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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cats wallop Nicholls St.

    Guard Joy Hollingsworth goes up for a layup in Arizonas 83-41 win over Nicholls State last night in McKale Center. Hollingsworth recorded the second-most points (12) and rebounds (eight) for Arizona.
    Guard Joy Hollingsworth goes up for a layup in Arizona’s 83-41 win over Nicholls State last night in McKale Center. Hollingsworth recorded the second-most points (12) and rebounds (eight) for Arizona.

    The Arizona women’s basketball team officially began its season with an 83-41 win last night, as they pounced on Nicholls State early and often.

    The theme of the Wildcat offense throughout the game was its aggressiveness and physicality. They took advantage of a depleted Colonels roster, which only had two bench players available.

    “”I thought defensively (Nicholls State) was pretty good and pretty aggressive,”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. “”We made some adjustments at halftime, particularly trying to take care of the ball better. But I was pleased with our aggressiveness.””

    In fact, the team was so physical on the floor that center Suzy Bofia accidentally elbowed her teammate, forward Amina Njonkou, in the nose while taking a shot.

    Njonkou was forced to leave the game, but she will be cleared to play in this weekend’s BTI Classic in Maryland.

    She finished with a double-double, leading the team in both points and rebounds with 17 and 11, respectively, in just 19 minutes.

    “”(Amina) is just a completely different player this year,”” Bonvicini said.

    Arizona led 42-16 at the half, shot 34-for-76 overall and had 56 team rebounds and 21 team assists.

    The Wildcats had five players finish with double digits in points. Guard Joy Hollingsworth finished second in scoring with 12 to go along with eight rebounds, and guard Jessica Arnold hit 3-of-6 3-pointers on her 11-point night.

    “”I can be a better leader out on the floor,”” Hollingsworth said. “”I want to be an extension of coach. That’s something I’m trying to get better at.””

    Guard Ashley Whisonant did not start and got only 10 minutes of playing time after she suffered a concussion Nov. 8 in practice. She is expected to be at full strength by the weekend, but Bonvicini may end up ruling her out.

    On the other side of the ball, the Colonels didn’t do much offensively or defensively. Only two players scored double digits in points, and the team only had 22 total rebounds. Perhaps the statistic that showed the biggest disparity between the two teams was the Colonels field goals, shooting 13-for-44 (29.5 percent). But the team did finish 14-for-22 (63.6 percent) at the free-throw line, better than Arizona’s 11-for-20 (55 percent).

    Bofia was only 3-for-9 (33 percent) in that category, which caused some concern because she draws the bulk of the fouls.

    “”I thought we played OK – it wasn’t great, but I have seen us play a lot sharper,”” Bonvicini said. “”We missed some easy shots around the basket and had some early turnovers, but I attribute that to first-game jitters. We just want to clean up some things defensively and execute a little better offensively.””

    Njonkou expressed similar thoughts on the team’s performance.

    “”We didn’t play very well,”” she said. “”We have some areas we have to work on. Our defense has to get better before we play teams like (No. 1) Maryland …but we came out with a win, so that’s good. We’ll take a win no matter how we get it.””

    Hollingsworth was pleased with the outcome of the game, and she is already looking forward to the first road trip of the year, which includes a contest at defending national champion Maryland.

    “”I thought our intensity was good throughout the game,”” Hollingsworth said. “”I think we got our first-game jitters out. We need to continue to play with more intensity because we are going to play better teams.””

    Team to meet McCain, tour Capitol

    The Wildcats leave today for Baltimore, where they will play their first road games of the year. Tomorrow, they will take a brief tour of the Capitol and visit with 2008 presidential hopeful and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

    “”He’s obviously a very influential senator,”” Bonvicini said. “”We’re proud and excited to represent the university and meet him.””

    Said Hollingsworth: “”He could be the future president, so I might be shaking hands with a future president. If not, well, that’s OK.””

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