Nov. 11, 2003
WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (No. 23 AP/No. 22 USA Today) will play its final preseason tune-up against an Athletes in Action team on Thursday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m. in the McKale Center. Admission is $6 for adults, $6 for UA faculty and staff, $4 for senior citizens, and $4 for youth (high school and younger). Tickets for UA students are $4, or students with a Zona Zoo pass can get in for free.
SEASON OPENER IS KIDS' DAY: The Wildcats' season opener against Northern Arizona on Saturday, Nov. 22, will be Kids' Day in McKale Center. Festivities start with free games and activities on the outer concourse on the north side of McKale at 12 p.m. Youth admission to the game that day is just $1.
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, So., Inglewood, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, So., Hanford, Calif.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, So., Anchorage, Alaska)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Sr., San Jose, Calif.)
OFF THE BENCH:
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, So., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Sr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.)
#50 - Shannon Hobson (F/C, 6-2, Fr., Perris, Calif.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, So., Glengowrie, Australia)
#10 - Linda Pace (G, 5-9, Fr., San Diego, Calif.)
#25 - Rachael Schein (G/F, 5-11, Fr., Las Vegas, Nev.)
SCOUTING ARIZONA: Ranked No. 23 in the preseason Associated Press poll and No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Arizona returns 10 letterwinners from a 2003 squad that went 22-9 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-10. The Wildcats were the runners-up in last year's Pac-10 Tournament after finishing in a tie for second with Washington during regular-season conference play.
Arizona is coming off a big 87-52 exhibition win over the Latvian Select team at home on Nov. 4. Four Cats reached double digits in scoring in the game, and no one played more than 25 minutes in the contest. Head coach Joan Bonvicini let rebounding performances during the previous week's practice determine her starting lineup for the Nov. 4 game, and all three freshmen ended up with the starting nod.
Three starters return this year, led by All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk (17.4 ppg), a redshirt sophomore center. Also returning are senior guard Aimee Grzyb (10.5 ppg) and junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler (16.2 ppg).
CATS CONDUCT GIRL SCOUT CLINIC THIS WEEKEND: In conjunction with the Tucson Girl Scouts Council, the Arizona women's basketball team will be conducting a clinic for the Girl Scouts on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m. in McKale Center.
SCOUTING ATHLETES IN ACTION: The Athletes in Action team is in the midst of a 12-game tour of schools in the Midwest and the West. AIA has a 4-3 record on its tour thus far, most recently defeating Wright State, 90-74, in Dayton, Ohio, on Monday night.
Forward Katie Voigt, a product of the University of Wisconsin, leads AIA in scoring, averaging 18.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Guard Mandy Arndtson, from the University of North Dakota, is second in scoring, with 16.9 points per game and is the team's top rebounder at 7.6 rpg. Forward Lisa Eckart (Indiana, 2003) is third with an average of 11.3 ppg, followed by guard Jen Roulier (Colorado, 2002) with 10.7 ppg. Guard Tasha Pointer, from Rutgers, is averaging a whopping 7.9 assists per game to go with 8.9 ppg.
HAVE WE MET BEFORE?: Thursday's game won't mark the first time that Athletes in Action guard Tasha Pointer has faced the Wildcats. During Arizona's second-round NCAA tournament game at Rutgers on Mar. 14, 1999, Pointer was a starting guard for the Scarlet Knights. Just a sophomore at the time, Pointer shot 5-for-8 from the floor and 6-for-6 from the line on her way to a game-high 18 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. Rutgers pounded the Wildcats in that contest, 90-47, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Nearly every player scored for Arizona as the Wildcats steam-rolled the Latvian Select team, 87-52, in an exhibition game at home on Nov. 4.
The Cats opened the contest with a 13-5 spurt that was countered with a 9-2 run by the Latvians, cutting Arizona's lead to just one (15-14) midway through the first half. Arizona answered with a 13-3 run that gave the Cats an 11-point lead (28-17) with six minutes left in the period. The Wildcats closed the half with a 21-7 run that gave them a monster 49-24 lead at the break.
Barely six minutes into the second half, Arizona pushed its lead to 38 points (70-32). The Cats hovered around that spread for about five minutes on the clock, then stretched it to 40 points (80-40) with 8:06 to play. That would be the Wildcats' largest lead of the night, as head coach Joan Bonvicini took advantage of the spread to give her bench plenty of playing time. The Latvians out-scored the Cats, 12-7, over the final eight minutes, but the cushion proved to be enough as Arizona logged a win over its first outside competition of the 2003-04 season.
Eleven of the 12 Wildcats who played made it onto the scoreboard during the game. Shawntinice Polk racked up 14 points, nine rebounds and four blocks while playing just 17 minutes in the contest. Aimee Grzyb came off the bench for 14 points, hitting four of her five 3-point attempts.
Sophomore guard Natalie Jones added 12 points and nine rebounds, and freshman forward Shannon Hobson just missed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds and nine points. Dee-Dee Wheeler contributed 11 points and a game-high six assists.
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 13 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to seven post-season appearances, including five NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.
