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Wildcat Women Play Host to Annual Arizona Basketball Classic
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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Nov. 28, 2001

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (3-1 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) plays host to Pittsburgh, No. 20 Wisconsin and Holy Cross this weekend for the 11th annual Arizona Basketball Classic. Pittsburgh and Wisconsin face-off at 6 p.m. in the first game on Friday, Nov. 30, followed by Holy Cross versus Arizona at 8 p.m. The consolation game will be played on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m., with the championship game following at 3 p.m. All four contests will be held in the McKale Center.

TOURNAMENT CONNECTIONS: Part of the Arizona coaching staff from 1995-98, Pittsburgh head coach Traci Waites is the Cats' former associate head coach. She also played for Arizona head coach Joan Bonvicini at Long Beach State in 1988 and 1989.

The current associate head coach at Pittsburgh, Bill Broderick also used to be an assistant coach at Arizona. Another Pittsburgh assistant coach, Lisa (Griffith) Scott played at the UA from 1997-2000 and is married to former Arizona football player, Yusuf Scott. She is the Pac-10 career leader in both three-pointers made and attempted.

Wildcat associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello played collegiately from 1988-91 for Wisconsin head coach Jane Albright when Albright was at the helm of the Northern Illinois program.

ABOUT THE ARIZONA BASKETBALL CLASSIC: Each year since head coach Joan Bonvicini's arrival at Arizona, the Wildcats have played host to a tournament in December. Last year's tournament was temporarily a round-robin with three teams, because of the last-minute withdrawal of the fourth team. However, this year's tournament has reverted back to the original format of a four-team, playoff situation. The tournament has changed names multiple times -- from the Arizona Basketball Classic, to the Copper Bowl Classic, to the Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic, and back to its original title last year.

 
 

Arizona has claimed the title in five of the last six tourneys and has won the whole thing seven times in the 10-year history of the tournament. The Cats have never lost in the first round of their tournament.

LAST YEAR'S TOURNAMENT: The Cats rolled over Bowling Green (99-43) in the first game on Dec. 8, 2000, then they pounded Fresno State (92-55) on Dec. 10 to claim their second straight title. Arizona's Aimee Grzyb, Krista Warren and Elizabeth Pickney were named to the All-Tournament Team, and former Wildcat Reshea Bristol was selected as the Tournament MVP.

ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA) - 9.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.5 apg
45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 20.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.3 bpg
50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX) - 8.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.8 spg
11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL) - 13.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 apg
20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ) - 7.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.8 apg

OFF THE BENCH:
4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA) - 10.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.8 spg
13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA) - 5.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.8 apg
31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA) - 2.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.0 spg
24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN) - 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
44 - Danielle Adefeso (F, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA) - 1.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg

SCOUTING ARIZONA: The Wildcats are 3-1 overall after suffering their first loss of the season at New Mexico (75-67) on Tuesday night. The loss extended Arizona's road losing skid to nine games, dating back to last season. Arizona is not nationally ranked this week, but it did receive multiple votes in both polls and just missed No. 25 in the AP poll by only two votes.

Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney leads Arizona in scoring, with 20.0 points per game, and is second in rebounding at 7.3 per game. Freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second on the scoring chart, with 13.0 ppg, followed by sophomore guard Candice Allen's 10.8 ppg.

Junior wing Krista Warren has the team's top rebounding average, with 8.0 per game, and is fourth in scoring, at 9.0 ppg. Senior center LaKeisha Taylor is averaging 8.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

PICKNEY BECOMES UA CAREER BLOCKS LEADER: With a career-high-tying five blocks at New Mexico on Tuesday, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney has taken over as Arizona's career blocked shots leader. She has 122 career blocks, placing her ahead of former career leader Marte Alexander (1995-98), who had 121.

SCOUTING HOLY CROSS: The Crusaders stand at 3-1 on the season following a 93-57 loss at Boston College on Monday night. Holy Cross will face Northeastern at home on Wednesday before heading to Tucson for the tournament.

With 17.8 points per game, senior guard Amanda Abraham is leading Holy Cross in scoring, followed by junior center Katie O'Keefe's 16.0 ppg. Freshman guard Maggie Fontana is third in scoring, averaging 12.5 ppg, and has the team's best rebounding average, at 8.2 per game. O'Keefe is the second-leading rebounder, with 6.2 per game.

Holy Cross head coach Bill Gibbons (Clark, 1981) holds a 336-143 mark in 17 seasons with the Crusaders.

THE SERIES vs. HOLY CROSS: Holy Cross won the only previous meeting with Arizona, 76-73, on Dec. 7, 1991, in Evanston, Ill.

