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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats enter Wiggins’ world

    Stanford guard Candice Wiggins passes in the first half against Oregon during their NCAA basketball game in Stanford, Calif., Jan. 18. Wiggins injured her ankle and was out the past few games.
    Stanford guard Candice Wiggins passes in the first half against Oregon during their NCAA basketball game in Stanford, Calif., Jan. 18. Wiggins injured her ankle and was out the past few games.

    The No. 9 Stanford women’s basketball team is a train of momentum, and Candice Wiggins is the conductor.

    Arizona will try to knock the junior guard and her team off its track at 7 p.m. in McKale Center, but it won’t be easy, to say the least.

    Kicking off the second half of Pacific 10 Conference play, the Wildcats (7-14, 1-8 Pac-10) are on a four-game losing streak and have lost nine of their last 10.

    Stanford (16-3, 9-0), meanwhile, is riding a 14-game winning streak, thanks in no small part to its top player.

    Wiggins, a two-time All American and Pac-10 Player of the Year, is currently in the top 10 in the conference in six categories, including 3-pointers per game (second, 2.44), 3-point percentage (third, .419) and scoring (eighth, 15.3 points per game).

    But guard Ashley Whisonant said Stanford’s streak and ranking doesn’t faze Arizona in the least.

    “”You play the same way every game. You play hard no matter if you’re playing No. 1 or No. 2,000.””
    – Ashley Whisonant,
    junior UA guard

    “”You play the same way every game,”” she said. “”You play hard no matter if you’re playing No. 1 or No. 2,000.””

    Last season, Arizona lost to Stanford three times largely because of Wiggins, who UA head coach Joan Bonvicini called “”the best player in the conference.””

    In the Wildcats’ season-ending loss in last year’s Pac-10 tournament, Wiggins scored a game-high 16 points in only 25 minutes. She also poured in a Cardinal-high 24 points in the teams’ previous meeting Feb. 18.

    Whisonant said she knows what to expect from Wiggins after playing against her the last two seasons.

    “”She’s a good player, very quick,”” Whisonant said. “”But she’s stoppable.

    “”You always try to contain the best player on the team, but you must (also) go after the whole team,”” she added.

    Stanford leads the conference in seven categories, including points allowed per game (56.7), field-goal percentage allowed (.347) and rebounds (42.7).

    “”They’re an awesome team and deserve the respect, but you can’t go in being scared,”” said UA guard Jessica Arnold. “”We just have to focus on ourselves.””

    Arizona took a season-high 26 3-point shots in Saturday’s 76-73 loss to UCLA, making only eight.

    The Wildcats are last in the Pac-10 in 3-point percentage at 26 percent (89-of-340). To get out of their funk, the Wildcats will shoot a lot fewer 3s, Bonvicini said.

    “”We want to build on our post game and build on (center) Suzy (Bofia), too,”” Bonvicini said. “”I like when we utilize our post.””

    Wiggins and the Cardinal have had a winning mindset from the beginning of the season.

    “”This year is ‘The’ year because, in addition to great talent and coaching, we’ve got this unique energy that transforms into exceptional basketball,”” Wiggins wrote in her first online diary entry Nov. 21.

    Arizona will have its plate full as it tries to derail this train.

    “”They’re a great team, and it’s going to take a great effort,”” Bonvicini said.

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