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From the booth: Another Wildcat weekend

Ryan Casey
staff writer
By Ryan Casey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
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It was another eventful weekend for Wildcat sports, as more than a half-dozen teams took to their respective fields.

Seemingly each event had its own little nuances that made the game more enjoyable. Here are a few highlights (in no particular order of day or sport) from my point of view:

  • Reigning Pacific 10 Conference and national Player of the Week Kristina Baum and the Arizona volleyball team emerged from a weekend Los Angeles road trip at .500, beating the Bruins of UCLA and falling to Southern California. Let's hope the football team catches on: If you lose to (No. 1) USC, you must beat (No. 8) UCLA. That daunting task looms Nov. 5 - homecoming, no less - for the footballers.

  • Women's soccer head coach Dan Tobias was forced to watch games against Cal and Stanford over the weekend from the stands after getting his second red card of the season the week before against Washington State, his former team. The Wildcats are now 1-0-2 this season when Tobias isn't on the sidelines, 8-4-1 when he is. By my count, they're undefeated without him.

  • At halftime of football's heartbreaking 28-21 loss to Oregon on Saturday, the Arizona men's basketball team was honored for its 2005 Pac-10 Championship, as each current player's and coach's name was announced. (Former walk-on Matt Brase even attended the event.) Noticeably absent from the list? How about the two leading scorers from that team? Former Cats Channing Frye and Salim Stoudamire didn't receive as much as a shout-out from the public-address announcer. (Frye was in San Antonio, helping his New York Knicks defeat the Spurs 96-90, leading the team with 19 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes. Stoudamire's Atlanta Hawks were in Orlando, where Salim dropped nine points, including 1-for-2 from beyond the 3-point line.) Compared to this time last year, the pair's a combined $2.4 million richer.

    -phone usage from Arizona Stadium probably peaked around 6:30 p.m. ... 'Dude, we're tied! Get over here!'


  • Anyone else think that this year's version of the men's basketball team seems as relaxed as could be? The pressure of a looming preseason top-10 ranking doesn't faze these guys: They're cool, they're collected and they're even giving head coach Lute Olson a hard time. When Olson's name was announced at halftime, he was pounced on by a number of players, led by sophomore guard Jawann McClellan. (Speaking of Olson, is he really 71? He looks healthier than any 45-year-old I've ever met, outside of my father, of course, who doesn't look a day over 30.)

  • In the third quarter of the football game, senior punter Danny Baugher had one of the most impressive runs I've ever seen a punter make after picking up a blocked kick and returning the ball to within a yard of a first down. If he had got that first down after running about 40 yards down the Wildcats' sideline, the play would have rivaled former Arizona quarterback Ortege Jenkins's flip into the end zone against Washington a few years back. Then again, Baugher did stand out at running back while prepping at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. On a sad note, Baugher suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on the play, which could leave the Wildcats without their best field-position weapon for the rest of the season.

  • Speaking of the football game, freshman Willie Tuitama saw his first collegiate action in the first quarter, when his first career pass was picked off by an Oregon defender. Thankfully for Tuitama, the play was called back by a penalty, and the interception was wiped from the record books. He went on to have a solid debut, completing 52 percent of his passes and throwing for two scores, one of which went to fellow true freshman Mike Thomas. My KAMP Student Radio broadcast partner and Arizona Daily Wildcat staff writer Jason Kleinman may have said it best Saturday: "Touchdown! Tuitama and Thomas, the TNT connection."

  • Tuitama's debut coincidentally came one year and a week after redshirt sophomore Richard Kovalcheck's first game with Arizona. His debut also came against the Ducks, when he completed 5-of-10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.

  • The student section, which was only about half-full at kickoff, nearly filled up by the fourth quarter. Cell-phone usage from Arizona Stadium probably peaked around 6:30 p.m., as the Wildcats came back from a 21-point deficit, with thousands of people using similar greetings: "Dude, we're tied! Get over here!"

    Ryan Casey is a journalism junior and the sports director at KAMP Student Radio. His radio show can be heard Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 1570 AM or at

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