Nov. 11, 2002
Tucson, Ariz. (Nov. 11) - With a team-high 22 points, sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler led five Wildcats who reached double digits in scoring as the University of Arizona women's basketball team trounced BK CZ MUS Strakonice in a home exhibition on Monday, 90-69.
The Wildcats struggled early in the contest and seemed unable to pull away from Strakonice, a club team from the Czech Republic. Strakonice held a three-point (12-9) lead at 12:10 in the first half, then the Cats scored eight unanswered points to go up by five (17-12) two minutes later.
The Czech club scraped back to within one point (17-16) at 9:44, which Arizona answered with a 15-6 run that gave the Cats a 10-point (32-22) advantage with 4:38 left in the half. Strakonice never came any closer than four points for the remainder of the period, and Arizona had a 43-32 lead at halftime.
Arizona extended its lead to 14 points (51-37) by opening the second half with a 9-5 spurt and maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. A 19-8 run late in the game stretched the UA's lead to 24 points (88-64), its largest of the game, with 1:10 to play. The Wildcats played the final 1:30 of the contest with five freshmen on the floor.
In addition to Wheeler's 22 points, freshman center Shawntinice Polk logged 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while shooting 6-for-8 from the floor. Fellow freshman Natalie Jones had 16 points off the bench, and sophomore guard Aimee Grzyb contributed 14 points. Senior forward Krista Warren tallied 12 points and seven rebounds.
"I thought we played well at times. We're not clicking on all cylinders, though. We need to pressure the ball better. I feel like we rebounded well, and we took care of the ball well. We just didn't execute well offensively," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "We had a lot of freshmen on the floor, but they didn't always play like freshmen. The first part of the game, we had some real nervous players. After the 10-minute mark, they settled down a bit.
"It was good for us to play someone else. It gave us a chance to see what we need to work on. We got a chance to see what we need to improve upon. There's a lot we need to work on before we face LSU. We have a week of practice to work on some things."
The Cats will have another exhibition game on Sunday, Nov. 17, against Team Concept at 2 p.m., then they open the 2002-03 season at home against No. 3 Louisiana State on Friday, Nov. 22, at 7 p.m.