By Craig Sanders
Arizona Daily Wildcat November 27, 1996
While most people are fattening up on Thanksgiving turkey this weekend, the Arizona women's basketball team will likely be fattening up on another non-conference opponent.
The Wildcats (3-1) will face Monmouth (0-0) Friday at 7 p.m. at UA's McKale Center.
"This is a chance for us to see where we stand," UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "We've had some tough games on the road and we need to keep evaluating what has and has not been working. Overall, however, I think we are really coming together as a team ."
Arizona has won two straight games after losing to Louisiana Tech in the second round of the Women's Preseason National Invitational Tournament. Monmouth played its first game against Hofstra last night, but results were not available at Wildcat press tim e.
The UA players have outscored opponents by a combined 48 points in their last two games, the Wildcats' latest win coming against Texas A&M 96-76 Monday night.
"That was not only a good win against a team that has been in the NCAA Tournament, but a win that we can look back to when we are bidding for the tournament," Bonvicini said.
The Wildcats seem to be gelling together more every game, and much of that has to do with the emergence of the backcourt players. UA freshman point guard Lisa Griffith scored a career-high 21 points against Texas A&M, hitting on four of her six three-poin ters.
But it is the Wildcats' frontcourt that has been the mainstay for Arizona. UA junior forward Mikko Giordano has scored 31 points in her last two games to go along with power forward Adia Barnes' consistent play.
Barnes scored a team-high 22 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against the Aggies.
"We have improved every game, which is exactly what we want," Bonvicini said. "We have great chemistry and we are really maturing. Lisa Griffith has been a big part of that. She is not only scoring more, but she is playing smarter as she gains more confid ence."
Monmouth finished with a 13-15 mark last season, 9-9 in the Northeast Conference. The team is strong up front, sparked by center/forward Jen Brzucki, a preseason NEC first-team player this season. Guard Christie Pearce is the team's pickpocket, with a tea m-record 88 steals last season.
Monmouth lost its only preseason game to Banska Bystrica 65-60 on Nov. 14.