March 4, 2003
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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 22nd-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (20-7 overall; 13-5 Pac-10) will have a chance to avenge an earlier loss to Oregon State when the Wildcats take on the Beavers in the first round of the 2003 State Farm Pac-10 Women's Basketball Tournament this weekend. The third-seeded Cats will face No. 6 seed Oregon State on Saturday, Mar. 8, at 1:15 p.m. PST.
The tournament will run from Mar. 7-10 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The bottom four seeds will have "play-in" games on Mar. 7, then first-round play begins at 11 a.m. PST on Mar. 8, with the No. 2 seed Washington taking on the winner of the game between No. 7 USC and No. 10 Washington State.
Ninth-ranked Stanford enters as the No. 1 seed for the second straight year. The Cardinal will play the winner of the No. 8 Arizona State-No. 9 California game in the first round at 5 p.m. PST on Mar. 8.
Arizona finished the season in a tie with Washington for second place in the Pac-10 standings, but the Wildcats were given the No. 3 seed through the tie-breaker procedure. Arizona's game against the Beavers in the first round of the tournament can be heard live in Tucson on KJLL 1330 AM and over the internet at www.arizonaathletics.com beginning at 1:45 p.m. Tucson time.
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.)
#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: Standing at 20-7 overall and 13-5 in Pac-10 play, Arizona rides a four-game win streak into the conference tournament this weekend. The Cats' 13 conference wins this year is their highest Pac-10 victory total since the 1999-2000 team got 13 league wins. The four-game win streak, which includes last weekend's home victories over No. 9 Stanford (79-64) and California (68-51), equals the Wildcats' longest win streak of the season.
The Cats finished regular-season Pac-10 action in a tie for second place with Washington, matching their best league finish ever. The Cats previously tied for second in both the 1997-98 and 1999-2000 seasons. Arizona also finished the year with a perfect 9-0 mark in conference play at home for the first time in school history.
The Wildcats have logged their first 20-win season since 2000-01, and this is the first time they've reached 20 wins in regular-season play since the 1999-2000 season.
With averages of 17.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both categories. With a school-record 19 double-doubles on the season, Polk has set new school records for single-season rebounding (291), single-season blocked shots (73) and freshman scoring (482 pts).
Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring, with 16.7 ppg, and is third in rebounding, with 4.7 rpg. Senior forward Krista Warren is second in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game, and is third in scoring (11.4 ppg). Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth on the scoring chart, at 11.1 ppg.
POLKEY IS PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK ONCE AGAIN (Mar. 3): Shawntinice Polk has been named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Feb. 24-Mar. 2. She is the first freshman in the history of the conference to be named Player of the Week four times in the same season.
Polk averaged 22.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.0 blocks, 1.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game while leading Arizona to its first home sweep of the Bay Area schools in four years. She shot 69.2 percent (18-of-26) from the floor for the weekend and averaged just 27.0 minutes per game. She scored more than 20 points in back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The Player of the Week honor is the fourth for Polk and the 29th all-time selection for Arizona. This is the first time ever that Arizona has had five Pac-10 Players of the Week in the same season. The previous high was four during the 1999-2000 season.
CATS IN THE RANKINGS: Arizona moved up two spots to No. 22 in this week's Associated Press Top 25. That's the highest the Wildcats have been in that poll since coming in at No. 19 in the Jan. 20 rankings. Arizona is still No. 24 in the WBCA/ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll for the third straight week.
CATS IN THE PAC-10 STATS: As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.481), field goal percentage defense (.380), rebounding (39.9 rpg) and blocked shots (4.04 bpg).
Individually, Shawntinice Polk leads the league in rebounding (10.8 rpg), field goal percentage (.625) and blocked shots (2.70 bpg) and is second in scoring (17.9 ppg). Julie Brase is the conference leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.00) and is third in assists (4.15 apg). Krista Warren is second in field goal percentage (.574), and Dee-Dee Wheeler is fourth in scoring (16.7 ppg).
CATS IN THE NATIONAL STATS: In this week's NCAA statistics, through games of Mar. 3, Shawntinice Polk is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.625), 10th in blocked shots (2.7 bpg) and 12th in rebounding (10.8 rpg). Polkey is the only freshman among the top 25 rebounders in the nation, and she is the only freshman in the top 10 in blocked shots. Polk's school-record nine blocked shots against Cal on Mar. 1 ties as the second-best single-game performance in the nation this year.
In the NCAA team stats, Arizona is seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.481), 19th in assists per game (17.4 apg) and 25th in scoring (74.6 ppg).