Entering her 13th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 214-139 (.606) mark at Arizona and is 539-210 (.720) in 23 years as a head coach. She has a career record of 23-15 in NCAA tournament play and has lost in the first round only once 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 118-100 against Pac-10 teams, although they have an 84-45 mark against conference teams over the last six seasons combined.
LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona will officially tip-off the 2003-04 season on Saturday, Nov. 22, against Northern Arizona at 2 p.m. in McKale Center.
The Wildcats hit the road for the first time this season during Thanksgiving week. Arizona plays at traditional powerhouse UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. PST. The Cats leave directly from Santa Barbara to fly to Honolulu, Hawai'i, where they will play in the Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic on Nov. 28-30.
CATS PRESEASON RANKED FOR FIRST TIME IN FOUR YEARS: Arizona is ranked No. 23 in this year's preseason AP Poll and No. 22 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. This marks the first time since the 1999-2000 season that the Wildcats have been preseason ranked in either poll.
Arizona didn't even receive votes for ranking in last year's preseason polls, nor in the 2001-02 polls. The Wildcats earned 71 votes in the 2000-01 preseason Coaches Poll and 15 votes in that year's AP poll. The Cats were last preseason ranked No. 24 in the USA Today poll and No. 25 in the AP poll heading into the 1999-2000 season.
The Cats have been listed among the top 25 teams in seven of the nine preseason polls released so far this year. The Wildcats are preseason ranked No. 16 by ESPN.com, No. 17 by Lindy's, No. 20 by Women's Basketball News Service, No. 21 by Full Court Press, No. 22 by the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, No. 23 by Athlon Sports and No. 23 by the Associated Press.
ARIZONA PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN PAC-10: Both the Pac-10 women's basketball coaches and the conference women's basketball media picked Arizona to finish second in the Pac-10 standings this year, behind Stanford.
PETERSON TO REDSHIRT: After the discovery of stress fractures in both of her lower legs during the summer, sophomore guard Phakisha Peterson will redshirt this season in order to rehabilitate her injuries.
POLKEY EARNS A SLEW OF PRESEASON HONORS: The preseason honors just keep rolling in for sophomore center Shawntinice Polk. She has been named a preseason All-American by Street & Smith's, Athlon Sports and Women's Basketball News Service. She has also been named to the list of top 30 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Women's Award, and she is a preseason candidate for the Wade Trophy. Polkey was selected for the five-member Preseason All-Pac-10 Team, and most recently, she was chosen as one of the nation's "Top Five Centers" by ESPN.com.
COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Two Wildcats should reach the 1,000-point plateau in career scoring this season. Senior guard Aimee Grzyb has amassed 867 career points, just 133 away from 1,000. Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 844 points in her career, needing 156 points to reach 1,000. Whenever one of these players reaches that 1,000-point mark, she will be the first new addition to the UA "1,000-Point Club" since both Elizabeth Pickney and Reshea Bristol joined that list during the 2000-01 season. The "1,000-Point Club" at Arizona is currently comprised of 10 former Wildcats.
ARIZONA'S NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE RANKS AMONG BEST: In the preseason WBCA-Summerville RPI ratings, Arizona's non-conference strength of schedule is ranked No. 13 out of more than 300 women's basketball teams across the nation. The Cats are scheduled to face such traditional powers as UC Santa Barbara, Virginia, New Mexico and LSU during non-conference action this year. Arizona could also potentially face Final Four participant Texas at the Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine Classic in late November.
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.
GOING POLLING: Twelve of Arizona's 2003-04 opponents are either nationally ranked or received votes for ranking in the major preseason polls.
According to the Associated Press poll, Texas is No. 3, Stanford is No. 6, LSU is No. 9, UC Santa Barbara is No. 18 and Virginia is No. 25. Washington, Arizona State, Brigham Young, New Mexico and Montana were all among the teams that received votes for ranking.
In the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll, Texas is No. 3, Stanford is No. 7, LSU is No. 10, UC Santa Barbara is No. 18 and Virginia is No. 24. Washington, New Mexico, Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, Brigham Young and Montana were among a multitude of teams that received votes for ranking.
HIGH-POWERED OFFENSE: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, Wildcat teams have won 68 games by margins of 20 points or more. Ten of those blowouts happened last season alone.
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 previous 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.
LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to the 2001-02 season, Arizona has won 12 of its last 18 televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games that season but were just 6-6 on TV last year.
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.
CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers made (148), third in three-pointers attempted (415), fifth in three-point percentage (.357) and fifth in minutes-played average (30.8 mpg). She needs just seven more points to join Arizona's top 20 all-time leading scorers' list.
Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in career three-point percentage (.366), third in career scoring average (14.4 ppg), tied for third in minutes-played average (31.0 mpg), is seventh in three-point field goals made (89) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (243).
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won nine of their 12 season openers. They had a streak of seven straight season-opening wins snapped with a close 78-71 loss to No. 3 LSU in overtime to begin last season.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 374-428 (.466) all-time record, however it is 178-92 (.659) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 208-112 career record against Pac-10 teams.
ON LOCATION: Last year, Arizona was 13-1 at home, 7-6 on the road and 2-2 in neutral games.