Arizona's season could hinge on game against Trojans

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona women's basketball team begins perhaps their most pivotal road trip to date when it faces No. 21 Southern Cal tonight at 8:30 Tucson time in Los Angeles.

The Trojans (8-4 overall, 1-3 in the Pacific 10 Conference) represent the sixth team the Wildcats have played this season that either was or is ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 women's basketball poll.

However, the UA is 0-5 against its nationally recognized opponents.

Beating USC on what is the Wildcats' first Pac-10 road trip of the 1994-95 season is pivotal for Arizona (7-8, 2-1) because despite its sub-.500 record, it still has a fighting chance to qualify for the NCAA tournament in March if it can make a good showing (in other words, beat) against the Pac-10's top teams.

The Wildcats are coming off a 92-67 drubbing at the hands of No. 5 Stanford that they suffered last Saturday night, in what was one of their most poorly played games of the season.

"We are obviously disappointed at losing to Stanford," UA head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "They are a very talented team. But the good thing is that we are still in a position to control our own destiny."

Starting point guard Brenda Pantoja, who made 5-of-9 three-point attempts and scored 21 points against the Cardinal, will lead the UA against Southern Cal. In 15 starts this season, the 5-8 junior is averaging 9.8 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.

Rounding out Arizona's starting five will be freshman forward Adia Barnes, freshman center Keisha Johnson, senior shooting guard JiJi Sweet and junior guard Atina Harris.

USC is led by 6-3 sophomore guard Tina Thompson. Thompson is averaging 18.5 points and 9.9 rebounds per game this season.

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