COMING UP: The No. 5-seed Arizona women’s basketball team (19-10, 11-7) will face the No. 4-seed Southern California Trojans (18-9, 12-6) in the first game for both teams of the 2005 State Farm Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Tournament at 7:15 p.m. (PDT) this Saturday, March 5, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The game will be broadcast live on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
ARIZONA AND THE PAC-10 TOURNAMENT: Arizona holds a 4-3 record all-time in Pac-10 Tournament play. Last season, as the No. 2 seed, the Wildcats defeated No. 7 Oregon State 81-58 and No. 6 Washington 77-55 before falling in the championship game to top-seeded Stanford, 51-46. Arizona had a 31-23 halftime lead over the Cardinal, but was limited to just 15 points on 23 percent shooting in the second half. Senior Aimee Grzyb and Shawntinice Polk were named to the all-tournament team.
In 2003, the third-seeded Wildcats plowed through No. 6 Oregon State (70-56) and No. 2 Washington (74-51) before coming up short against No. 1-seed Stanford (59-49) in the championship game. Wildcats Krista Warren, Dee-Dee Wheeler and Polk were named to the all-tournament team.
That was a far better showing than Arizona had during the inaugural Pac-10 Tournament on the Oregon campus in 2002. Entering tourney action as the No. 6 seed, the Cats lost to No. 3 seed and eventual tournament champion Arizona State, 66-58, in their first game on March 2, 2002.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona dropped its final home game of the season, falling 64-60 in front of 4,350 fans at McKale Center last Saturday. The Wildcats shot just 34 percent from the field, 14 percent from three-point range and 68 percent from the free throw line on the game, while Washington connected on 38, 42 and 71 percent, respectively, on the game. The Huskies also edged Arizona on the boards, 41 to 40. Both teams committed 24 turnovers on the game. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler, playing her last game at McKale, led Arizona with 19 points, seven steals, five assists and five rebounds. Junior Shawntinice Polk added her ninth double-double of the season, finishing with 14 points and 11 boards. She also added four steals and two blocked shots. Senior Danielle Adefeso finished with nine points and seven rebounds.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Wheeler, who averages 17.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Polk adds 13.1 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. As a team, Arizona is out-shooting its opponents 44 percent to 38 percent and out-rebounding them 37.9 to 37.6.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Freshman Brynn Cameron posted her first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds and every USC starter scored in double figures in a nail-biting 80-77 win against crosstown rival UCLA in front of a season-high 5,222 fans at the Sports Arena last Saturday. Playing in their final home game, seniors Rachel Woodward and Kim Gipson scored 10 points apiece. Camille LeNoir finished with 14 points, five assists and three steals, while Meghan Gnekow ended up with 12 points and eight boards.
On the season, the Trojans are led by Brynn Cameron, who averages 10.4 points per game. Meghan Gnekow and Murphy add 9.0 and 8.1 points per game, respectively. Gnekow also leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game. As a team, USC is shooting 38 percent from the field, compared to the 43 percent of its opponents. The Trojans are outscoring opponents 68.7 to 66.3 and are out-rebounding them 40.1 to 38.8.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona trails the all-time series with USC 16-38. The last time the two teams met, on Feb. 12, Arizona won 87-74 in Tucson. The Wildcats are 10-16 at home, 6-21 away and 0-1 at a neutral site vs. the Trojans.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in blocks (4.1), ranks second in field goal percentage (.440) and field goal percentage defense (.382), third in scoring (71.6), fourth in scoring margin (6.0), three-point field goal percentage (.341), scoring defense (65.6), three-point field goal percentage defense (.312), assists (15.0) and offensive rebounds (14.5), and fifth in rebounding (37.9), rebounding defense (37.6), rebounding margin (0.3), turnover margin (2.5), assist/turnover ratio (0.8) and defensive rebounds (23.5).
Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler leads the league in scoring (17.9), ranks third in assists (4.4), steals (2.9) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8), fourth in minutes played (33.2) and three-point field goals made (1.7) and 18th in rebounding (5.0). Shawntinice Polk leads the league in blocked shots (2.1), ranks third in field goal percentage (.551), rebounding (8.2) and defensive rebounds (5.9), seventh in offensive rebounds (2.4) and eighth in scoring (13.1). Natalie Jones ranks seventh in free throw percentage (.784) and 10th in minutes played (30.6), while Jessica Arnold ranks fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.400). Senior Danielle Adefeso is fourth in offensive rebounds (2.5).
In Pac-10 games only, Wheeler ranks second in scoring (18.5), third in assists (4.1), steals (2.9) and assist/turnover ratio (1.5), fourth in minutes played (33.7), fifth in three-point field goals made (1.9) ,eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.370) and 18th in rebounding (5.1). Polk leads the league in blocks (1.6), ranks third in rebounding (8.0), fourth in defensive rebounds (5.6), sixth in field goal percentage (.503) and offensive rebounds (2.4), eighth in scoring (12.3) and tied for ninth in steals (1.5). Arnold ranks third in three-point field goal percentage (.417), while Jones is eighth in free throw percentage (.768) and ninth in minutes played (31.0). Adefeso is third in offensive rebounds (2.8), ninth in blocked shots (0.8) and field goal percentage (.471) and 15th in rebounding (5.5).
RANKING NATIONALLY: As a team, Arizona ranks 27th nationally in scoring, 36th in field goal percentage, 58th in blocked shots, 61st in three-point field goal percentage and 62nd in assists.
