Women's Hoops: Cats face first non-friendly foe tonight

By Brett Fera
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, November 2, 2004

The UA women's basketball team may not know much about its exhibition opponent tonight, Play Mode Sports, but that may not be such a problem after all.

"We've only been against each other, and we know our strengths and weakness already," UA sophomore forward Shannon Hobson said about the Wildcat players having the opportunity to face a team other than their own.

Play Mode Sports, a team comprised of former college players, comes to McKale Center tonight for the first of its seven-game schedule, the only contest it plans to play outside of California.

Women's Hoops' exhibition

Arizona Wildcats


Play Mode Sports

7 p.m.

McKale Center

"These are former college players, their return to glory," UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. They're going to come out and the ball's going to come out quick."

Bonvicini said she's not yet certain of a starting lineup for the regular season opener - Nov. 12 against Saint Mary's in the first round of the preseason Women's National Invitational Tournament - but she did say that freshman guard Jessica Arnold has earned a spot in the starting five for tonight's game.

Arnold will be flanked by Hobson, senior guard Dee Dee Wheeler, junior center Shawntinice Polk and junior guard Natalie Jones.

"I want to see better execution," Bonvicini said of the team's performance in its annual Red-Blue scrimmage last week.

Wheeler, a pre-season All-Pacific 10 Conference selection, led the Blue team in scoring during the scrimmage with 26 points, while Polk, also a pre-season all-conference choice and a Wooden Award nominee, scored 16 points to go along with 15 rebounds and a game-high six assists.

Hobson, who added nine points for the Blue team, said the team will benefit greatly from facing players and gameplans it hasn't seen before.

"We just want to play hard," Hobson said. "We just want to show our strengths and finally get into a groove."

Hobson said the Wildcats could also reap the rewards of not overthinking what their opponents are going to do, since it is the team's first game against outside competition.

The Wildcats enter the 2004-05 campaign with high expectations after earning a share of the Pac-10 title for the first time in program history last season.