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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Women’s basketball tries for first conference win streak since 2004-05 season vs. Ducks

    Arizona center Suzy Bofia shoots over ASUs Kayli Murphy during the Sun Devils 89-62 win over the Wildcats Dec. 22 in Tempe. The Wildcats are looking for their first two-game conference winning streak since the 2004-05 season.
    Arizona center Suzy Bofia shoots over ASU’s Kayli Murphy during the Sun Devils’ 89-62 win over the Wildcats Dec. 22 in Tempe. The Wildcats are looking for their first two-game conference winning streak since the 2004-05 season.

    Last season, the Arizona women’s basketball team entered the Pacific 10 Conference tournament as the No. 9 seed in San Jose facing the No. 8-seeded Oregon Ducks.

    Not much was expected of them, but the Wildcats came out 64-57 winners.

    Tonight in Eugene, Ore., the Ducks (9-5, 1-3 Pac-10) will be in search of payback.

    “”I definitely think they’re looking for revenge,”” said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. “”I also think they’re just looking to get a win.””

    Arizona (7-10, 1-4) is also looking to start its winning ways again after recently breaking a five-game losing streak with last Saturday’s 59-57 win over Washington State.

    The Wildcats have yet to have even a two-game winning streak in conference since the 2004-05 season.

    “”(The win) definitely helped our confidence,”” said Bonvicini, who is two wins away from becoming the 18th coach in NCAA history with 600 career wins. “”We hadn’t had one in a while. It’s just been tough. Even though it wasn’t pretty, just to win was big for us.””

    Arizona came back from an eight-point halftime deficit and barely squeezed by the Cougars despite missing 10 free throws in the last minute.

    “”I think snapping that five-game win streak was a huge confidence boost,”” said senior guard Joy Hollingsworth. “”We had been down on ourselves but we have played the top four teams in the Pac-10 already. I think the scheduling has been kind of hard this year, but it works to our advantage because our confidence is back.””

    The Wildcats have also had a lot of trouble staying healthy so far. Freshman forward Rheya Neabors has been out for over a month with a stress fracture in her foot, and center Beatrice Bofia is missing the entire season with a torn ACL.

    “”We lost Rheya, and we’ve had trouble winning ever since,”” Bonvicini said. “”But to get a win was very important, and that will help us for this weekend.””

    The longest winning streak the Wildcats have had was a three-game stretch in November before conference play opened.

    The team had a winning record (6-5) before the semester ended, but with a game against Fresno State and the conference powerhouses No. 11 ASU, No. 10 Stanford and No. 22 California, the Wildcats have cooled off at the wrong time. Seven of their losses have come against opponents ranked at the time.

    “”In order to win in the Pac-10, you have to have good players and really play well together,”” Bonvicini said. “”You have to have a good inside game and good rebounding, but more than anything, you have to be versatile to adjust to the different styles of play. For us, we were struggling ever since Rheya went down.””

    Including the tournament, Arizona won two of its three meetings with Oregon last season, and eight of the last 10. But the Wildcats have not fared well in Eugene, where Arizona’s only losses occurred. The Wildcats lost by an average of 19 points in those meetings.

    “”They haven’t played nearly as tough a schedule as we have,”” Bonvicini said of the Ducks, “”but they’re at home and they have good size up front and they have good shooters.””

    Oregon is also trying to get back to its winning ways. The Ducks have lost two straight, with games against the Los Angeles schools last weekend, and find themselves in a similar bind that the Wildcats are in, trying to move up in the conference standings.

    Oregon currently is tied for sixth place and Arizona is right behind at seventh.

    “”We really have to get these two wins and come back and play at home again,”” said guard Jessica Arnold. “”We’re both in a position to move up in the Pac-10 with a win.””

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