Individually, senior Dee-Dee Wheeler ranks 25th in steals and 39th in points per game. Junior Shawntinice Polk ranks 22nd in field goal percentage and 37th in blocks.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is first in steals (299), games started (115) and minutes played (3,923), second in scoring (1,922), field goals made (746), field goals attempted (1,631) and minutes played average (32.4), third in scoring average (15.9), fourth in three-point field goals made (182) and three-point field goals attempted (512), tied for fourth in games played (121), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.355), sixth in assists (460), seventh in free throws made (248), eighth in turnovers (379), ninth in personal fouls (294) and tied for ninth in free throws attempted (340).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (46), blocks (217) and rebounding average (9.8), second in field goal percentage (.580) and total rebounds (896), third in field goals made (594), fourth in scoring average (15.8) and scoring (1,440), sixth in free throws made (252) and free throws attempted (444), seventh in minutes played average (28.8), eighth in games started (86) and tied for 10th in personal fouls (285).
Junior Natalie Jones is sixth in free throw percentage (.758), and ninth in three-point field goals made (69) and three-point field goals attempted (234).
WHEELER SCORES 500 IN THIRD-STRAIGHT SEASON: In Arizona’s win over Washington State last Thursday, senior captain Dee-Dee Wheeler surpassed the 500-point mark for the third consecutive season. The Chicago native currently has 520 points this season. She needs 38 points to reach her 2003-04 total of 558.
ADEFESO STEPS IT UP: Over the last 12 games, senior Danielle Adefeso has really picked up her game. Starting 10 of the 12 games, she is shooting 44 percent from the field and 78 percent from the free throw line, while averaging 8.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Prior to that, Adefeso was averaging 3.6 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.
HALFTIME SCORE INDICATIVE OF FINAL RESULT: This season, the Wildcats’ halftime score is 90 percent reliable in predicting the final score. Arizona is 18-2 when leading at the half and 1-8 when trailing. The Wildcats lost last Saturday to Washington after leading by two points at the half and also fell at USC after leading at halftime. Arizona came back to defeat Arizona State at home after trailing 27-23 at the intermission.
MAKING FREE THROWS COUNT: After shooting just 60 percent from the free throw line over the first 17 games of the season, Arizona has shot 70 percent or better in seven of its last 12 games. During that time, the Wildcats are 174 of 243 (72 percent) from the charity stripe.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 46 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and nine 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 34-12 (.739) when Polk notches a double-double.
WHEELER CAPTURES MINUTES PLAYED RECORD: With her third minute logged in last Thursday’s game against Washington State, senior Dee-Dee Wheeler moved into first place in the Arizona career record books in minutes played. She has now played 3,923 minutes during her four-year career.
THE GLASS IS THE ANSWER: It seems the most telling statistic for the Arizona women’s basketball team this season is rebounding. The Wildcats are 15-1 when out-rebounding their opponents. Arizona is 3-8 when being out-rebounded and 1-1 when pulling down the same number of boards as its opponents this season.
WHEELER MAKES HISTORY AT OREGON: Senior captain Dee-Dee Wheeler made her 113th career start at Oregon last Saturday, putting her in sole possession of first place in the Arizona record books. The Chicago native started 24 of 28 games as a freshman, 30 of 31 as a sophomore, all 33 as a junior and 28 of 29 this season. She is two games away from the all-time games played record.
WILDCATS BOAST PAC’S ACTIVE SCORING LEADERS: Arizona boasts the Pac-10’s top two active career scoring leaders in All-America candidates Dee-Dee Wheeler and Shawntinice Polk. The point guard Wheeler currently has 1,922 career points, while Polk has scored 1,440 points in her three seasons at Arizona. The duo rank second and fourth all-time at Arizona in career points.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: In the program’s 33-year history, the Wildcats are almost guaranteed a win when they reach 80 points. Arizona is 173-20 (90 percent) all-time when reaching the 80-point plateau, and with Joan Bonvicini at the helm, the Wildcats are 125-13 (91 percent). This year alone, Arizona is 9-0 in games where it has reached 80 points in the scoring column.
WHEELER AND DOUBLE-DIGIT SCORING: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 107 of her 121 career games. Her streak of 48 consecutive games in double-figure scoring came to an end Jan. 14 at USC as the senior finished with just five points. She posted double-digit scoring in 19 of 28 games as a freshman, 28 of 31 as a sophomore, all 33 as a junior and 27 of 29 games this season, including 11 games with 20 or more points.
BONVICINI WINS 250TH GAME AT ARIZONA: Joan Bonvicini notched her 250th win as the head coach at Arizona when the Wildcats defeated then-No. 19 UCLA on the road on Jan. 16. In 14 years at the helm, she boasts a 257-158 (.619) record and is the winningest coach in Arizona women’s basketball history.
CATS NEARLY UNBEATABLE AT HOME: Over the past three seasons, Arizona has won 40 of 44 (.909) games at McKale Center. The Cats’ 34-game home winning streak, the longest in the nation, came to an end Jan. 9 when the team fell 78-66 to Stanford.
POLK SURPASSES 200-BLOCK MARK: With her third block of the game against Maryland on Jan. 29, junior center Shawntinice Polk notched her 200th career block, becoming the first Wildcat ever to reach that mark. She now has 217 blocked shots on her career.
WHEELER BECOMES ARIZONA’S STEAL LEADER: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler tied the school record for career steals at the 10:41 mark in the first half of the game at Southern California on Jan. 14 and took sole possession of the record with 11:08 left in the game. She now has 299 steals on her career.
ARIZONA RANKS NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks 44th nationally in attendance with an average attendance of 2,573. Tennessee is the leader with a 13,693 average, while Pac-10 opponents Oregon, Stanford and Washington rank 27th, 28th and 33rd, respectively, at 3,896, 3,891 and 3,304.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in his 10th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
UP NEXT: Should Arizona defeat USC, it will face the winner of the Stanford-Washington State/California game at 3 p.m. (PST) Sunday, March 6, at the HP Pavilion.