SCOUTING PITTSBURGH: The Panthers are on a modest two-game win streak after improving their record to 2-2 overall with an 88-53 victory at Robert Morris on Tuesday.

Averaging 14.8 points per game, junior guard Laine Selwyn is topping Pittsburgh in scoring. Fellow junior Mandy Wittenmyer is the team's best rebounder, averaging 11.5 boards per game, and is second on the team in scoring, with 13.5 ppg. Junior forward Dallas Williams (11.0 ppg) and junior guard Brooke Stewart (10.8 ppg) are the only other Panthers averaging in double digits in scoring.

Head coach Traci Waites (Long Beach State, 1989) has a 35-52 record in four seasons at the helm of the Pittsburgh program.

THE SERIES vs. PITTSBURGH: If Arizona and Pittsburgh play on Sunday, it would be the first-ever meeting for the two teams.

SCOUTING WISCONSIN: Ranked 20th in this week's Associated Press poll, the Badgers are 3-1 overall following a 97-55 drubbing of Cleveland State at home on Tuesday. Wisconsin is not ranked in the USA Today/ESPN poll this week, but did receive 72 votes for ranking.

With 20.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, senior forward Jessie Stomski leads Wisconsin in both categories. Fellow senior Tamara Moore is second in scoring, at 15.8 ppg, followed by senior guard Kyle Black with 10.3 ppg. Four other Badgers are averaging four points or more per game.

Wisconsin head coach Jane Albright (Appalachian State, 1977) has a 138-75 record in eight seasons with the Badgers. She is 326-185 in 18 years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. WISCONSIN: Arizona won the only previous meeting with Wisconsin, 67-64, on Nov. 24, 1984, at the Nebraska Invitational.

ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Despite a 17-point performance from senior forward Elizabeth Pickney, Arizona fell to New Mexico, 75-67, in Albuquerque on Tuesday. With a career-high-tying five blocked shots in the game, Pickney has become Arizona's all-time blocks leader, with 122.

Arizona opened the game with an 11-4 spurt that was promptly answered by UNM, which scored 12 unanswered points to take a 16-12 lead midway through the first half. The Wildcats recovered to out-score the Lobos, 20-8, over the remainder of the period and held an eight-point (32-24) advantage at halftime.

The teams traded buckets through the early minutes of the second half, then New Mexico put on a 14-3 run that gave it a 45-42 lead at 11:46. Arizona scored back-toback baskets, gaining a one-point (46-45) edge at 9:31, but that was the Cats' final lead in the game. The Lobos used a 13-6 spurt to go ahead by eight (68-60) with less than two minutes remaining, and the Wildcats never came closer than five over the waning seconds of the game.

In addition to her team-high 17 points, Pickney grabbed eight rebounds, also a team high. Her five blocks allowed her to pass former Wildcat Marte Alexander (1995-98) and take over as Arizona's career blocked shots leader with 122.

Fellow senior LaKeisha Taylor added 11 points and five rebounds, while freshman guard Dee-Dee Whleeler had 10 points and six rebounds in her first collegiate start. Freshman Robin Roberson had a season-high eight points and grabbed four rebounds, and sophomore guard Candice Allen had seven points and a trio of steals. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 3-1 on the season and extended their road losing streak to nine games, dating back to last season.

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 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to six straight postseason appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

In her 11th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 182-118 (.607) mark at Arizona and is 507-189 (.728) 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.

DID YOU KNOW: Since Joan Bonvicini took over the Arizona program in 1991, the Wildcats have gone 94-85 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 60-29 league mark over the last five seasons combined.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach in 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1992) is in her 10th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Fourth-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players and assists with scouting and recruiting. In his third year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players and is the director of the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp.

NEW WILDCAT ON THE WAY: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, are expecting their first child in April 2002.

PICKNEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Nov. 26): Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 18-25.

Pickney averaged 21.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in leading Arizona to a 3-0 start, including an upset win of defending national champion and 15th-ranked Notre Dame. On the week, Pickney shot 95.8 percent (23-of-24) from the line and hit 57.1 percent (20-of-35) from the floor.

In an 81-77 season-opening win over Pepperdine on Nov. 18, Pickney notched 12 points and six rebounds. On Nov. 21, she shot a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line en route to a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds as Arizona downed defending WNIT champion Ohio State, 90-76. Pickney was 8-for-13 from the floor against the Buckeyes.

In the 72-70 win over the Fighting Irish on Nov. 24, she scored a game-high 27 points and posted a team-high eight rebounds. She shot 8-for-13 from the floor and was a perfect 11-for-11 from the line, contributing to the Cats' 20-for-20 school-record performance at the stripe. Pickney scored 21 of UA's 43 second-half points, nailing a lay-up at the buzzer to lift the Cats to a two-point win.

