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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Injuries plague Cats as they host New Mexico

    Beatrice Bofia
    Beatrice Bofia

    This year’s version of the Arizona women’s basketball team has been healthier than last year’s squad so far, and its 5-3 record is an indication of the good health that has made it a stronger club than last year’s 8-22 squad to this point.

    But this year’s Wildcats have been injury-riddled of late, as center Beatrice Bofia learned last week she will miss the entire season after she tore an anterior cruciate ligament during warmups of the Red-Blue Game Nov. 1 and will thus apply for a medical redshirt.

    “”What you do with that redshirt year can really help you if you use it right,”” UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “”Even though you’re not playing, it can help you prepare to be better.””

    Bofia joins another medical redshirt, forward ChǸ Oh, and guards Jessica Arnold, who was knocked in the chin during practice last week, and Kelsey Burns, who has been battling sickness, on the list of banged-up Wildcats. Arnold and Burns are questionable for tonight.

    Also, forward Rheya Neabors injured her foot in Sunday’s game and is now in a protective boot. Team spokesman Julian Temblador said Neabors is probable for tonight’s game against No. 23 New Mexico at 7 in McKale Center.

    Redshirting has been a familiar deal for several Wildcats, including guard Joy Hollingsworth and center Shannon Hobson. Hollingsworth redshirted when she had to sit out a transfer year, leaving San Francisco for Arizona, and Hobson redshirted last year after undergoing back surgery.

    Bonvicini said that having an added year in college to sit on the bench is very helpful in the development of some players.

    “”I think Shannon is a much better player than she was as a sophomore,”” Bonvicini said of the junior. “”She watched, and she learned. You’ve got to get better by playing, but I think watching will help you grow too.””

    Despite the injury, Bofia is staying positive considering the circumstances.

    “”It’s OK,”” she said. “”It’s life. Stuff happens. I just have to think about it positively.””

    However, she expressed much frustration, especially because she got injured before she even officially stepped on the court in a Wildcat uniform.

    “”It was such a disappointment. It was during a warmup before the Red-Blue Game,”” Bofia said with much emotion. “”I was really focused in my mind about how I was going to play.””

    “”It was just so disappointing,”” she reiterated. “”I was so mad at myself, but after that, I’ve just been taking things positively.””

    Bofia is a 6-foot-7 junior college transfer from Illinois Central College, where last year she and her twin sister Suzy, also a center on the Arizona squad, led their team to a Division II junior college national championship.

    “”We’re definitely disappointed because we wanted to see Bea out there, especially since she made one of the top 10 plays (of the day) on the ESPN highlights,”” Hollingsworth said of a dunk in the Tucson Summer Pro League dunk contest that made SportsCenter. “”I probably wouldn’t even get on there unless I was behind her cheering while she dunked the ball.””

    Hollingsworth added that based on her own personal experience, the year off the court will help Bofia out immensely.

    “”She’s definitely disappointed, but using her redshirt year, she will get stronger,”” Hollingsworth said. “”You just get stronger. It’s more mental than it is physical.

    “”She will be able to watch the games from the sidelines and learn and see the way coaches coach the game of basketball. That will help her understand things better.””

    Bofia said she is now focused on having her surgery and that she wants to get better so she can get ready for next season.

    “”I want to get that out of the way,”” she said. “”After that’s over, I will (rehab) it twice a day, and I will get ready for next season.””

    Before the season started, Bofia said she was excited to continue her basketball career with her sister Suzy, but now that she has to apply for a medical redshirt, she is disappointed that their NCAA careers will now overlap by a year.

    “”It’s so frustrating,”” Bofia said. “”It’s hard, because now our playing years are all messed up. But in life, you just have to live day by day. That’s how I’m living now.””

    Bonvicini said on Sunday that Bofia may want her mother to come out for her surgery, and yesterday Bofia confirmed that belief.

    “”That would be a great thing if my mom could be here for my surgery,”” she said. “”If she was there, I wouldn’t have any pain. She’s very protective and good at taking care of me. There are so many good people here, but (my) mom is the best at taking care of me. If she came, it would be great for me to be with her, so when the team travels I can stay with her.””

    Despite being on a different schedule, Hollingsworth said the team still has to make Bofia feel like she is one of them.

    “”We’re a family, so we’re definitely lifting her up spiritually and mentally,”” Hollingsworth said. “”She’s still a part of this team as anybody playing or off the court is. She’s in our prayers.””

    As for tonight’s game, the Lobos (5-2) are expected to give the Wildcats more stiff competition before they head into conference play, as they are favored to win the Mountain West Conference in a Preseason Coaches’ Poll.

    “”New Mexico is an opponent we are very familiar with,”” Bonvicini said. “”We haven’t played them in a few years, but they are very well-coached.””

    “”It’s going to be a good battle,”” she added.

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