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Wildcat Women Open Pac-10 Play Against Washington Schools
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/23/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec. 23, 2003

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: Riding a seven-game win streak, the University of Arizona women's basketball team (8-2 overall; 0-0 Pac-10) opens Pac-10 play this weekend by playing host to the Washington schools. The Wildcats will take on Washington on Saturday, Dec. 27, at 2 p.m., then the Cats face Washington State on Monday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m.

Ticket prices on both days are $6 for general admission, $4 for senior citizens and youth (high school and under), $4 for UA faculty and staff, and $4 for UA students. Arizona students with a ZonaZoo pass can enter the game for free.

SCOUTING ARIZONA: In the midst of a stretch that has them playing seven of eight games at home, the Wildcats improved to 8-2 overall with a close 50-49 win at New Mexico on Dec. 20, Arizona's only action last week.

Winners of seven in a row, the Cats are on their longest win streak since the 2000-01 team posted a seven-game streak midway through the season. At 8-2, Arizona is also off to its best start since that 2000-01 team began the season with a 14-2 record. The Wildcats have also won 18 games in a row at home, the longest home win streak in the program's history.

Despite their win streak, the Cats continue to lose votes in both national polls. In this week's Associated Press Top 25, Arizona received just 17 votes, after earning 25 votes last week. In the USA Today Coaches Poll, the Wildcats had just 40 votes, down 11 votes from last week's 51.

Sophomore All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk continues to lead Arizona in both scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 rpg). Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second on the scoring chart, averaging 15.1 points per game, followed by senior guard Aimee Grzyb with 10.5 ppg.

Junior center Danielle Adefeso is the team's second-leading rebounder, averaging 5.9 per game, and she is fourth in scoring at 8.2 ppg. Sophomore forward CoCoa Sanford is just behind Adefeso in both categories, with averages of 6.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

POSSIBLE STARTERS:
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, So., Hanford, Calif.)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Sr., San Jose, Calif.)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, So., Anchorage, Alaska)

OFF THE BENCH:
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, So., Inglewood, 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.)

COUNTDOWN TO 1,000: Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is just 5 points away from becoming only the 11th Wildcat ever to reach the 1,000-point mark in career scoring. She has 995 career points.

Senior guard Aimee Grzyb is quickly closing in on that 1,000-point plateau as well. With 972 career points, she needs just 28 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.

HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 18: With their win over Texas State on Dec. 14, the Wildcats extended their home win streak to 18 games, a new school record for the longest home win streak in the program's history. The previous record was 15 games from Jan. 4, 1999, to Jan. 6, 2000.

ARIZONA IN THE PAC-10 STATS: Through games of Dec. 22, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in three-point field goal percentage defense (.273), is second in scoring (72.8 ppg), second in rebounding margin (+6.0 rpg), second in turnover margin (+3.90 topg), second in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.05), third in scoring margin (+11.9 ppg), third in field goal percentage (.452) and third in rebounding (39.3 rpg).

Individually, Polkey is second in the conference in field goal percentage (.598), second in blocked shots (2.50 bpg), fourth in scoring (16.6 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (7.5 rpg). Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in assists (5.30 apg), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.66), seventh in scoring (15.1 ppg) and 10th in steals (1.90 spg).

Aimee Grzyb is currently leading the Pac-10 in three-pointers made per game (1.90 pg) and is 16th in scoring (10.5 ppg), while Danielle Adefeso is fourth in field goal percentage (.576) and tied for 12th in rebounding (5.9 rpg). CoCoa Sanford is seventh in free throw percentage (.800) and tied for 19th in rebounding (5.1 rpg), and Natalie Jones stands sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65) and eighth in assists (3.30 apg).

SCOUTING WASHINGTON: The Huskies are 7-2 on the year after splitting a pair of games against tough competition last week. On Dec. 19, Washington lost to Texas Tech at home, 74-70, then the Huskies recovered to hand Iowa State a 76-55 loss in Ames on Dec. 21. Ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches Poll this week, the Huskies are unranked in the AP Poll, although they did earn 73 votes from the AP pollsters.