The Player of the Week honor is the fourth of Pickney's career and the 24th all-time selection for Arizona.

SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT: The Cats have performed well from the free throw line so far in this young season, shooting 85.6 percent (77-90) from the line over the first four games. The Cats set a new school record for single game free throw shooting when they were 20-for-20 from the stripe during an upset win over Notre Dame on Nov. 24.

Dee-Dee Wheeler has hit 12 of her 13 attempts from the line, for 92.3 percent, while Elizabeth Pickney has nailed 30-of-33 from the stripe, for 90.9 percent. Aimee Grzyb is shooting 90 percent (9-10) from the line, as well.

A TALE OF TWO HALVES: Arizona is out-scoring opponents during the first half of this season's games by an average of 9.5 points per game, but the Cats are being out-scored by opponents by an average of 6.5 points per game in the second half of this year's contests.

BOMBS AWAY: Arizona is averaging 6.8 three-pointers made per game so far this year, having nailed 27 treys already. They were seven games into the 2001 season before they collected that many three-pointers made last year.

CHALLENGING START: Over these first 15 days of the 2002 season, the Wildcats are playing six games, facing at least five teams that saw postseason action in 2001. That slate includes last year's WNIT champion Ohio State, the NCAA champion Notre Dame and the WNIT runner-up New Mexico.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Cats hit the road again next weekend to open a two-game road swing. Arizona plays at Rice on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. CST. The Wildcats will have an eight-day break in action before they play at Stephen F. Austin on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 1:30 p.m. CST.

Arizona begins Pac-10 play at home against the Bay Area schools during the third week of December. The Cats face Stanford on Wednesday, Dec. 19, then take on California on Friday, Dec. 21. Both contests will tip at 7 p.m.

STRONG SCHEDULE: Seven of the 19 opponents on the Cats' 2001-02 schedule were either ranked or receiving votes for ranking in the most recent polls.

In this week's Associated Press Poll, Stanford is No. 7, Wisconsin is No. 20 and Notre Dame is No. 23. Arizona State, USC, Washington and Oregon all received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is No. 7 and Notre Dame is No. 23. Wisconsin, Washington, Arizona State, USC and UC Santa Barbara were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.

CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 12 different statistical categories. She just become Arizona's career leader in blocked shots, with 122. Pickney is also tied for second in free throws made (356), is third in free throws attempted (472), fourth in career rebounding average (5.6 rpg), fourth in scoring average (12.9 ppg), fifth in games started (88) and sixth in field goals made (445).

Pickney is sixth on Arizona's career scoring chart, with 1249 points. She needs only 11 points to move into the fifth-place spot, which is currently occupied by her former teammate Reshea Bristol (1998-2001), who had 1260 career points.

Junior guard Julie Brase is third in career three-point percentage (.377), is eighth in career three-pointers made (58) and is tied for ninth in three-pointers attempted (154). Only a sophomore, guard Aimee Grzyb is already fourth in three-point percentage (.357), ninth in three-pointers made (55) and tied for ninth in three-pointers attempted (154).

GOTTA REBOUND: Arizona has been out-rebounded in three of the season's four games so far. They are being out-rebounded by an average of 7.5 boards per game. Most recently, the Cats were out-rebounded by New Mexico, 52-35, on Nov. 27, a difference of 17 boards.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 23 of their last 26 home games and are 45-8 on their home court over the last four seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 11 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 110-43 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 176-151 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

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 30-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 136-18 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 96-11 when topping that 80-point plateau.

BY THE NUMBERS: The Cats have hit four or more 3-pointers in all four games this season... Arizona has had 15 or more assists in three games... The Cats have had 12 or more steals in three games... Arizona has forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in three contests... The UA has scored 80 points or better in two games.

KEYS TO THE WIN: This season, Arizona is... 2-0 when shooting WORSE than its opponent from the floor... 3-0 when shooting 80% or better from the line... 2-0 when four or more players reached double digits in scoring... 3-0 when forcing more turnovers than it committed... 3-0 when scoring 70 points or more.

CAT SCRATCHES: On a nine-game road losing skid, the Cats haven't won a road game since a 68-65 victory at Stanford on Jan. 6, 2001... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 341-406 (.456) all-time record, however it is 145-70 (.674) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 184-98 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: This year, Arizona is 3-0 at home, 0-1 on the road and 0-0 in neutral games. Last season, the Wildcats were 15-2 at home, 4-9 in road games and 1-1 in neutral contests.

THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-3 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last eight years.

