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How to watch and what to expect when No. 15 Arizona hosts No. 18 Oregon

The week started with No. 15 Arizona facing No. 2 Stanford on the road. It will end with the Wildcats facing No. 18 Oregon. Next week, it’s No. 8 Utah and the Colorado team that just handed the Utes their first loss of the season. Such is Pac-12 women’s basketball.The good thing is that Oregon and Oregon State aren’t completely different. It’s especially beneficial because Barnes doesn’t think just focusing on the opponent is going to get them where they need to be.“Oregon and Oregon State ar...

The week started with No. 15 Arizona facing No. 2 Stanford on the road. It will end with the Wildcats facing No. 18 Oregon. Next week, it’s No. 8 Utah and the Colorado team that just handed the Utes their first loss of the season. Such is Pac-12 women’s basketball.

The good thing is that Oregon and Oregon State aren’t completely different. It’s especially beneficial because Barnes doesn’t think just focusing on the opponent is going to get them where they need to be.

“Oregon and Oregon State are both...big,” said Arizona head coach Adia Barnes. “The good thing is they both run a lot of pick and roll. They do some similar things. So, the preparation isn’t like night and day. I think it’d be hard if one team pressed and one team walked the ball up. So, I think the differences aren’t that drastic. But the focus for us [after the Stanford game] was there are some things that we have to work on. One would be boxing out, obviously, and just some other discipline things that we can control and that we can work on. That’s more important at this point than it is running 10 plays of Oregon State... So, we’re obviously still scouting a lot, still prepared, but working on our deficiencies and then their tendencies are more important at this point right now from what I saw Monday.”

The Ducks bring in a talented team but one that is short on depth. Like Arizona, they lost an expected frontcourt starter before the season started. In their case it was 6-foot-7 Sedona Prince. They have recovered nicely because of the play of freshman Grace VanSlooten, who played with Wildcat Kailyn Gilbert at IMG Academy last season. VanSlooten and fellow freshman Kennedy Basham join sophomore center Phillipina Kyei in a formidable if young group inside.

The Ducks’ length could be a problem for the ‘Cats, who have struggled against Kansas, Stanford, and Oregon State. All three featured big posts who bothered Arizona. UA was only able to defeat OSU, which although big is also young like Oregon.

Oregon’s bench got a little shorter with the departure of guard Jennah Isai. She left the program recently and announced her transfer to BYU last week. That leaves the Ducks with nine players on the roster. While most coaches don’t use more than that on a regular basis, Isai was playing over 19 minutes a game before she left and it cuts into their ability to go into the bench if they get into foul trouble.

Arizona has similar problems, though. The status of Maya Nnaji is still unknown. She did not play against Oregon State. After that game, Barnes noted that the freshman post was in concussion protocol.

If Nnaji is unable to play on Sunday, Arizona’s tallest available players will be Cate Reese and Esmery Martinez. Oregon would counter with 6-foot-8 Kyei, 6-foot-7 Basham, and 6-foot-3 VanSlooten with only 10 fouls to give. Like they played against OSU, it would force some of the bigger guards like Helena Pueyo and Madi Conner into the four position while Reese and Martinez play the five.

It wasn’t an easy task against Oregon State’s Raegan Beers and Jelena Mitrovic on Friday.

“It hurt us today not having Maya,” Barnes said after that game. “We should have Maya back on Sunday, but...Cate and Esmery had to play a lot of minutes battling bigger posts, bodying Beers. And then we had to put our guards at the four, which was a little bit hard. Usually, we do it for a couple minutes, but to do it for a significant time wasn’t easy today. But we found a way to win and being short-handed. Maya plays 15, 17 minutes for us.”

When: Sunday, Jan. 8 at 5 p.m. MST

Where: McKale Center in Tucson, Ariz.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: Listen to the call by Derrick Palmer online on The Varsity Network or on the radio at KTUC 1400 AM.

Rankings: Arizona is ranked No. 15 by the Associated Press and No. 13 by the WBCA. Oregon is ranked No. 18 by the media and No. 17 by the coaches.

The computers are higher on the Ducks than the voters are. Oregon is ranked No. 10 in the NET and by Her Hoop Stats. The Wildcats are No. 27 in the NET and No. 25 according to Her Hoop Stats.

