”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. “”I think it gives people hope to know that they can finally have their own home.””

    The group – consisting of coaches and players, past and present – took part in the second shift of the day, with a portion of the team painting the exterior of houses while others hammered styrofoam in place to prepare additional houses for stucco cement siding.

    “”I really wanted to come and do this,”” guard Jessica Arnold said of working on the houses, which are built for low-income families. “”I’m going to come out here more often.””

    “”I’ve never done anything like this,”” she added. “”I mean, I’ve done a lot of community service and all that stuff, but never built a house. You always see people doing it, and it’s cool.””

    And though the group was inexperienced – “”This is the first time I’ve ever been on a construction site,”” Arnold said – that was half the fun.

    “”You know that what you’re doing is helping out other people, and it’s kind of fun anyways,”” said guard Kelsey Burns. “”I mean, how many times do you get to say you helped build a house?””

    Even as they were put to work for Habitat for Humanity’s housing development at North Balboa Avenua and West Laguna Street, the Wildcats found a way to enjoy themselves, singing songs – Snow White’s “”Hi-Ho”” was a popular choice – and turning their paint brushes against one another.

    “”Man, if we had to build the houses from the ground, they’d probably fall apart,”” guard Joy Hollingsworth said. “”So I’m glad they just stuck us to the hammer and the nails.””

    Beatrice and Suzy Bofia, the 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-6 centerpieces in Bonvicini’s recruiting class for this season, had an immediate impact.

    “”Suzy and Beatrice don’t need a ladder as much as everyone else,”” Bonvicini said, smiling.

    But that didn’t stop the twins from taking a kind-hearted panning from Hollingsworth.

    “”They do (have the height), but they’re a little suspect,”” Hollingsworth said, her sarcasm thick as she gestured toward Suzy Bofia, who was positioning syrofoam on the side of one of the houses. “”You see Suzy over there, what is she doing right now? She isn’t even supposed to put it like that. She’s got it upside down.””

    “”Hey Suzy, they’ve got to go the other way, remember?”” Hollingsworth yelled before bursting into a laugh as Bofia flipped the foam around. “”No, all the lines have to be the same.””

    Bofia eventually got it right, much to the delight of Hollingsworth.

    “”There you go,”” she said, grinning.

    It was a moment Bonvicini was hoping for, as she stressed the event’s importance as a source of team chemistry.

    “”One of the things we always talk about is team building, and we’re a very, very close team,”” she said, “”but I think this is a great team-building project.””

    In the end, however, the day was about more than basketball.

    “”It’s something the players will always remember,”” Bonvicini said. “”My role as a coach is obviously to teach basketball skills, but I also want to teach life skills, so I’m really pleased we were able to do this.””

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