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Arizona Women's Basketball

1998 record: 18-11 overall, 12-6 Pacific 10 Conference

Postseason: Defeated in second round of NCAA Tournament by Rutgers

Head coach: Joan Bonvicini (134-98 in eight years at UA)

Who's gone: G Jen Callahan (transfer)

Who's back: G Reshea Bristol (11.4 ppg, 4.4 rbg), F Angela Lackey (14.4 ppg), G Felicity Willis (12.1 ppg, 5.5 apg), F Elizabeth Pickney (11.4 ppg), G Lisa Griffith ( 9.7 ppg), G Monika Crank, F Shontey Hambrick, C LaKeisha Taylor, F Tatum Brown (9.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg),G Julie Brase, C Michelle Mitchell, G Tysell Bozeman

Who's stepping up: Crank, Willis, Griffith, Bozeman

Who's new: G Krista Warren

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Newcomers to add valuable depth to returning group of UA players

By Brian Wahlund
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 29, 1999
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Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Junior guard Felicity Willis (23) tries to pull down a rebound during a game last season. Willis and all but one of her teammates will return for the 1999-2000 women's basketball season.

With two seniors absent while redshirting last year, the UA women's basketball team was a young and inexperienced group, but still managed to finish with an 18-11 overall record and a 12-6 mark in the Pacific 10 Conference.

For the 1999-2000 season, the Wildcats will only lose one player. They will be adding three redshirts, as well as California's top prep scorer from last year, making UA head coach Joan Bonvicini optimistic about the team's prospects.

"We are potentially very good," she said. "We've got a lot of players returning and a lot of players added to the mix. How people handle their roles and interact is very important."

Seniors Shontey Hambrick and Monika Crank, as well as sophomore guard Tysell Bozeman, will be back in action for the Wildcats after taking redshirts last year. Hambrick was out for the year due to an upper respiratory infection while Crank was sidelined with an ACL injury. Bozeman was out due to academic ineligibility.

The Wildcats will also add Northern California's prep player of the year, guard Krista Warren.

The core of last year's Wildcat team remains intact.

Junior forward Angela Lackey, who finished the season as the Wildcats' leading scorer and rebounder, showed her leadership talent in the NCAA Tournament by scoring 29 points against the Florida Gators in UA's first round win.

Senior guard Felicity Willis was an emotional leader on offense and defense for the team last season and this season should be no different. Willis was the second leading scorer on the team, averaging 12.1 points per game, and her suffocating defense shut down many opposing guards, Bonvicini said.

After being declared academically ineligible for the latter part of last season, forward Tatum Brown will be back next season.

Senior guard Lisa Griffith will provide leadership for the Wildcats from the point guard position. Griffith placed fifth in the Pac-10 in assists last year and averaged 9.5 ppg and 5.2 apg for the Wildcats.

In all, the Wildcats will return every member of last year's team except freshman guard Jen Callahan, who will be transferring.

The added depth that the Wildcat team will feature this year will provide the team with a few more options going into the season.

"Because of our depth, we are going to press and sub a lot more," Bonvicini said. "We will play press a lot like Pintino's Kentucky team a couple years back."

UCLA will be the favorite in the Pac-10 again next year, followed by Oregon and Stanford. The Bruins swept the series with the Wildcats this past season, while the Ducks and the Cardinal each split with Arizona.

"It's a very tough conference, you can't overlook anybody," Bonvicini said.

Bonvicini said that in addition to her players' skills, the Wildcats would have to gel together and work as a unit if they wanted to compete for the conference title.

"You are only as good as your talent," Bonvicini said. "You have to develop the talent and also make sure that the team has chemistry."

When asked about her goals for next year, Bonvicini immediately replied, "We don't want to be watching television on Selection Sunday, wondering where we'll be.

"We want to get an automatic bid and in order to do that, you have to win the Pac-10."

Brian Wahlund can be reached at