Projections: Her Hoop Stats projects that Oregon will win this game no matter where it is played. In McKale Center, the Ducks have a 56.4 percent win probability according to the stats service. However, the margin of victory is just 1.6 points. The point total is projected at 135.6 points.

Follow us on Twitter @AZDesertSwarm for all things Arizona Wildcats. For live tweets of women’s basketball and news throughout the week, follow our deputy editor @KimDoss71.

Tucson Jazz Fest puts on a party with Pink Martini

The 2023 HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival kicks off in earnest this weekend with the all-out party of Pink Martini with China Forbes.The 17-member orchestra, based in Portland, Oregon, joins the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for what pro...

The 2023 HSL Properties Tucson Jazz Festival kicks off in earnest this weekend with the all-out party of Pink Martini with China Forbes.

The 17-member orchestra, based in Portland, Oregon, joins the Tucson Symphony Orchestra for what promises to be one of the festival’s biggest parties. The concert on Saturday, Jan. 14, and Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall also marks the ensemble’s first appearance with the TSO since they joined forces in the 2019 Jazz Festival.

“I am really excited to be back in Tucson,” Forbes said when we caught up with her late last week to talk about the concert, Pink Martini’s diverse lineup and her first solo album in more than a decade.

2023 marks the band’s 28th year of touring when you count the COVID pandemic off year.

“We’re touring all the time. It’s kind of insane,” Forbes said. “It’s just constant. You know we’re so different from most bands because we don’t just tour when we release a new album. We take a long time between albums, and we tour all the time regardless.”

Forbes this spring will release a new solo record, her first in 13 years and a project that took seven years.

The album will come out around the time of her May 6 solo orchestra show with the Oregon Symphony. It will be her first-ever solo orchestra show.

“It’s really exciting,” she said. “It’s like this huge embrace. (The orchestra) is wrapped around us, the strings or the clarinet solo or the brass or the timpani, it’s all so dramatic and supportive. It’s sort of like being woven into each other. … It’s fantastic. … It just heightens the emotion of a song.”

Forbes has released three other solo albums including her 1995 debut “Love Handle” that includes a song she had written in her early 20s called “Tucson.”

“I had never been to Tucson, but I wrote this song when I was probably 23,” she said, adding that she had a couple friends in college who were from Tucson and still live here. “I was living in New York, and I was imagining this different kind of life that I would have in Tucson, in the desert. … It’s kind of cool.”

After 28 years, Forbes said it is still exciting to go out night after night with Pink Martini. Many of the members have been with the band since would-be politician Thomas Lauderdale launched it in 1993 with the idea they would play political rallies and other same-such events. The band’s out-of-the-box success put Portland native Lauderdale’s political ambitions on hold.

“I love performing, and it never gets old,” Forbes said. “The songs, I want to perform these same songs that we love over and over again, and I never want to miss out on the important songs we have to do. It never gets boring to me.”

The band plays a lot of jazz festivals, but Forbes said they would never call themselves a jazz band.

“There are a lot of people in the band from a jazz background, but there are a lot of people from a classical background,” she said, adding that others have pop and mariachi experience, as well. “There’s all these different styles mixed together, which is what Pink Martini really is. It’s about diversity and inclusion and multigenre and multilingual. So you can’t really label it jazz, but you can include it in jazz.”

“It is amazing,” she said of how Pink Martini shows tend to morph into parties, with audience members dancing in the aisles or at their seats.

“I think I’ve lost perspective because being on stage, you don’t experience what the audience is experiencing,” she said. “It is true that all of our concerts have to end with a congo line where everyone is on their feet weaving (through the aisles). Most concerts don’t end that way.”

Arizona women move up one spot to No. 14 in AP Top 25; Houston leads men's poll

The Arizona women’s basketball team rose one spot in The Associated Press Top 25 after sweeping the Oregon schools over the weekend.The Wildcats are ranked 14th in the poll, which was released Monday. After losing at No. 2 Stanford at the start of last week, Arizona defeated Oregon State and then-No. 18 Oregon at McKale Center.The Wildcats are 14-2, 4-1 in the Pac-12. They have sole possession of second place in the conference, a half-game behind the Cardinal (16-1, 4-0).Arizona visits Colorado (13-3, 3-1) and No. ...

The Arizona women’s basketball team rose one spot in The Associated Press Top 25 after sweeping the Oregon schools over the weekend.

