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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Women start anew with Red-Blue Game

    Junior guard Ashley Whisonant drives to the basket against sophomore forward Whitney Fields during Saturdays scrimmage in McKale Center. The womens basketball team begins its season with the Red-Blue Game today at 7 p.m.
    Junior guard Ashley Whisonant drives to the basket against sophomore forward Whitney Fields during Saturday’s scrimmage in McKale Center. The women’s basketball team begins its season with the Red-Blue Game today at 7 p.m.

    Fans can catch a first glimpse of this year’s Arizona women’s basketball team in the annual Red-Blue Game tonight at 7 in McKale Center.

    UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said that all players are on board for the kickoff, with the exception of forward Ché Oh, who will likely miss the entire season as a medical redshirt.

    “”I’m looking forward to the Red-Blue Game and seeing how well we perform in uniforms with the crowd and everything,”” Bonvicini said, “”but I’m really looking forward to when we play someone else, and then we can actually see us against another team.””

    The game will likely open with the format of upperclassmen against underclassmen, Bonvicini said, and throughout the game, the coaching staff will rotate teams and have players change uniforms.

    In past Red-Blue games, men from the practice squad would round out a whole team and play against the women, but Bonvicini will steer away from her usual practice routine by using no more than three men on the floor at one time. She said nine women will play on one squad and five on the other with the guys, and some players will likely switch teams.

    Bonvicini has five new players on her roster, including two sets of twins, forwards Rheya and Rhaya Neabors and centers Beatrice and Suzy Bofia. The new class is rounded out by Marie McGee, a freshman guard.

    Bonvicini said the new-look team is slowly progressing as the season wears on.

    “”I think we’re starting to gel,”” Bonvicini said after a scrimmage Saturday. “”We’re understanding combinations better with people playing together. I think we’re getting better, but there’s still a lot to improve on.””

    Guard Joy Hollingsworth, one of two seniors on the roster, is excited to start competing in front of a crowd and playing meaningful games.

    “”We just can’t wait to get out there,”” Hollingsworth said at Media Day Oct. 25. “”We’ve been practicing for about a week now, and we just can’t wait to start playing.””

    Although the players are eager for any competition, Hollingsworth said even in practice the team has more competitiveness than last year after some added depth.

    “”The competition is every day,”” Hollingsworth said. “”Every day in practice, we’ve got competition. …You’re always fighting for your job.””

    Guard Ashley Whisonant said the whole team has a lot of confidence, “”but it’s hard to think about confidence because we haven’t really done anything yet.””

    Bonvicini said that so far in the young season, it’s difficult to make an impression of how well the Wildcats – who were picked to finish seventh in the Pacific 10 Conference in a Preseason Coaches Poll – will play against other teams after only playing against their own team and men on the practice squad.

    “”The hard thing is when you play each other, usually one team is doing something well – that means the other team isn’t,”” Bonvicini said. “”But we’re starting to see our combinations work. They understand the offense better. We’re getting better, that’s the big thing.

    “”Sometimes you have to cheat a little bit because you know the other team’s strengths and weaknesses, but that’s how it is in a game.

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