Women's Basketball Squad Heads For Italy

May 16, 2001

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team departs on Friday, May 18, for a 16-day tour of Italy. The Wildcats have a five-game schedule which will take them from Venice, through Milan and Florence, and south to Rome. The Cats will face Italian club teams while there, and may add a sixth game to their schedule.

THE PRECEDENT: Head coach Joan Bonvicini is making these overseas visits a habit for the Wildcats, so this isn't the program's first visit to Italy. Most recently, the Cats did an 18-day, eight-game tour of eastern Australia at the end of the 1996-97 school year. In 1993, Bonvicini took the Cats on a 13-day, six-game tour of Italy and France. That trip was the first of its kind by a women's team at the UA. Teams are permitted to travel overseas once every four years.

Arizona Women's Basketball Italy Tour 2001 Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown/High School
4 Candice Allen G 5-10 Fr. Ontario, CA/Ayala
13 Aimee Grzyb G 5-7 Fr. San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty
14 Jen Chesney G 6-0 Fr. Newberg, OR/Newberg
20 Julie Brase G 5-9 Jr. Tucson, AZ/Catalina Foothills
22 Veranda James F 6-4 Fr. Pomona, CA/Ganesha
35 Krista Warren F/G 6-2 So.# Cloverdale, CA/Cloverdale
45 Elizabeth Pickney F 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX/Alief Hastings
50 LaKeisha Taylor C 6-4 Jr. Houston, TX/Madison

# Injured -- travelling but will not play

Head Coach: Joan Bonvicini (Southern Connecticut, '75)
Assoc. Head Coach: Denise Dove Ianello
Assistant Coaches: Karen Caires, Curtis Loyd

WHO'S GOING: All of the players listed on the above roster will be making the trip. The group includes eight players, although only seven will be able to play.

After having wrist surgery, junior guard Julie Brase missed the entire 2000-01 season, but she will be able to play during the Italy tour.

Sophomore wing Krista Warren will travel with the team but cannot play because she is recovering from surgery after tearing her ACL on Mar. 3.

A group of support staff members will also make the trip, including the coaches, a student manager, an athletic trainer, senior associate athletics director Kathleen 'Rocky' LaRose and team doctor Don Porter.

HOW TO FOLLOW THE CATS: Throughout the trip, team activity updates and game reports will be posted on the Wildcats' web site, www.arizcats.com.

Freshman forward Veranda James will also be doing a trip 'diary' for the Arizona Daily Star every three or four days beginning May 18.

2000-01 IN REVIEW: Arizona certainly saw its share of ups and downs during the 2000-01 season. The Cats started the year with a short squad of 12 players, only two of whom were starters at the end of the 2000 season. Through a variety of injuries, player departures and academic issues, the Wildcat roster was decimated, and the team was down to only eight active players by season's end.

Despite all the distractions and the prevailing inexperience of this year's squad, the Wildcats finished the year with a 20-12 overall record, their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. They were 9-9 in Pac-10 play and finished in fifth place, their lowest finish since 1995.

There certainly were 'ups' to go with the 'downs', however. The Wildcats wrapped up regular-season non-conference play with a 10-2 mark. Their only two losses were to eventual national champion Notre Dame and to Auburn, which were ranked fifth and ninth, respectively, at the time the UA played them.

With their 14-2 start to the year, the Wildcats tied the 2000 team for the best record ever through the first 16 games of the season. The Cats' 4-0 start in Pac-10 play this year was also their best start ever in conference action.

The Cats struggled down the stretch, losing 10 out of their final 16 games of the season and, for the first time since the 1990-91 season, dropping each of their final eight road games.

For the first time since 1996, Arizona failed to earn an NCAA tournament berth, but it did receive a Women's National Invitation Tournament slot. The Wildcats downed Pepperdine, 85-65, in the first round of the WNIT but fell, 75-62, at New Mexico in the second round to end their season. The WNIT berth gave the Wildcats their sixth straight postseason appearance, the third-longest active postseason streak in the Pac-10.

The team set or tied 39 school records this year, including most home victories (15), most points scored in a season (2,521) and highest single season scoring average (78.8 ppg).

Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring offense (78.8 ppg), scoring margin (+9.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.470) and assists (16.59 apg).

ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney ended the season as the Cats' leading scorer, with 16.4 ppg, and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). Senior guard Reshea Bristol was second in scoring, with 15.6 ppg, and ended the year as the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.56 apg).

Despite missing 11 contests through the year, freshman forward Veranda James was still the team's third-leading scorer, averaging 13.1 points per game. She also had the team's top rebounding average, at 8.2 per game.