The Wildcats are ranked 14th in the poll, which was released Monday. After losing at No. 2 Stanford at the start of last week, Arizona defeated Oregon State and then-No. 18 Oregon at McKale Center.

The Wildcats are 14-2, 4-1 in the Pac-12. They have sole possession of second place in the conference, a half-game behind the Cardinal (16-1, 4-0).

Arizona visits Colorado (13-3, 3-1) and No. 10 Utah (14-1, 3-1) this weekend.

Off to one of the best starts in school history, Illinois cracked the AP Top 25 women’s basketball poll for the first time in 23 years.

The Illini (14-3) are ranked No. 24 in their first Top 25 appearance since Nov. 27, 2000. It’s been a remarkable turnaround under first-year coach Shauna Green. The team was 7-20 last season and just 1-13 in the Big Ten. Illinois hasn’t had a winning season since 2012-13.

“It means a lot. I understand how far we’ve come in a really short time,” said Green, who came to Illinois after a successful run coaching at Dayton. “Most of the kids weren’t alive the last time we were ranked. I was a sophomore in college.”

South Carolina remained the No. 1 team, garnering all 28 votes from a national media panel. The Gamecocks have been No. 1 for 29 consecutive weeks. They were followed in the poll by Stanford and Ohio State, which rallied to beat Illinois on Sunday.

UConn moved up one spot to fourth. The Huskies had their game against DePaul on Sunday postponed when they had only six scholarship players available because of injuries.

LSU moved up two spots to fifth. It’s the first time the Tigers have been that high since Dec. 14, 2009, when they were also fifth. LSU (16-0) is off to the best start in school history, besting the mark held by the 2002-03 team that won its first 15 games.

South Carolina, Ohio State and LSU are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the country. The Gamecocks and Tigers meet on Feb. 12 in South Carolina.

Houston is back at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 men’s college basketball poll for the second time this season, while Kansas State continued its unexpectedly strong start by leaping from unranked to the verge of the top 10.

The Cougars received 34 of 60 first-place votes in Monday’s poll to return to the top after a two-week stay there earlier this season. Kansas was second and had 22 first-place votes, while Purdue fell from No. 1 to No. 3 and got the other four first-place votes after suffering its first loss at Rutgers last week.

Before this season, the Cougars (16-1) hadn’t been No. 1 since the high-flying “Phi Slama Jama” days of the 1980s.

“Every team, you just have to bring them along because they’re all different,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said after Sunday’s win at Cincinnati. “Our DNA remains the same, but the faces change. … As the season goes on, guys get better and better.”

Kansas State jumped to No. 11 after an impressive week with two road wins against ranked opponents under first-year coach Jerome Tang. Picked to finish last in the 10-team Big 12, the Wildcats scored 116 points at Texas then edged Baylor 97-95 in overtime.

That helped Kansas State (14-1) match its best start since the 1958-59 season, while bringing the Wildcats back into the AP Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2018-19 season.

In-person screenings return to the Tucson Jewish film fest

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the festival, which begins Thursday, Jan. 12, will be holding in-person screenings for 10 films; nine at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road, and one at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway.Those films, along with several others, will also be available for virtual viewing, starting on Jan. 12 through the rest of the month at tucsonfilm.eventive.org.Jennifer Selco, director of ...

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the festival, which begins Thursday, Jan. 12, will be holding in-person screenings for 10 films; nine at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road, and one at the Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway.

Those films, along with several others, will also be available for virtual viewing, starting on Jan. 12 through the rest of the month at tucsonfilm.eventive.org.

Jennifer Selco, director of Jewish life and learning at the TJCC, said one of the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the festival to go 100% virtual in recent years, is that many festivalgoers have grown to appreciate the convenience of watching films at their leisure from the comfort of their homes.

“We are genuinely excited to provide a festival experience that meets people’s needs across the board,” Selco said.

No matter how you watch, the festival’s selection of works this year, 15 full-length films, eight shorts, and a four-part docu-series, covers a wide range of topics that provide a little something for everybody while speaking to the Jewish experience.

In “The Man in the Basement,” which will kick things off Jan. 12 at the JCC, a family in Paris uncovers the unsettling, antisemitic past of their new tenant.

The Levys of Monticello,” premiering at The Loft on Wednesday, Jan. 18, looks at the Levy family and their efforts to preserve Thomas Jefferson’s prized Virginia plantation, amid its complex history, after purchasing the property in 1834.

