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Women's Basketball Looking for Sweep of Washington Schools
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/07/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 7, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (15-6 overall; 8-4 Pac-10) will be looking to extend its home win streak to 10 games when it plays host to Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center. Saturday's game will also be special for the Wildcats, as Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano will be on the UA bench as a "guest coach."

ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
#35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Sr., Cloverdale, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, Fr., Hanford, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, So., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Jr., San Jose, Calif.)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Sr., Tucson, Ariz.)

OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order)
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, Fr., Glengowrie, So. Australia)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#31 - Robin Roberson (F/G, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: With three wins in their last four games, the Wildcats are 15-6 overall and 8-4 in Pac-10 play. Their 15 wins surpasses last year's total of 14 and is the most since the 2001 team got 20 victories. The Cats earned a 79-66 revenge win over No. 20 Washington at home on Thursday night and have taken sole possession of third place in the Pac-10 standings, following Stanford (10-1) and Washington (9-3). Three of Arizona's four conference losses this season have been by eight points or less.

The Cats slipped to No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll this week, but they dropped out of the AP Top 25, after spending nine straight weeks ranked in that poll. Arizona did get 56 votes in the AP poll this week.

With averages of 17.4 points and 11.0 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With 15 double-doubles on the season, Polk has the third-highest rebounding total (231) and the fourth-best point total (366) for any freshman in UA history. Her 15 double-doubles has tied a school record that was set during the 1981-82 season.

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.5 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.9 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.0 boards per game, and is fourth in scoring (11.7 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third on the scoring chart, at 12.4 ppg.

GOVERNOR TO MAKE GUEST APPEARANCE AT SATURDAY'S GAME: Governor Janet Napolitano will be a "guest coach" at the home game against Washington State on Saturday, Feb. 8. Selected Wildcat women's basketball boosters have been given the privilege of joining the team on the bench at every home game for the last 12 years. Guest coaches are given a special guided tour of the basketball facilities before the game, sit on the team bench during the game and are in the locker room during the pre-game chalk talk, at halftime and post-game, gaining an insider's view of what goes on behind the scenes on game day.

HOME WIN STREAK GOES TO NINE: The Cats have won nine games in a row at home, their longest home win streak since winning nine in a row at McKale from Nov. 18, 2000, to Jan. 13, 2001.

If Arizona defeats Washington State on Saturday, that would give the Cats 10 in a row at home, which would be the second-longest home win streak in the program's history. The last time the Wildcats won that many consecutive home games was when they set the school record at 15 straight from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.

CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: Arizona leads the Pac-10 field goal percentage (.490) and is second in three-point field goal percentage (.366), rebounding (39.6 rpg), rebounding margin (+4.8 rpg), assists (18.90 apg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.01).

Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (11.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (.618) and is second in scoring (17.4 ppg) and blocked shots (2.14 bpg). Julie Brase is the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.17) and is third in assists (4.33 apg). Krista Warren is second in field goal percentage (.595), while Aimee Grzyb is third in the league in three-pointers per game (1.95 pg).

CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Feb. 2, Shawntinice Polk was seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.615), while Krista Warren (.601) was eighth in the same category. Polk was also ninth in the nation in rebounding average (11.4 rpg) and 25th in blocked shots (2.2 bpg).

In the NCAA team stats, Arizona was seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.489), 10th in assists per game (18.8 apg) and 23rd in scoring (75.6 ppg).

SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: On a 44-game losing skid that dates back to last season, the Cougars are 0-20 overall and 0-12 in conference play. They dropped another contest, 70-52, at Arizona State on Thursday night.

Junior forward Bianca McCall has scored 20 points or more in four of the Cougars' last six games, and she leads them in both scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). Sophomore guard Jessica Perry is second in scoring, at 9.2 ppg, followed by junior center Candace Fields with 7.6 ppg. Fields is the team's second-leading rebounder, averaging 6.0 boards per game.

In her first year with the Cougars, head coach Sherri Murrell (Pepperdine, 1991) has an 0-20 record. She is 68-66 in five seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON STATE: The Cougars have a very narrow 17-16 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats have won three in a row and seven of the last eight against WSU. The Cats are 8-8 all-time when playing Washington State at home and have won four in a row over WSU in McKale. Arizona's last home loss to Washington State was a 64-61 defeat off a buzzer-beater trey in 1998.

LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON STATE: With four starters in double figures, the Wildcats ran by Washington State, 86-65, in Pullman on Jan. 9.

Despite committing five turnovers in the first 10 minutes of the game, Arizona gained a 22-12 lead midway through the first half. WSU responded with seven unanswered points to cut the lead to just three (22-19) at 7:40, then Arizona used a 14-0 run to go up by 17 points (36-19) with 2:51 left in the period. The Wildcats led, 39-25, at the break.

