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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Top moments

    Football vs. Oregon, Nov. 15

    It was supposed to be an easy win for Oregon.

    The Ducks came in with an 8-1 record and a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Dennis Dixon, who led the charge for as long as he could before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and leaving the game in the first quarter.

    The Wildcats were in the spotlight, as the game was televised on ESPN’s “”Thursday Night Football.”” But that didn’t seem to matter. Arizona scored 31 points in the first half and held on for a 34-24 win.

    The win was arguably the sweetest one for the Wildcats since they defeated No. 1 Washington on Homecoming in 1993.

    Arizona’s star cornerback, Antoine Cason, who is now with the San Diego Chargers, was playing in his last game at Arizona Stadium. He scored two touchdowns – one on a 42-yard interception return and another on a 56-yard punt return.

    “”When I started running, I saw about six or seven blue jerseys,”” Cason said. “”I just kept running, Forrest Gump style.””

    The win set the Wildcats a win away from being bowl eligible with only ASU left on the regular schedule.

    “”I couldn’t ask for a better setting to go play ASU back in my hometown and having them being as good as they are this year,”” said Spencer Larsen, who recorded a game-high 16 tackles. “”We have had a lot of memorable games here, but this one was the best yet.””

    – Lance Madden

    Hoops vs. Texas A&M, Dec. 2

    The Arizona men’s basketball team trailed then-No. 9 Texas A&M 32-12 with 6:47 left in the first half in a game that looked similar to the Wildcats’ 92-64 blow-out loss against then-No. 4 North Carolina Jan. 27, 2007.

    But then freshman guard Jerryd Bayless took over a game for the first time in his collegiate career. Bayless scored nine of the team’s next 11 points on an array of jumpers and made the Wildcats believe they could win.

    That’s what happened as Arizona outscored the Aggies by 31 points the rest of the way to win, 78-67.

    “”Everybody stayed tight together, nobody got down on one another or started arguing with one another, and that was the key to the game,”” said guard Jawann McClellan.

    The game appeared to be a turning point in Arizona’s season after previously dropping close games to Virginia and eventual national champion Kansas. It ended up being the signature win during an early six-game winning streak, and the first of two home victories against a top-10 opponent.

    “”We knew that this was going to come,”” said forward Chase Budinger. “”We’ve been having close games against every big team we’ve been playing, but we haven’t really put it together at the end of the game, and we finally showed that this game.””

    – Michael Schwartz

    W-hoops down to 2 players in 2-OT loss at Oregon State, Jan. 3

    With injuries and off-the-court issues limiting the Wildcats to a six-player roster, Arizona found itself in the most unique of circumstances against conference-foe Oregon State. After two players fouled out in the final minutes of regulation, the Wildcats were headed to overtime with only four players on the court.

    Arizona held tough through the first extra period and managed to extend the game to double overtime. But after two more Wildcats fouled out with just over one minute to play, Arizona was left to finish the game with only two players on the floor. Arizona lost the game 94-88.

    “”Those things you hear about more in high school,”” said head coach Joan Bonvicini. “”You don’t practice those things, trust me.””

    – Bobby Stover

    Zona Zoo misbehaves

    Although Zona Zoo leaders aimed for the section to cheer with class, students did not always follow through this season.

    First, at the Feb. 16 home game against Stanford students chanted “”Fuck the refs”” after forward Jordan Hill’s fifth foul in eight minutes of game time in the second half alone.

    UA interim head coach Kevin O’Neill, known to say a cross word now and again, reprimanded the students for the chants heard by a regional ABC audience.

    “”We’d all like to say those things at different times, but I think we can give a better representation of ourselves than that,”” he said.

    O’Neill was also livid in the closing seconds of the Feb. 28 game against USC when a Zona Zoo member threw a water bottle that hit USC’s Dwight Lewis in the foot, possibly responding to the taunting of Trojan Davon Jefferson after a dunk.

    O’Neill ferociously grabbed the microphone and said to USC head coach Tim Floyd, “”Tim, I apologize to you and your team.””

    Added UA guard Jerryd Bayless: “”I don’t think that’s acceptable. I think we’re a school of higher class than that, and whoever threw the bottle or whatever was thrown definitely shouldn’t be doing that, so they’ve got to learn that’s not the way to do it.””

    – Michael Schwartz

    Softball forces a deciding game 3, June 5

    Danielle Rodriguez’s 21st birthday turned out to be extra special.

    With the No. 1 Arizona softball team facing elimination in the second game of the Women’s College World Series championship series last June, the junior second baseman scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning to propel the Wildcats to a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Tennessee.

    Pinch running for Sam Banister, Rodriguez stood ready at third base with one out when right fielder Adrienne Acton came up to bat. Acton slapped the ball on the ground and Rodriguez dove around the tag at the plate to nip the outside edge with her fingertips.

    “”Right when I got to third base, coach (Mike Candrea) told me, ‘If it is on the ground, you are going and you need to get the best jump of your life,'”” Rodriguez said. “”I knew that all game Adrienne was hitting the ball on the ground, so I was expecting her to do it again. I just tried to run as fast as I could.””

    The play broke the Wildcats’ 23-inning scoreless streak against Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (50-4) and sent the series to game three, where the Wildcats went on to win the national title.

    – Ari Wasserman

    Bayless’ 3-straight 30-point games, Feb. 10-16

    After sitting out for three games with a sprained knee, UA guard Jerryd Bayless dressed out for the men’s basketball team’s game at ASU. For the Phoenix native, playing would have been the ultimate thrill, but he didn’t play.

    When the Sun Devils came to McKale Center, Bayless exploded for 39 points. He scored 33 against California the next game and 31 against Stanford – making up for a nine-point outing against the Cardinal on the road – the next game. Bayless became the first Wildcat ever to tally three-straight 30-point games.

    – Lance Madden

    Soccer’s win over Texas, Sept. 9

    Coming into the weekend having recorded the “”biggest (soccer) upset in school history,”” according to its Web site, then-No. 4 Texas had just beaten No. 2 UCLA 2-1. The win propelled the Longhorns up four spots in the national rankings and giving them a sense of confidence that would surely break the Wildcats down quickly.

    Sunday came and the Longhorns struggled at Murphey Field, losing 2-0 to the Wildcats to give Arizona its third straight win. It was also the UA’s first win over a ranked opponent since 2005.

    – Lance Madden

    Dosty out for the season

    Whitney Dosty was the future of the UA volleyball team when she came in as a freshman. The 6-foot-3 outside hitter made an instant impact, averaging 3.39 kills per game and posing a career-high 29 kills against No. 24 Oregon – a Pac-10 season-high among all conference players – in an All-Pac-10 Freshman Team season.

    Then she went to play for the USA Junior National Team in July and things went awry, as the Tucson native tore the medial collateral ligament in her right knee. While favoring her right knee, Dosty developed tendonitis in her left knee and had to sit the season out.

    The Wildcats went 14-17 without Dosty, failing to make it to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year after they did so 10 years in a row before that.

    But Dosty was healthy enough to play in Arizona’s spring tournaments last month, showing that next season she’ll be more than ready.

    “”Originally, when they did the surgery they didn’t think she was going to be able to play until after the offseason,”” UA head coach Dave Rubio said. “”So we feel fortunate to have her back.””

    – Lance Madden

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