Junior center LaKeisha Taylor (9.5 ppg) and sophomore wing Krista Warren (9.3 ppg) were fourth and fifth, respectively, in scoring. Warren was the team's third-leading rebounder, averaging 5.4 rpg.

WHAT'S UP NEXT: After returning from Italy on June 2, the Wildcats will have only two months of 'down time' before they have to hit the books again on Aug. 20. The Cats are currently scheduled to open the 2001-02 season on Tuesday, Oct. 30, with the annual Red & Blue Game.

HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: In her 10th year at the helm of the Arizona women's basketball program, head coach Joan Bonvicini has collected an unparalleled list of accomplishments, both for the university and for her career.

Bonvicini has posted a 179-117 (.605) mark in 10 seasons at Arizona and has more wins at the UA than all six of the previous Wildcat coaches combined. In 22 years as a collegiate head coach, Bonvicini has a 504-188 (.728) career record. She also has a 23-14 mark in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 14 appearances.

Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach two years ago, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1991) just wrapped up her ninth year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Third-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players, assists with scouting and recruiting and directs the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp. In his second year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players.

CATS ADD LATE SIGNEE: The Wildcats have inked Katrina Lindner this week during the late signing period. Lindner is a 5-7 combination guard from Adelaide, South Australia. She is one of five new players who will join the Cats for the 2001-02 season.

WILDCAT SENIOR DRAFTED BY WNBA: On April 20, senior guard Reshea Bristol was taken in the 2001 WNBA draft by the Charlotte Sting in the fourth round as the 50th overall pick. She is only the second Arizona player ever to be drafted by the WNBA.

CATS SET NEW BLOCKS RECORD: With 102 blocked shots this year, the Wildcats smashed the old school record of 88 previously held by the 1998-99 squad.

DOUBLING UP: The Wildcats collected a total of 21 double-doubles this season, the program's highest double-double total since the 1995-96 team tallied 21. Of Arizona's 21 double-doubles this year, eight belonged to guard Reshea Bristol, and all of hers were points-assists double-doubles. Six different Wildcats logged double-doubles this year.

SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT: The Wildcats shot 50 percent or better from the floor in nine of their last 18 games of the season. In the nine games that they shot 50 percent or better, Arizona's record was 7-2.

MUSICAL LINEUPS: Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini used 11 different starting lineups during the season. She used six of those different combinations over the final nine games, and seven of the eight Wildcats who were active at the end of the season started six games or more during the year.

GETTING TO THE LINE: Arizona averaged 17.6 points per game from the free throw line this season. The Cats made it to the free throw line 804 times over 32 games, for an average of 25.1 attempts per contest. The Wildcats connected on 563 of those attempts (70.0 percent).

Arizona made a total of 65 more free throws than any other team in the Pac-10 this year, and the Cats attempted 51 more shots from the stripe than any other league team.

KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona was... 13-4 when out-rebounding its opponent... 18-6 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 11-2 when shooting 50% or better from the field... 16-3 when four or more players reached double digits in scoring... 15-2 when leading at halftime... 13-4 when forcing more turnovers than it committed... 19-3 when scoring 70 points or more... 14-5 when opponents scored 71 points or less.

80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: It seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the 'win' column for the Wildcats. In the 29-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 134-18 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 94-11 when topping that 80-point plateau.

BY THE NUMBERS: Sixteen of Arizona's 20 wins this year were by a total of 10 points or more... Five of those wins were by spreads of 30 points or more... Nine of the UA's 12 losses were by spreads of 10 points or less... The Cats hit four or more 3-pointers in 22 games... Arizona had 15 or more assists in 18 games... The Cats had 10 or more steals in 13 games... Arizona forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 14 contests... The UA scored 80 points or better in 15 games.

CATS LOSE WARREN TO ACL INJURY: In a season that's saw its share of adversity, the Wildcats were dealt yet another blow on Mar. 3 when sophomore wing Krista Warren went down with a right knee ACL tear. She missed the final four games of the season and had surgery on the injury in late March. Warren started 27 of the her season's 28 games for the Cats, averaging 29.0 minutes, 9.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

GLAD TO HAVE YOU BACK: After suffering her second concussion of the season during an accidental fall on Jan. 24, freshman forward Veranda James returned to action on Feb. 15 for the first time in more than three weeks. Due to that most recent concussion, a previous concussion suffered on Dec. 6, and some academic issues, James played in only 12 of Arizona's first 23 games of the season.

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