Sloppy play continued in the second half for the Cats, as they coughed up the ball on each of their first three possessions and ended up with five miscues in the first three minutes of the period. In spite of the turnovers, the Wildcats extended their lead to 24 points (53-29) at 14:56.

Washington State fought back to within 19 points twice over the next nine minutes, but Arizona always had an answer and finally gained its biggest lead of the game at 31 points (84-53) with 4:16 left. Head coach Joan Bonvicini dipped into her bench extensively during the game and had at least four freshmen on the floor at any time during the final five minutes on the clock. WSU out-scored the Wildcats, 12-2, down the stretch, but the spread was just too much for the Cougars to overcome.

Dee-Dee Wheeler led all scorers with 20 points while contributing five rebounds and four assists. Aimee Grzyb registered 18 points and six assists, and Krista Warren shot 6-for-7 from the floor on her way to 12 points and nine rebounds.

Shawntinice Polk was limited to just 16 points and six rebounds, but she did earn five assists in the game. Fellow freshman CoCoa Sanford came off the bench for an outstanding effort of nine points and eight rebounds in only 14 minutes of action. Julie Brase had a game-high seven assists to go with six rebounds.

RECAPPING THE WASHINGTON GAME: With revenge on their minds for a one-point loss earlier this season in Seattle, the Wildcats handed No. 20 Washington a solid 79-66 defeat at home on Thursday.

Arizona scored the first bucket of the game, then Washington notched five straight points, taking a narrow three-point (5-2) lead just over one minute into the game. Then the Wildcats put on a massive 22-5 run to gain a 14-point (24-10) advantage at 13:52. The Huskies used their own 14-4 spurt over the next six minutes to chop Arizona's lead to just four points (28-24), but the Cats responded by out-scoring UW, 17-6, over the remainder of the half to take a 45-30 spread into halftime.

The Wildcats opened the second half with a Dee-Dee Wheeler layup that gave them a 17-point lead, then Washington used a 15-4 surge to slice the deficit to just six points (51-45) with 13:01 left in the game. That would be the closest the Huskies would get for the rest of the contest.

Arizona scored seven unanswered points over the next minute on the clock to put the spread back at 13 points (58-45). UW got back to within nine twice after that, but a 16-4 surge by Arizona late in the game gave the Cats a 19-point (76-57) advantage with only 4:12 left. Washington out-scored the Wildcats, 9-3, down the stretch, but the spread was just too much to overcome.

Dee-Dee Wheeler shot 10-for-18 from the floor on her way to a game-high 25 points, five rebounds and five assists. Hampered by foul trouble most of the game, Shawntinice Polk still got 14 points and 4 rebounds in just 17 minutes of play. Krista Warren contributed 14 points and six rebounds, while Aimee Grzyb had 11 points and four rebounds. Bench players CoCoa Sanford, Danielle Adefeso and Robin Roberson combined for 12 much-needed points and 10 rebounds.

ARIZONA HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has nurtured the Wildcat program into an upward-rising powerhouse. In her previous 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini guided the Wildcats to six post-season appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Now in her 12th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 207-136 (.603) mark at Arizona and is 532-207 (.720) in 23 years as a head coach. She is 23-14 in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game in 13 appearances.

Prior to taking over at the UA, Bonvicini led Long Beach State to 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, including two trips to the Final Four. She registered a 325-71 mark in 12 seasons with the 49ers.

LOOKING AHEAD: Next weekend, the Wildcats head for L.A. for their final Pac-10 road trip of the season. Arizona will play at UCLA on Friday, Feb. 14, at 7 p.m. PST, then they are at USC on Sunday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. PST.

The Cats will end regular season play with three straight home games. They play host to rival Arizona State on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 1 p.m., then Stanford (Feb. 27) and California (Mar. 1) come for a visit.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 38 of their last 48 home games and are 80-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 125-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 191-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

THERE'S REALLY NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arizona's numbers at home have simply been outstanding this season. Not only are the Cats 9-1 in home contests this season, they have out-scored opponents by an average of 14.8oints per game and have out-rebounded opponents by an average of 6.5 boards per game. Arizona is hitting a whopping 50.2 percent (320-638) of its shots from the field in home games, including 37.6 percent (62-165) of its three-point shots. The Cats are averaging 78.7 points, 41.0 rebounds and 20.5 assists per game in McKale this season.

MORE "LOVE" FOR POLKEY: During a "Midseason Report" that was released on Jan. 30, WomensCollegeHoops.com named Polkey as one of its five Freshman All-Americans.

POLKEY RACKING UP THE DOUBLE-DOUBLES: Shawntinice Polk has tallied 15 double-doubles on the year and has tied the school record for most double-doubles in a season, a mark which was 15 set by then-freshman Tonee Buntin in the 1981-82 season.

STEPPING UP: With her team in desperate need of more contribution from its bench players, freshman guard Natalie Jones has responded with some solid performances over the last couple of weeks. In Arizona's last five games, Jones averaged 6.6 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. She shot solid 44.4 percent (12-27) from the field, including 36.4 percent (4-11) from three-point range, and drained 83.3 percent (5-6) of her free throws. Jones reached double figures in scoring in two of the last four games.