CATS INK THREE DURING FALL SIGNING PERIOD: The Wildcats signed three players during the fall signing period last week. Shawntinice Polk (Hanford, Calif./Hanford HS), Svjetlana Papcevic (Sarajevo, Bosnia/Pratt Kans. CC) and Natalie Jones (Anchorage, Alaska/East Anchorage HS) all signed National Letters of Intent.

Polk originally signed with Arizona last year, but her NLI was rendered void when she failed to meet academic requirements for this school year. She signed a new letter during the early signing period this fall.

GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won seven straight season openers and nine in the 11 years she has been at the UA.

CATS DEALT ANOTHER BLOW: After already losing one guard to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury before the season ever started, the Wildcats lost yet another guard to an ACL tear during the last week of October. Freshman Katrina Lindner, who is from Glengowrie, South Australia, tore her right knee ACL late in the first half of the Red & Blue Game on Oct. 30. She will have surgery some time late in November and will be redshirted for the season.

The Wildcats lost sophomore guard Jenn Chesney to an ACL tear during preseason workouts in September. She had surgery to repair the injury and will also be redshirting this season.

This was the third ACL injury the Wildcats had in only seven months. The first was when then-sophomore Krista Warren suffered the same injury at Oregon in early March.

CLARK WITHDRAWS FROM SCHOOL: Guard Mandakova Clark, who would have sat out this year after transferring from Rutgers, withdrew from the University of Arizona at the end of October and will not be returning to the school.

INAUGURAL PAC-10 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: The first-ever Pac-10 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament will be held on Mar. 1-4, 2002, at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. The winner of the tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.

ITALY TOUR 2001: On May 18 through June 2, the Wildcats went to Italy for the program's third foreign tour. The tour began in Venice then advanced to Verona, Como, Milan, Lucca, Pisa, Florence and concluded in Rome. The Cats went 5-1 against club teams in many of these cities and visited a multitude of historical sites along the way.

Elizabeth Pickney was the team's second-leading scorer (21.7 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (6.2 rpg). LaKeisha Taylor was the second-leading rebounder (7.5 rpg), and Candice Allen finished the tour as the third-leading scorer, with 11.7 ppg.

Seeing her first action since March 2000, Julie Brase averaged 10.5 ppg and 5.5 apg. Aimee Grzyb posted 9.2 ppg and 4.0 apg, while Jenn Chesney averaged 4.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Krista Warren went with the team on the trip, but was unable to play because she was still rehabilitating from an ACL injury suffered last March.

DOUBLING UP: The Wildcats collected a total of 21 double-doubles last season, the program's highest double-double total since the 1995-96 team tallied 21. Of Arizona's 21 double-doubles during the year, eight belonged to guard Reshea Bristol, and all of hers were points-assists double-doubles. Six different Wildcats logged double-doubles during the season.

2000-01 IN REVIEW: Arizona certainly saw its share of ups and downs during the 2000-01 season. The Cats started the year with a short squad of 12 players, only two of whom were starters at the end of the 2000 season. Through a variety of injuries, player departures and academic issues, the Wildcat roster was decimated, and the team was down to only eight active players by season's end.

Despite all the distractions and the prevailing inexperience of last year's squad, the Wildcats finished the year with a 20-12 overall record, their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. They were 9-9 in Pac-10 play and finished in fifth place, their lowest finish since 1995.

For the first time since 1996, Arizona failed to earn an NCAA tournament berth, but it did receive a Women's National Invitation Tournament slot. The Wildcats downed Pepperdine, 85-65, in the first round of the WNIT but fell, 75-62, at New Mexico in the second round to end their season. The WNIT berth gave the Wildcats their sixth straight postseason appearance, the third-longest active postseason streak in the Pac-10.

The team set or tied 39 school records last year, including most home victories (15), most points scored in a season (2,521) and highest single season scoring average (78.8 ppg).

Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring offense (78.8 ppg), scoring margin (+9.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.470) and assists (16.59 apg). The Cats were second in both free throw percentage (.700) and rebounding (39.8 rpg) and were third in field goal percentage defense (.400) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86).

2000-01 ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney ended the season as the Cats' leading scorer, with 16.4 ppg, and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). Senior guard Reshea Bristol was second in scoring, with 15.6 ppg, and ended the year as the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.56 apg).

Junior center LaKeisha Taylor (9.5 ppg) and sophomore wing Krista Warren (9.3 ppg) were fourth and fifth, respectively, in scoring. Warren was the team's third-leading rebounder, averaging 5.4 rpg.

In addition to leading the Pac-10 in assists, Bristol was second in steals (3.0 spg), fifth in scoring and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.34). Pickney was third in the league in scoring, fourth in blocked shots (1.47 bpg), sixth in field goal percentage (.505) and ninth in rebounding. Taylor was second in field goal percentage (.587).

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