By Th‚oden K. Janes
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The media guide probably shouldn't read "Young Guns." It seems to be giving the team a reputation it doesn't want.
"Everybody thinks we're young," said Mikko Giordano, a freshman forward on the Arizona women's basketball team (2-3), who was five years old when Ronald Reagan was elected into office.
Because everybody thinks they're young, nobody has been surprised when they lose. However, losing is not in the Wildcats' plans this weekend, as they face Fresno State tonight at 7 and Nevada Sunday at 2 p.m. Both games will be played at McKale Center.
Coming off a shocking 64-40 defeat at the hands of Oklahoma State last Sunday, a game in which Arizona scored 13 points in the second half, the Wildcats are eager to get back out on the court and put the loss behind them.
"I think we're ready," sophomore co-captain Jacque Clark said yesterday. "I think we overlooked the Oklahoma State game. We had watched them the Friday before and they just didn't have a very 'on' game. But they beat us, and we basically proved we weren't ready to play them. We're not overlooking (tonight's game)."
Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini was more to the point.
"They're not overlooking anyone and never will again," Bonvicini said.
In order to win tonight, however, the UA will have to do it without Marte Alexander (1.5 points, 2.5 rebounds per game) and Atina Harris (8.6 points, 4.2 rebounds).
Alexander, a freshman center, has a fracture of the third metatarsal in her left foot. She is expected to be out four to six weeks.
Harris, a transfer from Sullivan Junior College in Lexington, Ky., was suspended by Bonvicini for "academic" reasons. She is only expected to miss the Fresno State game.
But being short-handed isn't fazing the Wildcats. And neither, again, should the fact that everybody is calling them a young team. Overall, however, their confidence level is rising.
"Every day we have improved," Giordano said. "Everybody thinks we're going to be last or second to last (in the Pacific 10 Conference), but I think we're going to surprise a lot of teams."
Fresno State probably won't be surprised by anything. With a 1-3 record, Bulldog coach Linda Wunder knows plenty about losing and is likely predicted to lose this game by a decent margin.
Bonvicini, however, said: "I'm very impressed with them, they're an excellent defensive team."
Fresno State is led by junior guard Staci Oddo, who is averaging 12.6 points per game.
As for Nevada, the Wolf Pack is at what Bonvicini calls "a rebuilding stage." Along with a 4-26 record last season, Nevada was mired in a 17-game losing streak that spanned two seasons.
UN is led by Noelle Fable, a freshman who was a two-time Arizona 4A Player of the Year while at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale. Fable leads the team with 15.7 points and five rebounds per game.
Two wins this weekend are entirely possible.
"I think we can (win two) if we come out ready for both games," Clark said. "If we win tomorrow, we need to put that behind us and go out to practice Saturday completely focused on Sunday's game."
Said Giordano: "We always think we can win."
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