TIRED OF LIVING OUT OF A SUITCASE: The Wildcats have had a rough time in road games this season, especially since the start of Pac-10 play. Arizona is just 3-4 in Pac-10 road games so far and has lost three of its last four away contests in conference action. To make matters worse, Arizona played just four games at home from Dec. 22 to Feb. 1, meaning the Cats were on the road for nine of 13 contests in that stretch. The Wildcats have played 11 road games already this year, and USC is the only Pac-10 team that has been on the road more than Arizona, with 14 away games.

Struggling on the road has become a disturbing trend for Arizona over the last few seasons. Since the 2000-01 season, the Wildcats are just 15-21 when playing on the road, including a paltry 9-16 mark in Pac-10 road games. The last time the Cats had a winning road record was in 1999-2000, when they were 9-4 overall and 7-2 in Pac-10 away games.

AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, or at least that's the way it's been for the last several weeks. Over the Cats' last six wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 20.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and shot 53.8 percent (49-91) from the field, including 48.0 percent (12-25) from three-point range.

In the last three losses, Wheeler averaged just 12.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg. She shot just 35.6 percent (16-45) from the field and a mere 18.8 percent (3-16) from beyond the arc. Wheeler didn't hit a single three-pointer in either of the Cats' last two losses.

On the season, Arizona is 7-0 when Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 12-1 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 2-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 14-3 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their six losses... Arizona is 10-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 15-2 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-4 when shooting worse... Arizona is 12-2 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 3-4 when three or fewer players get to double figures... The Wildcats are 9-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: It seems that the 80-point mark almost always means adding another to the "win" column for the Wildcats. In the 31-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 147-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 107-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

WE'RE YOUNGER THAN YOU THINK: At Wisconsin on Jan. 26, the Cats had 12 players available, but it was a very young contingent of six freshmen, three sophomores, one junior and two seniors. With the departure of junior guard Candice Allen, the ineligibility of junior forward Svjetlana Papcevic and the illness of junior guard Aimee Grzyb, the Cats were left with just three upperclass players. Even with Grzyb healthy again, the Cats still have only four experienced players to counterbalance the youth of the nine freshmen and sophomores.

FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 60.4 percent (197-326) from the stripe and have shot better than 59 percent in only nine games.

This is unusual for a Bonvicini-coached team at Arizona. No UA team has ever shot below 65 percent since Bonvicini's arrival in 1991-92, and the Cats hit 70 percent or better from the line in three of the last four seasons. Last year's team drained a sizzling 74.0 percent of its charity shots.

BUT WE'RE GETTING BETTER...: The positive is that, after shooting just 57.3 percent (130-227) from the line over the first 15 games of the season, the Wildcats have hit 67.7 percent (67-99) of their free throws over the last six contests.

DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 19 double-doubles this season. That's the highest team double-doubles total since the 2000-01 team had 21 for the year.

CHECKING THE RPIs: In the Feb. 3 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 35, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 55. Seven of the Cats' opponents this season are in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- LSU (No. 7), Stanford (No. 13), Illinois (No. 19), Georgia (No. 28), Ohio State (No. 29), Washington (No. 34) and New Mexico (No. 46).

GOING POLLING: Eight of the 18 opponents on the Cats' 2002-03 schedule were either ranked or received votes for ranking in this week's polls.

In this week's Associated Press Top 25, LSU is ranked No. 4, Stanford is No. 6, Georgia is No. 17, Washington is No. 20 and Ohio State is No. 25. Illinois and New Mexico were among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 4, Stanford is No. 7, Georgia is No. 18 and Washington is No. 24. Ohio State, Illinois and Pepperdine all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 10 of its last 14 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season but are just 4-4 on TV this year.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is fourth on the UA career list in three-pointers made (112), fourth in three-pointers attempted (304), and fifth in three-point percentage (.368).

Senior forward Krista Warren is fifth in career rebounding average (5.5 rpg), fifth in total rebounds (567), seventh in field goal percentage (.505) and is tied for ninth in double-doubles (8).

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers attempted (371), third in three-pointers made (139), fourth in minutes-played average (30.8 mpg) and fourth in career three-point percentage (.375).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is currently the career leader in three-point percentage (.399), is fifth in career minutes-played average (30.5 mpg), eighth in three-point field goals made (75) and ninth in three-pointers attempted (188).

CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona is giving up an average of 11.0 more points per game in the second half than in the first... The Wildcats have out-rebounded their opponents by 20 boards or more in three games this season... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 367-425 (.463) all-time record, however it is 171-89 (.658) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 201-110 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 9-1 in home games, 6-5 on the road and 0-0 in neutral contests this season. Last year, Arizona was 9-6 at home, 5-7 on the road and 0-1 in neutral games.

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