Posting averages of 20.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, senior guard Giuliana Mendiola leads Washington in both categories. Senior post Andrea Lalum is second in scoring, averaging 18.7 ppg, and is third in rebounding at 5.7 rpg. Freshman forward Jill Bell is the team's second-leading rebounder, grabbing 5.9 per game.

Head coach June Daugherty (Ohio State, 1978) holds a 129-88 record in her eighth season at the helm of the Washington program. She is 252-162 in 15 seasons as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON: The Huskies hold a commanding 25-11 lead in the series with Arizona, although the Wildcats have claimed seven of the last 10 meetings between the two teams. Last season, the two squads met three times, with Arizona winning twice. Most recently, the Cats shot down Washington, 74-51, in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament on Mar. 9, 2003.

Arizona has a 9-9 all-time record when playing Washington at home, but the Wildcats have won eight in a row over the Huskies in McKale. The Cats haven't fallen to UW at home since a 71-68 loss on Mar. 2, 1995.

LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON: Using stifling defense and a 53.6 percent shooting performance from the floor, then-22nd-ranked Arizona drilled then-No. 25 Washington, 74-51, in the semifinals of the Pac-10 Tournament on Mar. 9, 2003, in San Jose, Calif.

The Wildcats got off to a solid 9-3 start in the game, but Washington responded with an 11-0 run to gain a five-point (14-9) advantage at 12:18. The Cats recovered to put on a massive 22-5 run over the remainder of the period and held a 31-19 lead at the break. Arizona limited Washington to just two points in the final eight minutes of the first half.

The Cats didn't let down at the start of the second half, either. They opened the period with a 10-3 spurt that extended their lead to 19 points (41-22) with 15:47 to play. The Huskies made a brief 11-6 run to get back to within 14 points (47-33) at 13:19.

The spread was just 15 points (54-39) at 10:06, then Arizona went on another 13-2 run to stretch its lead to 26 points (67-41) with 6:43 left to play. The Cats went on to log a 74-51 win over the Huskies, their largest margin of victory over Washington since 1999.

Shawntinice Polk shot a blazing 10-for-13 from the floor on her way to a game-high 22 points and six rebounds. Krista Warren added 14 points and six rebounds, and Dee-Dee Wheeler had 15 points and a game-high-tying seven boards.

SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE: With a 4-5 record on the season, the Cougars have already tallied as many wins this year as they did in the two previous seasons combined. Washington State is coming off a pair of losses last weekend, at Idaho (72-57) on Dec. 20 and to San Diego State (63-56) at home on Dec. 22. WSU opens its Pac-10 slate at Arizona State on Saturday before heading to Tucson for Monday's game.

Senior forward Bianca McCall leads the Cougars in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game, and is second in rebounding, at 6.6 rpg. Freshman forward Kate Benz is the team's top rebounder, averaging 6.7 per game, and junior guard Jessica Perry is second in scoring, posting an average of 9.1 ppg.

In her second season with the Cougars, head coach Sherri Murrell (Pacific, 1991) has a 6-31 mark at WSU. She has a career record of 126-110 in 10 seasons.

THE SERIES vs. WASHINGTON STATE: The series between the Wildcats and the Cougars is tied at 17-17. Arizona has won four in a row against WSU and eight of the last nine, including two big wins over the Cougars last season on Jan. 9 (86-65 in Pullman) and Feb. 8 (80-50 in Tucson).

The Cats are 9-8 all-time when playing Washington State at home, including a stretch of five wins in a row over the Cougars in McKale. The Wildcats last lost at home to WSU on Jan. 8, 1998, when Tricia Lamb drained a half-court 3-pointer to upset then-10th-ranked Arizona, 64-61.

