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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Seniors say bye to McKale

    UA redshirt senior guard Joy Hollingsworth drives to the hoop during Arizonas 89-62 loss at No. 10 ASU Dec. 22. Hollingsworth and fellow senior guard Linda Pace will be honored as part of Senior Day ceremonies after the Wildcats play ASU Saturday at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.
    UA redshirt senior guard Joy Hollingsworth drives to the hoop during Arizona’s 89-62 loss at No. 10 ASU Dec. 22. Hollingsworth and fellow senior guard Linda Pace will be honored as part of Senior Day ceremonies after the Wildcats play ASU Saturday at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.

    Guards Linda Pace and Joy Hollingsworth play in McKale Center for the last time tomorrow at 2 p.m., and the two will be honored for their work on and off the court, which has made them so beloved within the Arizona women’s basketball program.

    As they looked back on their careers at Arizona (10-19, 4-13 Pacific 10 Conference) before Senior Day against No. 10 ASU (25-3, 15-2), they remembered the pride, joy and sadness that filled their lives the last four and three years, respectively.

    “”It has gone by so fast,”” Pace said. “”I can’t believe Senior Day is already here. I remember it like yesterday when I was a freshman. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.””

    Pace will be full of emotion, as her father from San Diego will be in attendance for his first game since her freshman year.

    “”It will be a tribute to him,”” she said.

    It might also be a tribute to Pace’s mother, who died when she was a senior in high school.

    “”I think she had a very tough tragedy when her mom passed away,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”Her mom was her inspiration and really was the one who taught her to value education.””

    Pace and Hollingsworth also endured tragedy last season when center Shawntinice Polk unexpectedly died, leaving the team searching for answers.

    Bonvicini said Pace was inspirational in helping the team heal mentally.

    “”Learning from her mom, I think the thing she learned was, the best thing to do was to stay together,”” Bonvicini said. “”She’s done a great job keeping the team together and being a great role model. It’s been a great pleasure coaching her.””

    For Hollingsworth, the team will also be paying tribute to a player who has been the personality of the team for the last three years.

    Even when she was a redshirt in 2004-05, after transferring from San Francisco, she won the team’s award for most inspirational player.

    “”She has such a great attitude,”” Bonvicini said. “”Great scorer, great leader. She’s a very, very popular player. My only disappointment about coaching Joy is that I didn’t coach her for four years.””

    Hollingsworth recalled a memory of her redshirt season when a collision with Pace led to a broken hand for Hollingsworth. Bonvicini said the team still teases Pace for it.

    “”We were on the left side of the wing, and I was guarding her,”” Hollingsworth said. “”She came ripping through, and I stuck my hand out. She hit my elbow, and my hand popped. Now my fingers look like the guy from ‘Star Trek.'””

    Pace has seen the program in its best times and in its worst times in her time at Arizona. In her first two years, her teams went to the NCAA Tournament, as well as achieved a Pac-10 championship.

    In her final two years, she has witnessed the team drop to the bottom of the conference. She does, however, see the program starting to rebound.

    “”The first two years were filled with glory, as far as the NCAA Tournament and winning and everything, but the past two years have kind of been a rough roll,”” Pace said. “”I’ve still enjoyed my time here. I have learned a lot and it has been a great experience.””

    Hollingsworth has seen the Wildcats go to an NCAA Tournament, but she has not played on a winning squad. In her two seasons, the team is 18-41.

    “”Having all these memories is really sad,”” Hollingsworth said. “”You just think about all the old days and you just wish you could go back to that moment in time, but you can’t.””

    Arizona will be facing off against an ASU team that is having one of its best years ever.

    The last time the two teams met, in December, ASU pounded the Wildcats 89-62.

    “”I think there are absolutely different expectations,”” Bonvicini said. “”It’s our final home game and final game for the seniors. We’ve had good games, we’ve had bad games, but this is a rivalry game and it’s all about putting it all out on the line.””

    Pace said she will continue to attend games after her eligibility is expired, as she still has a year left before she graduates.

    “”I’ll always be an Arizona Wildcat,”” she said. “”I will definitely miss that team atmosphere every day. It’s like a sisterhood. You’re constantly around people. Even though sometimes you might get tired of it, you always know you have that back there.

    “”It would be nice to win on Senior Night. That would be the defining moment of the year.””

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