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Sports Briefs

By Staff and Wire reports
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Jan. 22, 2002

Walton named Pac-10 Player of the Week

After playing an instrumental role in the men's basketball team's pair of wins over top-20 opponents last weekend, Luke Walton was named Pac-10 Player of the Week yesterday.

The junior forward had a career game in the Wildcat win over Southern California Thursday, posting his first triple-double with a career-high 27 points, 11 boards and 10 assists. Walton followed that performance up with an 18-point, seven-rebound and seven-assist effort against UCLA Saturday. Walton's play was instrumental in UA's late game-winning rally against the Bruins.

In addition to the accolades from the Pacific 10 Conference league office, Walton also garnered national Player of the Week awards from Sports Illustrated and ESPN analyst Dick Vitale.

Walton - who leads the Wildcats in rebounding and assists - received the Pac-10 award for the second time in his career.

Gymcats lose despite record-setting performance

By Brian Penso
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women's gymnastics team suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of No. 2 Utah Friday.

The No. 7 Gymcats were unable to overcome 7,367 Utah (2-0) fans to come away with the victory as they fell 197.500-196.100.

The loss drops UA to 5-1 on the season, but the weekend was still a success for the Gymcats.

"We would have loved to win," UA head coach Bill Ryden said. "To make a statement like (that) in front of one of the biggest audiences in the country will help our ranking and seeding in the postseason."

Unlike other sports, gymnastic teams are ranked nationally on points scored, not wins and losses.

Arizona's score of 196.100 was its highest of the season and the fifth highest in school history.

"It was our highest road score in UA history," Ryden said. "Utah is ranked No. 2 now, and they had to be their best to beat us. It was a very successful weekend."

The Gymcats broke many individual and team records in the process.

On the beam, UA scored 49.325, the highest in school history.

Individually, senior Randi Liljenquist finished with a season-high 39.550 to place second in the overall competition.

Liljenquist also finished with a season-high 9.925 to place third on the floor.

Besides Liljenquist, freshmen Monica Bisordi, Katie Johnson, Stevie Fanning, Jamie Duce, Kristine Harper and sophomore Andi McCabe all set or tied a career mark against the Utes.

"After only three meets, our freshmen now have very high personal scores," Ryden said. "That speaks well for our team and where we are sitting right now."

Arizona next takes the floor Friday against No. 2 UCLA in its first conference competition of the season.

Ryden said UA's performance has given each gymnast the confidence that they can compete at the highest level against top competition.

"Such a good outing allows our team to walk in knowing we can be successful," Ryden said.

Baseball putting finishing touches on preseason

By David Stevenson
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The baseball team wrapped up its final weekend of intersquad games Saturday in preparation for the start of the regular season.

Team Gray defeated Team White after a four-run seventh inning.

With two outs, senior shortstop Brad Hassey walked and advanced to third on freshman catcher Richard Mercado's throwing error.

With freshman Pat Reilly working from a full windup, Hassey stole home to begin the scoring.

"The pitcher wasn't paying attention. It was something we'd been working on in practice," Hassey said. "So I just went and kept (thinking), 'Please don't swing, please don't swing.'"

Freshman first baseman Will Thompson followed with a single and sophomore center fielder Brian Anderson homered to left field.

Senior catcher Chris Cunningham added a solo home run that capped the two-out rally and clinched the victory.

This week, the team will prepare to take on New Mexico in a three-game set, the first of the season.


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