By Th‚oden K. Janes
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wait 'til next year.
It may sound like a cop-out, it may sound like they are being written off, whatever Ä but seriously, that is the perfect slogan for this team.
Granted, the Arizona women's basketball team may make it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history and win the Pacific 10 Conference outright (we'll find out in a few months), but even if they win the national championship, "wait 'til next year" is a fitting tribute to this team.
With six freshmen, one sophomore, two juniors and only one graduating senior, there is no reason why it shouldn't be.
What follows is the Wildcats' depth chart:
ù Brenda Pantoja (5-foot-8 junior)
Surprisingly, Pantoja was not named when UA coach Joan Bonvicini announced the two Wildcat co-captains for the 1994-95 season back in the fall.
This is because she has been the most vocal, the most poised, and without a doubt, the most consistent veteran on the UA squad throughout its first 15 games.
In what was her best game of the season Ä against No. 5 Stanford last Saturday night Ä Pantoja sank 5-of-9 shots from three-point range en route to finishing with 21 points. She also had a career-high six three pointers against then-14th-ranked Florida over Thanksgiving break.
On the season, Pantoja is averaging 9.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, and she leads the team in three pointers with 29 (in 80 attempts) this season.
ù DeAngela Minter (5-7 freshman)
She is only 18 years old and she has made her share of freshmen mistakes, but plenty of people think she has as much promise if not more than any of Arizona's seven freshmen.
The Vista (Calif.) High School graduate has already proved that she will make an excellent starter once Pantoja's time with the Wildcats is up. In her first-ever start against cross-state rival Arizona State Jan. 5, Minter had four assists, three steals, no turnovers and a three pointer.
Quiet and persevering on the court, Minter is also one of the few UA players who you can almost never catch with a smile on her face.
ù JiJi Sweet (5-7 senior)
Sweet, on the other hand, was named as one of the Arizona captains. And justifiably so, seeing as she is the player many of the freshmen have said they look to the most for leadership.
On the season, she is averaging 12.9 points and four rebounds per game. This is deceiving, however, when you consider that Sweet has faltered in big games. Against Stanford, she was 0-for-9 from the floor and finished with zero points. Against now-No. 2 Tennessee, she scored three points in 28-plus minutes. Even in the Arizona State game Jan. 5, she only managed seven points.
But, she did score 30 in a loss against Northern Illinois and 21 in a slaughter of Sacramento State, so she definitely deserves plenty of credit.
ù Atina Harris (5-10 junior)
A transfer from Sullivan Junior College in Lexington, Ky., Harris is perhaps the strongest, most athletic player on the Wildcats this year.
She has averaged 26 minutes per game this season in starting alongside Pantoja and Sweet in Arizona's new three-guard rotation, and is averaging 7.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
ù Andrea Constand (6-0 junior)
Constand showed tremendous promise during the preseason, but it wasn't until the loss to the Cardinal last weekend that she really made the most of that promise.
Because of limited playing time she is averaging just 2.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. But against Stanford, she had a career-high eight rebounds, while pitching in five points.
ù Adia Barnes (5-11 freshman)
Read that parenthetical material again. 5-11 freshman? She plays more like a 6-4 junior.
Easily the Wildcats top newcomer, and arguably their top player, Barnes has stepped into her role as a UA starter smoothly and effectively.
She has scored in double figures in each of the past four games. She is currently third in the Pac-10 in rebounding at 8.2 per game, and eighth in scoring at 16.4. She is the only UA player with a double-double this season Ä and she has four of them.
And oh yeah, Barnes has also been named Pac-10 player of the week twice already.
ù Mikko Giordano (6-1 freshman)
Giordano is somewhat difficult to read. At times she is brilliant, like the two-game span against Arizona State and Cal when she had back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts (11 against the Sun Devils and a season-high 15 against the Golden Bears). But at others, she can be extremely ineffective, like when she went scoreless and commit-
ted three turnovers against Stanford.
But like the other freshmen, she will probably end up doing just fine by the '95-96 season, when she will almost undoubtedly be a starter for Bonvicini.
Her numbers at present: 5.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
ù Keisha Johnson (5-11 freshman)
Early in the season, her McKale cheering section practically had to beg Bonvicini to put Johnson in. And these days, she's an Arizona's start.
She is often in there just to get the tip-off, but Johnson has gotten things done down low, surprising considering her lack of height for the position. In fact, she is one of the few players that has come close to joining Barnes as a member of the double-double club Ä against Nevada she had eight points and 10 rebounds and against Southwest Texas she had seven points and 10 rebounds.
ù Fatima Imara (6-3 freshman)
She has talent, but it is yet untapped. She can score, but needs to work on eliminating her fear of being fouled. She has post-up skills, but they could improve.
Then again, Imara, from Fremont, Calif., does still have three and a half years left at the UA.
ù Jacque Clark (6-2 sophomore)
Much like Giordano, Clark struggled with inconsistency throughout the season. She peaked early, with consecutive double-figure games against Virginia and New Mexico in November, but was held scoreless against Fresno State and Vanderbilt and limited to two points against Florida, Southwest Texas, Northern Illinois, ASU and Stanford.
But she does have a great deal of responsibility, being co-captain with Sweet and being counted on to put up big rebounding numbers. Overall, Clark is averaging 3.9 rebounds to go with her 5.6 points per game.
ù Marte Alexander (6-4 center)
Four words: They need her back.
Alexander, who has a fracture of the third metatarsal in her left foot and has not played since Dec. 2, is the tallest player on the Arizona roster, and her height has been sorely missed.
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