COMING UP:The No. 24/25 Arizona women’s basketball team (3-1) returns to the friendly confines of McKale Center for a match-up against UTEP (2-1) at 7 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 29. Video, audio and live stats of this and every home game are available at www.arizonaathletics.com.
Prior to tip-off, members of the 2003-04 team will be recognized for winning the school’s first-ever Pacific-10 regular-season championship.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS:Arizona held off a second-half charge by Brigham Young and poor free throw shooting down the stretch to capture a 76-73 win at the Marriott Center yesterday afternoon. The Wildcats shot 55 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and just 57 percent from the charity stripe on the game. Meanwhile, BYU connected on 40 percent of its shots from the field, 32 percent from downtown and 84 percent from the free throw line. The Cougars out-rebounded Arizona 36 to 31, but turned the ball over 19 times.
Senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler led a group of four Arizona players in double-figure scoring with 19 points. She also added eight assists and four steals. Junior center Shawntinice Polk finished with 14 points, a team-high six rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists. Sophomore forward Shannon Hobson added 12 points, while junior guard Natalie Jones had 11. Jones and freshman Ashley Whisonant also had three steals each.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Polk, who averages 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Wheeler adds 13.5 points, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game, while Hobson averages 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is shooting 46 percent from the field and out-rebounding opponents 40 to 36.5.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:Arkansas State used a 16-2 run to open the game and held off UTEP the rest of the way, winning 87-63 in Little Rock Friday night. Angie McGee had a team-high 16 points and five rebounds for UTEP (2-1). Arkansas State shot 48 percent from the field compared to the 43 percent of UTEP. The Lady Indians also made 24 of 29 free throw attempts, while UTEP was 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. UTEP was out-rebounded 40 to 32 and committed a season-high 20 turnovers.
The Miners are led this season by Kasia Krezel, who averages 12.0 points, 4.0 steals and 3.0 assists per game. McGee adds 10.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. As a team, UTEP is shooting 39 percent from the field, 25 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the free throw line this season. The Miners are outscoring opponents 67.3 to 55.7 and out-rebounding them 43.0 to 40.7.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona is 8-3 all-time against UTEP. The two teams last met on Dec. 13, 1987, with the Wildcats winning 65-52 in Tucson. Arizona is 4-2 at home, 3-1 away and 1-0 at a neutral site vs. the Miners.
INJURY UPDATE:Senior center Danielle Adefeso is out for an undetermined amount of time after suffering a shoulder injury during the Ohio State game.
POLKEY MOVES INTO TOP 10 IN SCORING:With her sixth point at the 6:35 mark in the first half in Arizona’s win over BYU on Saturday, junior center Shawntinice Polk moved into the Top 10 all-time scorers at the UA. The center now has 1,152 career points, good for 10th place.
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 29:The Cats have won 29 games in a row at home, tied for the second longest streak in the nation with Louisiana Tech behind Texas (36). 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 went on to win its final 13 homes games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
TALE OF TWO HALVES:Arizona has been noticeably stronger in the first half than in the second half this season. The Wildcats are averaging 40.3 points in the first half and just 28.8 points in the second half. In addition, Arizona is outscoring opponents 161-119 in the first half, but being outscored 147-115 in the second period.
HEAVY BURDEN:Arizona’s All-America candidates senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler and junior center Shawntinice Polk, the team’s top two scorers, are carrying much of the load for the team this season. In the first four games this season, the duo has accounted for 43 percent of the team’s points (119 of 276) and 31 percent of the minutes (246 of 800).
TROUBLE WITH THE THREE:Arizona’s opponents are nearly than tripling the Wildcats this season in three-pointers. While Saint Mary’s, Rice, Ohio State and BYU have combined for 29 treys (7.3 per game), Arizona has made just 11 (2.8 per game). What’s more, six of those three-pointers came in the Wildcats’ season-opener against Saint Mary’s and four were made at Brigham Young last Saturday. Freshman guard Jessica Arnold has made eight of the Wildcats’ 11 treys.
WILDCAT FRESHMEN MAKING IMMEDIATE IMPACT:Arizona’s four freshmen - Jessica Arnold, Ch?© Oh, Chari Smith and Ashley Whisonant - are making their presence felt. In Arizona’s three wins this season, the foursome have accounted for 31 percent of the Wildcats’ points (86 of 276) and 33 percent of the minutes (267 of 800). However, the freshmen were held to just six points on 23 percent shooting (3-of-13) in Arizona’s loss at Ohio State.
POLKEY NAMED ONE OF TOP FIVE CENTERS:For the second year in a row, junior center Shawntinice Polk has been named one of the Top 5 centers in the nation by ESPN.com. Joining Polkey on the list are Katie Feenstra of Liberty, Sandora Irvin of TCU, Janel McCarville of Minnesota and Jessica Moore or Connecticut. Polkey is the only repeat selection.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES:Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 37 consecutive games. The last time the Chicago native failed to reach double digits in the scoring column was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 84 of her 96 career games.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE:During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 39 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and two 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 29-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS:Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is tied for first in minutes played average (32.5), second in field goals attempted (1,238), third in scoring (1,437) and field goals made (567), fourth in scoring average (15.2), steals (223), three-point field goals made (134) and three-point field goals attempted (387), seventh in games started (91) and three-point field goal percentage (.346), eighth in assists (352), ninth in total minutes played (3,087) and tied for ninth in free throw percentage (.732).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (39), blocks (169), rebounding average (10.5) and field goal percentage (.590), third in scoring average (16.9), fourth in total rebounds (716), sixth in field goals made (475), seventh in free throws attempted (359) and 10th in scoring (1,152).
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO:All of Arizona’s games this season will be broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson returning for 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 (FSN)
Saturday, Feb. 19 - 2 p.m. at Oregon (FSN)
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 hosts the Mission Management & Trust Fiesta Classic Presented by the Sheraton Tucson Hotel this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4-5. The complete tournament schedule is as follows:
Saturday, Dec. 4
Delaware vs. Weber State 1 p.m.
Arizona vs. UNC-Greensboro 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 5
Consolation Game 1 p.m.
Championship Game 3:30 p.m.