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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Sebastian goes to L.A.

    Junior guard Ashley Whisonant doesnt ever leave her monkey, Sebastian. The stuffed animal will accompany the Wildcats on their road trip to Los Angeles and continue to serve as the teams unofficial mascot when they take on UCLA at Pauley Pavilion tonight at 8.
    Junior guard Ashley Whisonant doesn’t ever leave her monkey, Sebastian. The stuffed animal will accompany the Wildcats on their road trip to Los Angeles and continue to serve as the team’s unofficial mascot when they take on UCLA at Pauley Pavilion tonight at 8.

    Guard Ashley Whisonant just can’t get that monkey off her back. In fact, she can’t live without him.

    Whisonant received her monkey, Sebastian, as a gift from one of her best friends who made it through a Build-a-Bear Workshop before college. Now she says Sebastian is her best friend.

    “”That’s my little homie,”” Whisonant said. “”Everybody’s friends with him; he’s cool. He’s like a real person to me.””

    Tonight the Arizona women’s basketball team (9-18, 3-12 Pacific 10 Conference) will take on UCLA in Los Angeles, and oh yeah, Sebastian will be there, too. The team is hoping he brings much-needed good luck.

    It is the team’s last Pac-10 road trip of the season. It also plays USC in their new arena Saturday afternoon.

    Sebastian has been a sort of mascot aside from Wilbur for Arizona since Whisonant’s arrival at the UA in 2004.

    The team dresses him up in jeans, a hooded sweatshirt and baby Nike shoes.

    “”One time he was wearing these sunglasses, and he looked like the Unabomber,”” said guard Joy Hollingsworth. “”He looked crazy in that sweatshirt.””

    Sebastian is a good luck charm for the team and helps keep them in good spirits, Hollingsworth said. Whisonant said she takes him everywhere she goes, including on all the team’s road trips.

    “”Especially if I’m traveling by myself, I like to take him,”” she said. “”He’s my best friend from home.””

    Said Hollingsworth: “”We like having Sebastian around. It’s like having a little puppet with us on the road. We’re obviously not allowed to take real cats or dogs with us, so we have our monkey, Sebastian.””

    Last time Arizona played the Bruins, Sebastian’s luck was of little help and UCLA (13-13, 7-7) won a 76-73 nail-biter. UCLA owns a 39-18 advantage all-time and has won the last three matchups. However, Arizona has won seven of the last 12 games in the series.

    “”They’re a good team, but we competed well against them last time,”” Whisonant said. “”I think we have a good chance of winning.””

    The Bruins are led by senior Noelle Quinn, who averages 16.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. Lindsey Pluimer also adds 15.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. In the last meeting, each player dropped 23 points on the Wildcats.

    “”We just have to try and slow them down,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”Noelle is one of the premier players in the country. She’s very versatile.””

    If the Wildcats want to play on the second day of the Pac-10 Tournament, they will need a higher seed. A win tonight could help the team accomplish that goal.

    The Wildcats are looking for their third-straight Thursday Pac-10 win.

    “”Anytime we go to L.A., these are always big games,”” Bonvicini said. “”The regular season is winding down, and we’re planning for a seed in the tournament, and we’re also playing the role of the spoiler.””

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