COMING UP: The No. 25 Arizona women’s basketball team (9-2, 1-0) plays a 7 p.m. (PDT) game at Washington State (4-6, 0-1) Wednesday, Dec. 29, in Pullman, Wash. Live audio of this and every game is available at www.arizonaathletics.com, as well as on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona spent the entire day Tuesday trying to get to Pullman. The Wildcats arrived at the Seattle airport around 8:30 a.m. However, due to fog, their flight was delayed several times before it was finally cancelled around 4 p.m. At that point, Arizona collected its luggage, chartered a bus and waited for it to arrive. Some six hours later, at 11:15 p.m., the Wildcats arrived at their hotel in Pullman.
On Monday night, two of Arizona’s starters left the game with injuries, yet the Wildcats persevered to open Pacific-10 play with a 67-63 win over Washington. Freshman Jessica Arnold left the game late in the first half after injuring her left shoulder, while junior All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk exited with 28 seconds left in the game with a knee injury. Arizona shot 46 percent from the field on the game, but just 11 percent from beyond the arc and 52 percent from the charity stripe. Washington connected on 35 percent of its shots, including 30 percent from three-point range. The Wildcats edged the Huskies in rebounds, 44 to 40, but committed 17 turnovers. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler, who was scoreless in the first half, led all players with 18 points. Polk recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds. She also dished out a game-high six assists, nabbed a game-high three steals and blocked two shots. Freshman Ch?© Oh rounded out the group of Wildcats in double-figure scoring with a career-high 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting. She also pulled down six boards.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Wheeler, who averages 18.0 points, 4.7 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game. Polk adds 13.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, while junior Natalie Jones averages 10.0 points and 4.9 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is out-shooting its opponents 47 percent to 35 percent and out-rebounding them 40.4 to 35.9.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Washington State dropped its Pac-10 opener 67-39 to Arizona State at home on Monday. The Cougars were out-shot 42 percent to 29 percent and out-rebounded 42 to 35 by the Sun Devils. Ariana Scales led WSU with 10 points, while Kate Benz added eight points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
On the season, the Cougars are led by Adriane Ferguson, who averages 12.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Benz adds 11.9 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. As a team, Washington State is shooting 35 percent from the field, compared to the 39 percent of its opponents. The Cougars are being outscored 59.9 to 55.5, but are out-rebounding opponents 38.9 to 37.6.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona leads the all-time series with Washington State 19-17 and has won six in a row. In the last meeting between the two teams, on Feb. 26, 2004, Arizona won 77-72 in Pullman. The Wildcats are 10-8 at home and 9-9 away vs. the Cougars.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: The Wildcats currently lead the Pacific-10 in scoring (75.3), field goal percentage (.468), blocked shots (4.6) and defensive rebounds (26.2), rank second in rebounding (40.4) and field goal percentage defense (.354), third in rebounding margin (4.5) and scoring margin (13.7), fourth in assists (16.1), and fifth in offensive rebounds (14.2), assist/turnover ratio (0.9), three-point field goal percentage (.340), scoring defense (61.5) and rebounding defense (35.9).
Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler ranks second in assist/turnover ratio, third in scoring and steals, fourth in assists, sixth in minutes played and 10th in free throw percentage. Shawntinice Polk leads the league in blocked shots and defensive rebounds, ranks second in rebounding, third in field goal percentage, seventh in scoring and ninth in offensive rebounds. Shannon Hobson ranks 13th and Natalie Jones ranks 18th in rebounding, while Jessica Arnold is fifth in three-point field goal percentage.
RANKING NATIONALLY: As a team, Arizona ranks 17th nationally in scoring, 19th in field goal percentage, 36 in scoring margin and won-lost percentage, 40th in blocked shots and 41st in field goal percentage defense.
Individually, junior Shawntinice Polk ranks 12th in field goal percentage and 23rd in blocked shots per game. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler ranks 41st in assists per game, 45th in steals per game and 48th in points per game.
INJURED IN SEATTLE: Monday’s game at Washington took its toll on the Arizona women’s basketball team. Junior All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk went down with a left knee injury just before the game’s conclusion. Freshman guard Jessica Arnold exited in the first half with a left shoulder injury. Neither player will see action Wednesday night as both are awaiting return to Tucson to see a team doctor.
OH WHAT AN IMPACT: Playing in front of her hometown for the first time of her career, freshman Ch?© Oh definitely made a statement. She finished with a career-high 12 points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the field. She also pulled down a career-high six boards in the game. The forward will get her first career start Wednesday night against the Cougars.
WHEELER NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is the reigning U.S. Bank Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week. A senior from Chicago, Wheeler averaged 27.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 3.5 steals in two games as Arizona defeated UC Santa Barbara and Chicago State. On the week, she shot 51 percent from the field (21-of-41), including a .538 clip (7-of-13) from long range. The honor is the second for Wheeler and the 33rd all-time selection for Arizona.
Wheeler posted her best game ever as a Wildcat in the 96-80 win over UC Santa Barbara on Dec. 16. She tied the school record for points in a game (35) and three-pointers in a game (7) as Arizona won its 33rd straight home game. Both were career highs. She also pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds to record her second career double-double.
At Chicago State on Dec. 19, Wheeler finished with game highs in points (20) and assists (6). She also added five rebounds and three steals.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: In the program’s 33-year history, the Wildcats are almost guaranteed a win when they reach 80 points. Arizona is 159-20 (89 percent) all-time when reaching the 80-point plateau. With Joan Bonvicini at the helm, the Wildcats are 120-13 (90 percent) when scoring 80 points or more. This year alone, Arizona is 4-0 in games where it has reached 80 points in the scoring column.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 44 consecutive games. The last time she failed to reach double-digit scoring was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 91 of her 103 career games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 41 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and four as a junior). The longest streak came at the start of her career, when she opened the 2002-03 season with eight consecutive double-doubles. During her three seasons, the Wildcats are 31-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in field goals made (625), field goals attempted (1,357) and minutes played average (32.1), third in scoring (1,600) and steals (247), fourth in scoring average (15.5), three-point field goals made (147) and three-point field goals attempted (420), sixth in games started (98) and total minutes played (3,311), tied for sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.350), and eighth in assists (384) and free throw percentage (.741).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (41), blocks (189), rebounding average (10.3) and field goal percentage (.593), second in total rebounds (772), third in scoring average (16.5), sixth in field goals made (512) and free throws attempted (387), seventh in minutes played average (28.9) and eighth in scoring (1,240).
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 33: The Cats have won 33 games in a row at home, the second longest streak in the nation behind Texas (39). The last time the Wildcats were defeated at home was Nov. 22, 2002, when they lost the 2002-03 season opener in overtime to Louisiana State, 78-71. Arizona then won its final 13 homes games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks 45th nationally in attendance with an average attendance of 1,915. Connecticut is the leader with a 13,231 average, while Pac-10 opponents Oregon, Washington and Stanford rank 24th, 28th and 30th, respectively, at 3,399, 2,938 and 2,916.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in his 10th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have three games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Sunday, Jan. 9 - 2:30 p.m. vs. Stanford
Saturday, Jan. 29 - 4 p.m. vs. Maryland
Saturday, Feb. 19 - 2 p.m. at Oregon
In addition, the Wildcats’ home games against Southern California (Feb. 12) and Washington (Feb. 26) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package with FSN.
UP NEXT: Arizona concludes its four-game road swing with a 6:30 p.m. game at instate rival Arizona State next Monday, Jan. 3.