UA volleyball fails to earn NCAA bid

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women's volleyball team, which made the NCAA Sweet Sixteen the past two years, won't get a chance this season to see if it can advance further.

The Wildcats, despite their season-long top 25 ranking and several upsets, were not one of the 48 teams invited to the NCAA tournament in December. The field was announced yesterday.

Arizona, 2-11 in its final 13 matches, needed to beat undefeated and second-ranked Hawaii at least once last week to remain a contender for an at-large bid.

But the Wildcats, playing without the services of senior setter Laura Bartsch, were unable to steal a match from the Rainbow Wahine over the Thanksgiving break.

"You've got to win to get in," Arizona coach Dave Rubio said. "Once again, our end-of-season performance really hurt us."

Wednesday, Hawaii (29-0) defeated the Wildcats in straight sets 15-4, 15-8, 15-7. A day later, Arizona (14-14) pushed the Rainbow Wahine to four sets but lost 15-5, 6-15, 15-11, 15-2. Both matches were played at the Special Events Arena in Honolulu, and combined attendance was 15,154.

Ron Parsons

UA women unsatisfied despite win

If the Arizona women's basketball team learned one thing from the Portland Saints, it is that patience is a virtue.

The Wildcats' offense committed 22 turnovers, 22 personal fouls and went for several long periods without scoring, yet still defeated Portland 74-56 in an exhibition game at McKale Center on Saturday.

The Saints, a team made up of former college players, entered the game with an 8-2 record, including wins over Montana and Boise State. The team's veteran players and patient offense was a stark contrast to the flustered Mexico National Team that Arizona had whitewashed by 47 in its first exhibition game.

"We won by 18, but we're still not satisfied," Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "We still need to work on our execution and maintain our intensity for the whole game. When we get on top of someone we have to put them away."

The Wildcats caused havoc in the Saints' backcourt late in the first half and early in the second. Using a pressing defense and a 2-3 trap, Arizona forced 28 turnovers and took the Saints out of their offensive rhythm.

"The press worked well for us," Bonvicini said. "It changed the tempo of the game and let us run more. Right now we are a solid defensive team."

The Wildcats' two big guns, point guard Brenda Pantoja and power forward Adia Barnes, again led the way for Arizona. Barnes scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Pantoja scored 17 and added eight assists.

Craig Sanders

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