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Friday November 17, 2000

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Wildcat women to start season at home against BYU

Headline Photo

By Kamy Shaygan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA tips off 2000-01 campaign tomorrow at 2 p.m.

The Arizona women's basketball team will officially tip of its 2000-2001 season tomorrow afternoon against Brigham Young University at McKale Center. The contest - UA's first regular season game of the year - starts at 2 p.m.

Despite losing five seniors from last season's 25-7 squad, the Wildcats have managed to add four incoming freshmen, all who are expected to receive substantial playing time.

Of the freshmen, forward Veranda James - who averaged 32.4 points and 17.2 rebounds per game in high school - is expected to make the largest impact.

James won't be taking the Cougars lightly.

"We are just going to take it one game at a time," James said. "You learn things from every single game. Pretty much all these games are key."

The only senior on this year's Arizona team is guard Reshea Bristol, who was an honorable mention All-Pacific 10 Conference selection last season.

Bristol averaged 8.6 points per game last season and is coming off a season where she was named Arizona's Most Valuable Defensive Player for the second year in a row.

"I expect her experience to help her play on the court," UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "She has been in some big, big games. I think she has the ability to break a game open."

Bristol welcomes her role as the team's leader.

"You have to lead by example, because a lot of the players are looking up to you," Bristol said.

Despite the team's inexperience, Bonvicini has been pleased with what she has seen in preseason practices and exhibition games.

"I really like the chemistry of this team," Bonvicini said. "I like their work ethic and what it means."

The starting lineup for tomorrow's game against BYU will likely consist of junior center Elizabeth Pickney, forwards James and sophomore Krista Warren, and guards Bristol and junior Tysell Bozeman.

Although Pickney - who averaged 9.8 points per game last season - is listed as a forward, Bonvicini believes that the Houston native can play the center position.

"She is a very good shooter," Bonvicini said. "She can go inside or outside."

Arizona's starting lineup will emphasize defense against the Cougars, a team known for its outside shooting.

"BYU is going to come out and shoot the three (pointer)," Bonvicini said. "They will shoot it from anywhere. We are going to go out and contest the three."

Alone with posing a threat from the outside, BYU players have traditionally been strong ball handlers.

"They're not really that tall, but they move the ball really well," Bonvicini said. "They're good."