The docu-drama “Exodus 91“ follows the efforts of Israeli diplomat Asher Naim as he worked to bring 15,000 Ethiopian Jews from their war-ravaged home country to Israel.

And for a bit of the familiar, movie fans can enjoy a look at what it took to make the classic musical, “Fiddler on the Roof” with “Fiddler’s Journey to the Big Screen.” The film is narrated by Jeff Goldblum and will screen Jan. 15.

More than 50 films were submitted for consideration.

“When choosing films for this year’s festival, we asked ourselves, ‘How can we tell the diverse story of the Jewish people, and which films are going to help us tell that story,’” Selco said.

Several of the films, including “The Man in the Basement,” “The Levys of Monticello” and “Exodus 91” will include post-film programs.

“The Man in the Basement,” for example, will include a panel discussion with Deborah Kaye, senior lecturer at the University of Arizona, and Lori Shepherd, executive director of the Tucson Jewish Museum and Holocaust Center, about the rise of antisemitism today.

“They are the experts on the history of antisemitism,” Selco said. “They are going to give us guidance and advice on how to collectively work toward reversing some of these troubling trends that we are seeing.”

Pima County floats new lease deal with balloon operator World View

Pima County officials say a proposed new lease-purchase agreement with high-altitude balloon operator World View Enterprises will bring the county into compliance with a ruling that the original deal violated the state constitution.In a memorandum to the Board of Supervisors...

Pima County officials say a proposed new lease-purchase agreement with high-altitude balloon operator World View Enterprises will bring the county into compliance with a ruling that the original deal violated the state constitution.

In a memorandum to the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Jan Lesher recommended approval of the new lease to replace the original 2016 agreement with a lease with “market rates” based on appraisals. The proposal has an initial term of five years with four renewal terms of five years each.

The supervisors are expected to consider the proposed lease deal at its meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 10.

In late October, the state Court of Appeals ruled that Pima County violated the state constitution’s “gift clause” — which restricts transfers of taxpayer dollars to private entities — when it agreed to allow high-altitude balloon developer World View Enterprises to lease a $15 million facility at the county’s Aerospace Research Park south of Tucson International Airport.

The ruling came in a case filed on behalf of three taxpayers in 2016 by the conservative Goldwater Institute, which had alleged the deal violated state procurement laws as well as the constitutional ban on gifting public money to private entities.

The original $15 million deal includes the lease of a 12-acre county-owned site and construction of a launch pad and headquarters for the company, which has flown its stratospheric balloon vehicles for remote-sensing research missions and is preparing to offer near-space tourism flights in 2024.

The county agreed to build the balloon facility and lease it to World View for 20 years, when the company would be able to buy it for just $10. The end-of-lease purchase price was changed to $5 million in an amendment adopted in 2021.

Lesher said the proposed new lease-purchase agreement is structured like the recently approved American Battery Factory agreement to avoid the gift-clause issue “while facilitating economic development and high-wage job creation and retention in Pima County.”

Under the proposed new lease deal, World View would pay rent for the initial five-year term based on 90% of appraised value “as authorized by statute,” with 2.5% percent annual increases.

Rent for 142,000 square feet of industrial and office space would rise from $8.10 per square foot or $1,035,180 in the first year to $8.94 per square foot and $1,142,532 in the fifth year, according to Lesher’s memorandum to the supervisors.

World View will have the option to purchase the property for $14.4 million — 90% of appraised value as allowed by statute, within two years after the deal is signed or by additional written agreement, the memo says.

The new lease also lowers the employment milestones World View had to reach under the current lease, though required salary levels have increased.

World View laid off most of its employees at the height of the pandemic in 2020, then restarted operations and expected to reach 100 employees by the end of 2021.

The proposed new lease requires the company to employ a minimum of 90 full-time employees for the first year (2023) and then increase to 125 full time employees for the duration of the lease.

The original lease required World View to to employ an average of at least 100 workers over the first four years of the contract, at a minimum annual salary of $50,000, stepping up to 400 workers with salaries of at least $60,000 annually in the fourth five-year period.

An operating agreement lease for Spaceport Tucson — a concrete launchpad facility adjacent to World View’s headquarters building — will be scheduled for consideration at the supervisors’ Jan. 24 meeting, Lesher wrote.

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