SCOUTING OREGON STATE: With five losses in its last seven games, Oregon State is 14-13 overall and 8-10 in conference action after being swept at UCLA (82-71) and at USC (87-44) last week to wrap up regular-season play. The Beavers have been an extreme example of the "Pac-10 teams can only win at home" phenomenon this year. OSU registered an outstanding 12-2 record in home games this season but had a paltry 2-11 mark on the road.
Averaging 12.2 points per game, junior forward Hollye Chapman leads the Beavers in scoring and is second in rebounding, with 6.0 rpg. Junior guard Leilani Estavan is second in scoring, at 11.7 ppg, followed by junior center Brina Chaney's 8.6 points per game. Chaney is the team's top rebounder, averaging 6.3 per contest.
In her eighth season with the Beavers, head coach Judy Spoelstra (Oregon State, 1983) has a 109-118 record at her alma mater. She has a career mark of 207-186 in 14 years as a head coach.
THE SERIES vs. OREGON STATE: The Beavers have a narrow 19-17 lead in the series with Arizona. Oregon State has won four of the last five meetings with the Wildcats, including a 71-65 overtime victory over the Cats in Corvallis on Jan. 30. Arizona's only win in that stretch was a 72-44 blowout of the Beavers in Tucson on Jan. 4. The series between the two teams has a recent history of close games, with exception of the Cats' home win earlier this season. Oregon State's last four victories have been by an average of just six points per game, and the last two times the Beavers beat the Cats, they needed overtime to do it.
LAST MEETING WITH OREGON STATE: The Wildcats lost their second overtime game of the season on Jan. 30 with a 71-65 defeat at Oregon State, their third loss in a row in Corvallis.
The first half was a close one, featuring five ties and four lead changes. Neither team could gain more than a four-point advantage until the Cats ended the half on an 8-2 spurt that gave them a six-point (29-23) lead at the break.
Oregon State opened the second stanza by scoring seven unanswered points and went up by one (30-29) less than two minutes into the period. The second half was just as close as the first, with 11 ties and seven lead changes in that period alone.
The Wildcats held a narrow three-point (61-58) advantage with 2:19 remaining but missed four shots and had one turnover to remain scoreless down the stretch. OSU scored a bucket with 1:32 left to get to within one, then a foul committed by Arizona's Shawntinice Polk sent Beaver guard Leilani Estavan to the line. She hit just one of her two attempts to tie the game with 24 seconds left, sending the contest into overtime.
Arizona scored right away in the overtime period then had another bucket with 3:02 left, but the Cats were done offensively, as they missed six shots in the extra time. OSU also hit just two field goals in the overtime but shot 6-for-8 from the free throw line to seal the win.
Polk led the Cats with 18 points and 11 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. Aimee Grzyb came off the bench for 15 points, including three 3-pointers in the first half alone, while Krista Warren and Dee-Dee Wheeler contributed 12 points each.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION: With an upset win over No. 9 Stanford (79-64) and a solid 68-51 victory over California last weekend, the Wildcats earned their first home sweep of the Bay Area schools in four years.
Shooting 15-for-16 from the line in the final two minutes of the game, Arizona pulled off a 79-64 upset of ninth-ranked Stanford at home on Feb. 27. A 22-5 run midway through the first half and a 9-0 spurt late in the second gave the Wildcats the momentum they needed to roll to their largest margin of victory over Stanford in 17 years.
Dee-Dee Wheeler finished with a game-high 26 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the floor, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. Shawntinice Polk hit 9-of-13 from the floor on her way to 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, marking her 19th double-double of the season.
On Mar. 1, Shawntinice Polk ripped off a game-high 22 points and blocked a school-record nine shots to lead Arizona to a 68-51 win over California at home. After a brutally tight first half, Arizona exploded for a 21-3 run midway through the second half that put the game away for good.
In addition to Polk's 22 points, Krista Warren registered 16 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Dee-Dee Wheeler had 11 points and four rebounds, and Danielle Adefeso added seven points and four boards off the bench.
DENISE DOVE IANELLO TO DEPART PROGRAM: After 11 seasons as a member of the Arizona women's basketball staff, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Denise Dove Ianello will be leaving the program at the end of the season. Her husband, Rob Ianello, has taken a position with the football staff at Wisconsin, and the couple will be moving with their 11-month-old son Zachary to Madison in a few weeks. Rob Ianello leaves after nine years with the Arizona football coaching staff.
LOOKING AHEAD: Hoping for a return to the "Big Dance" for the first time since the 1999-2000 season, the team will gather on Sunday, Mar. 16, to watch the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on ESPN at 3 p.m. The Cats last saw postseason action in the WNIT at the end of the 2000-01 season.
RECORD-SETTING ROOKIE: Freshman phenom Shawntinice Polk has already set eight school records this season and could set at least three more before the season is over. If she keeps up her current stat averages through season's end, she could also set new UA single-season records for rebounding average, field goal percentage and freshman scoring average.
TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT THE PAC-10 STATS: In conference action only, Arizona is the top team in the league in scoring defense (61.7 ppg), scoring margin (+11.9 ppg), field goal percentage (.481), field goal percentage defense (.373) and blocked shots (4.17 bpg). Arizona is the only team in the Pac-10 that is holding conference opponents under 40 percent shooting in league play.
In Pac-10 games, Shawntinice Polk is the conference leader in rebounding (9.8 rpg), field goal percentage (.639) and blocked shots (2.78 bpg).
CATS BREAK SCHOOL BLOCKS RECORD: As a team, the Wildcats have set a new school record for single-season blocked shots, with 109. The old record was 102 set by the 2000-01 squad.
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT THIRTEEN: The Cats have won 13 games in a row at home, tying 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 logged 13 straight home victories from Nov. 18, 2000, to Feb. 18, 2001. The school record for longest home win streak is 15 games from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 42 of their last 52 home games and are 84-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 129-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 195-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
THERE'S REALLY NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Arizona's numbers at home were simply outstanding this season. Not only were the Cats 13-1 in home contests this season, they out-scored opponents by an average of 16.5 points per game and out-rebounded opponents by an average of 5.9 boards per game. Arizona hit 48.9 percent (431-882) of its shots from the field in home games, including a solid 34.2 percent (75-219) from three-point range. The Cats averaged 77.6 points, 41.2 rebounds and 18.2 assists per game in McKale this season.
AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, and that's definitely the way it's been for the last several weeks. Over the Cats' last 11 wins, Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 19.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and shot 50.3 percent (83-165) from the field, including 42.2 percent (19-45) from three-point range. On the season, Arizona is 9-0 when Dee-Dee Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark.
In the Wildcats' last four losses, Wheeler averaged only 13.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg. She shot just 36.6 percent (23-63) from the field and a mere 19.2 percent (5-26) from beyond the arc.
CATS REGISTER BEST HOME ATTENDANCE EVER: With an average of 2,867 fans per game for home contests this year, the Wildcats saw the best home attendance average in the program's history. That average was up by more than 700 fans per game over the 2001-02 average, and it eclipsed the previous best average of 2,556 set during the 1999-2000 season.
TAKING DOWN THE RANKED TEAMS: The Wildcats have beaten three ranked teams this season, the most wins over Top 25 teams since beating four ranked squads in 1997-98.
LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won 11 of its last 15 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season but are just 5-4 on TV this year.
LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The Wildcats are 14-2 this season when out-rebounding their opponents... They are 5-5 when being out-rebounded... The Cats are 19-4 when holding their opponents to 73 points or less... They gave up 78 points or more in three of their seven losses... Arizona is 13-0 when scoring 75 or more points... The Cats are 20-3 when shooting better than their opponent from the floor but are 0-4 when shooting worse... Arizona is 14-2 when four or more players reach double digits in scoring but is only 6-5 when three or fewer players get to double figures... The Wildcats are 10-2 when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
DON'T LIKE 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 went just 4-5 in Pac-10 road games and lost four of its last six road contests in conference action.
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 16-22 when playing on the road, including a paltry 10-17 mark in Pac-10 road games. The last time the Cats had a decent road record was in 1999-2000, when they were 9-4 overall and 7-2 in Pac-10 away games.
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 148-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 108-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.
FREE THROW WOES: The Wildcats have really struggled from the free throw line this season. They are shooting a paltry 62.6 percent (284-454) from the stripe and have shot better than 60 percent in only 13 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 67.5 percent (143-212) of their free throws over the last 11 contests. The Cats shot a season-high 85.0 percent (17-20) from the line when they played at USC on Feb. 16.
DOUBLING UP: As a team, the Cats have tallied 23 double-doubles this season, setting a new school record for most double-doubles in a season. The old mark was 22 double-doubles, set by the 1981-82 squad.
CHECKING THE RPIs: In the Mar. 2 WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank was No. 30, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 78. Eight of the Cats' opponents this season are currently in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- LSU (No. 4), Stanford (No. 15), Georgia (No. 19), Ohio State (No. 24), Illinois (No. 28), New Mexico (No. 39), Washington (No. 41) and Pepperdine (No. 45).
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. 6, Stanford is No. 9, Georgia is No. 17 and Washington is No. 25. Ohio State was among teams that received votes for ranking.
In the WBCA/ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 5, Stanford is No. 8 and Georgia is No. 19. Washington, Ohio State, Pepperdine, New Mexico and UCLA all received votes for ranking.
CAT SCRATCHES: In Pac-10 play, Arizona gave up an average of 8.3 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 372-426 (.466) all-time record, however it is 176-90 (.662) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 206-111 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 13-1 in home games, 7-6 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.