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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women open Pac-10 tournament tonight

    Arizona guard Joy Hollingsworth tries to avoid ASUs Jill Noe during the Wildcats 59-54 loss to the Sun Devils Feb. 24 at McKale Center. Hollingsworth faces what may be her last game in Arizona red and blue at the Pac-10 Confernce tournament tonight against Oregon State.
    Arizona guard Joy Hollingsworth tries to avoid ASU’s Jill Noe during the Wildcats’ 59-54 loss to the Sun Devils Feb. 24 at McKale Center. Hollingsworth faces what may be her last game in Arizona red and blue at the Pac-10 Confernce tournament tonight against Oregon State.

    The Arizona women’s basketball team knows that when they take the court tonight in San Jose, Calif., against No. 8 seed Oregon State, it could very well be the last time they do all season.

    But they’re not acting like it.

    “”I already have the mindset that it’s not going to be my last game,”” said senior guard Joy Hollingsworth. “”I don’t even think about it being my last game or playing my last game in an Arizona uniform.

    “”I think you’ve got to have that mindset that we are going to play on Saturday,”” she added. “”Not to be cocky or anything, but confidence-wise, that’s where we’re at.””

    At the start of the Pacific 10 Conference tournament tonight, the Wildcats (10-20, 4-14 Pac-10) will have a No. 9 seed for the second year in a row, and if they advance, will go on to play No. 1 seed Stanford tomorrow.

    Stanford, who would already own something of a home-court advantage in the Bay Area, is also the No. 7 team in the country and beat Arizona by an average of 19 points in two games this season.

    “”If you look at our record as 10-20 and 4-14 in the Pac-10, you would think, ‘That team is horrible,’ but we know our season (record) is not a reflection of how we’ve been playing,”” Hollingsworth said. “”Lately we’ve been peaking at the right time. I just have a good feeling about (tonight).””

    The Wildcats split with the Beavers (9-18, 4-14) this year, losing in Corvallis, Ore., and winning in Tucson.

    Playing in a neutral site, UA head coach Joan Bonvicini expects the intensity level to rise for both teams.

    “”I think there’s a great deal of motivation for both teams,”” she said.

    OSU has the Pac-10’s leading scorer in Casey Nash, who is averaging 20.3 points per game and dropped 27 and 15 points in the two meetings with Arizona.

    The Beavers, however, have been plagued with a lack of depth all season.

    In the first matchup between the teams Jan. 13, OSU coach LaVonda Wagner kept four starters in for the entire 40 minutes, and in the second match up Feb. 8, she had three players in for the whole game, sitting guard Ashley Allen for only three minutes.

    “”They’re smart, but they’re not deep,”” Bonvicini said. “”But the depth doesn’t make a difference, because right now it’s only a one-game tournament.””

    The Beavers lost eight straight games before they beat Pac-10 cellar-dwelling Washington State last weekend. The Wildcats are coming off a close loss (59-54) to ASU, ranked No. 9 nationally, which the team says built their confidence even more.

    “”We have the same mindset,”” guard Ashley Whisonant said. “”Against Oregon State, we’re going to have the same game plan: run our offense, play good defense and come out with a win.””

    Bonvicini installed a new “”shuffle offense”” before the ASU game, featuring more back-door cuts and curls. Since it seemed to work well Saturday, the team is planning on using it throughout the Pac-10 tournament.

    “”I feel like we can beat anybody,”” Whisonant said. “”After Oregon State, if we win, we’re going to have to play the No. 1 team in the Pac-10, but we still think we can compete with anybody.””

    Whisonant said she didn’t necessarily want to label the team right now as a potential “”spoiler.””

    “”We’re playing the role of the underdog who wants to surprise people,”” she said. “”We do want to upset people – not to spoil their day, but to make ours.””

    Bonvicini didn’t want to label her team as anything, but said for the team to advance, it has to look at the game in a different light than regular season games.

    “”You don’t want your season to end,”” she said. “”You’re motivated to keep going. That’s what we want to do. We want to keep going, but you have to treat it like it has the potential to be your last game.””

    And 1

    Hollingsworth, who is averaging 16.4 points per game, received All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention honors yesterday. It is the first All-Pac-10 award for the senior.

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