The Arizona women's basketball team (12-5, 4-3 Pac-10) looks to take back its home court dominance and start another winning streak tonight at 7 as the Wildcats take on Oregon in McKale Center.
After defeating Washington State, 69-50, on Saturday to win their third consecutive game, the Ducks (12-4, 5-2) sit third in the Pacific 10 Conference while the Wildcats are fifth behind UCLA.
"They're a team that has struggled a little bit because of injuries," said UA head coach Joan Bonvicini. "They're best player, Catherine Kraayeveld, hasn't played in Pac-10 games in the last couple of years and she's a great player. She's 6-foot-3 and can go inside or outside. They have one of the best point guards as far as assists go in Corrie Mizusawa."
Mizusawa leads the Ducks with six assists per game.
Senior forward Kraayeveld is expected to start tonight. She leads Oregon with averages of 16 points, nine rebounds and two blocks per game.
"I've heard (Kraayeveld) is very good, she's very talented and she's kind of the glue for the team and she's the go-to player," said junior guard Natalie Jones. "They're a different team and it shows in the conference compared to last year.
"Oregon was still a pretty good team last year but they're a lot better now."
Still, injuries continue to plague the Ducks. Guard Chelsea Wagner did not start against Washington State because of a torn ligament in her left knee she sustained Jan. 13 in Oregon's 86-77 victory over Washington. She is out for the season.
"They have a very good coaching staff, they're a smart team," Bonvicini said. "They're going to be ready. (Oregon is) a team that is really looking forward to the postseason. For us, we played well against UCLA. We want to take that momentum and build on it and start a new win streak here at home."
Arizona's 34-game home winning streak was snapped Jan. 9 in the team's 78-66 loss to Stanford.
The Wildcats are coming off arguably their biggest win of the season, an 84-73
triumph over then-No. 19 UCLA Sunday at Pauley Pavilion. Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler notched 19 points and a career-high 11 rebounds against the Bruins, while junior center Shawntinice Polk earned her fifth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 boards.
The Wildcats trail the all-time series against the Ducks 22-16, but were victorious in the last meeting between the two teams Feb. 21, 2004, when Arizona defeated Oregon 84-58 at McKale.
"I think for them they realized that their season was over and they had struggled and had a tough season," said Bonvicini of the matchup. "I don't think they played like themselves."
Discovering old magic at McKale, said guard Katrina Linder, will still take an adjustment here and there.
"(Oregon has) had a good season so far. I know we had a tough road trip up there last year so I'm sure it's just going to be a good battle again down here," Lindner said of Arizona's 70-66 victory at Eugene, Ore., Jan. 22, 2004. "They have an Australian guard-forward (Eleanor Haring). She went off on us a little bit last year and had a pretty good game against us."