UA to face Slovakians in final tuneup

By Chris Jackson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
November 12, 1996

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona Daily Wildcat File Photo Forward Adia Barnes (30) will help lead the Wildcats when they face Ruzomberok, a Slovakian club team, in an exhibition game tonight at McKale Center.


The women's basketball team will face a team from a country many people have never heard of in tonight's exhibition at McKale Center.

Ruzomberok, the women's club team from Slovakia, one of the two countries formed when Czechoslovakia split, swings into town to play the Wildcats tonight.

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at McKale. Admission is $4 for the general public and $3 for youths, senior citizens and all UA faculty and staff.

This is the Wildcats' last exhibition game before they travel to the Preseason National Invitation Tournament first round in San Francisco on Friday.

In their first exhibition match, the Red-Blue game, the Wildcats were led by Adia Barnes' 21 points, 17 rebounds and three steals. Last season she averaged 17.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game and was named most valuable player of the National Women's Invitational Tournament, which the Wildcats won.

Also coming up big in the Red-Blue game was freshman guard Lisa Griffith, who scored 19 points while shooting 5 of 6 from three-point range. Two other guards also made good impressions: sophomore Monika Crank scored 17 points while freshman Felecity Willis scored 13 points and had four assists.

Ruzomberok, though, may not be the pushover that most teams play in the preseason.

Led by 6-3 center Renata Hirakova's 15.7 points per game, Ruzomberok has yet to lose in its nine-game trip through the Western United States.

The team defeated Loyola Marymount 97-65, UNLV 90-45 and Northern Arizona 59-58. Ruzomberok is outscoring its opponents by an average of 26 points a game.

Thirty-year-old guard Iveta Bielikova is the oldest player on Ruzomberok, yet she is second on the team in scoring at 14.7 points per game while also averaging four assists per game.

Ruzomberok forward Dagmar Hutkova leads the team with 2.7 steals per game while averaging 11 points per game.

In addition to causing turnovers, Ruzomberok plays a stifling defense, one that held UNLV to only 20 percent shooting from the floor. The team forces an average of 30 turnovers per game.

The Wildcats hope the McKale mystique that gave them a 13-3 record at home last year will hold up against Ruzomberok.

Next up for the team is the Preseason NIT, which does not promise to be any easier. Included in the field is defending NCAA champion Tennessee, as well as five other teams rated in the top 25 in several preseason polls.