LAST MEETING WITH WASHINGTON STATE: Shawntinice Polk racked up game highs of 28 points and 12 rebounds, and Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano was on the bench as a "guest coach," as the Wildcats handed Washington State an 80-50 loss at home on Feb. 8, 2003.

WSU scored the first bucket of the game, but that would prove to be the Cougars' only lead of the contest. Arizona scored eight unanswered points to gain an 8-2 lead, to which Washington State responded with a 5-0 spurt that cut the lead to just one point (8-7) at 16:12.

The Cats ran back out to a 15-7 advantage at 13:25, but WSU cut the deficit once again to three points (15-12) one minute later. A 10-2 burst gave the Wildcats an 11-point (25-14) spread with 9:36 to go in the half. The Cougars managed to get back to within seven points (28-21) with 8:15 to go in the period, then Arizona finished the half on a 12-3 run that gave the Cats a 40-24 edge at the break.

Arizona didn't let WSU hang around for long and began the second half on a 13-2 spurt that sent the spread to 27 points (53-26) just four minutes into the half. The Cougars were able to get back to within 17 points (57-40) with 10:51 to go, but that was the closest they came for the rest of the contest. Five minutes after that, the Wildcats had opened up a 30-point (72-42) spread, and they cruised to their 10th straight win at home.

Polk led all scorers with her 28 points, while Krista Warren added 16 points and eight rebounds. Dee-Dee Wheeler was the only other Wildcat in double digits, scoring 11 points, as the UA backcourt shot a horrendous 1-17 from three-point range for the game. The Arizona bench did pitch in a combined 17 points and 12 rebounds.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 27 of their last 34 home games and are 103-22 on their home court over the last seven seasons combined. Under head coach Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats have posted a 134-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 200-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

ARIZONA HEAD COACH Joan Bonvicini: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has taken the Wildcat program from obscurity into the national limelight. 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 222-141 (.612) mark at Arizona and is 547-212 (.721) 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 117-99 against Pac-10 teams, although they have an 93-51 mark against conference teams over the last eight seasons combined.

LOOKING AHEAD: Arizona remains at home next weekend to face rival Arizona State on Friday, Jan. 2, at 7 p.m. The Wildcats play their final non-conference game at Louisiana State on Sunday, Jan. 4, at 12 p.m. CST.

Conference action continues for the Cats the following weekend, as they travel to the Bay Area to take on California on Thursday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. PST. Arizona will play at Stanford on Saturday, Jan. 10, at 2 p.m. PST.

RECAPPING LAST WEEK'S ACTION -- at New Mexico (Dec. 20): Garnering their lowest point total in a win since 1975, the Wildcats slipped past New Mexico, 50-49, on Dec. 20 in Albuquerque. The victory was Arizona's seventh in a row and also marked the Cats' first win at UNM since 1975.

With the Cats holding a narrow 7-5 lead five minutes into the game, New Mexico went on a 16-0 run that included five consecutive 3-pointers, while holding Arizona scoreless for more than six minutes. Down by a spread of 21-7, the Wildcats finally stopped the bleeding with a bucket at 8:36, which the Lobos answered just over a minute later. Sparked by six points from Dee-Dee Wheeler, the Cats finished the half on an 11-4 run that brought them to within seven (27-20) at halftime.

Arizona opened the second half with a 13-2 run, taking a narrow four-point (33-29) lead with 14:27 to play. UNM responded with its own 8-2 spurt to regain a two-point (37-35) advantage at 12:22. The Cats then reeled off eight unanswered points to go ahead by six (43-37) with just over eight minutes remaining.

Less than a minute later, Wildcat Shawntinice Polk picked up her fourth foul of the game, and without her presence on the court, the Lobos were able to use a 10-2 run to regain a two-point (47-45) advantage with 3:16 to go. Polk, who re-entered the game during the under-four media timeout, knocked down a lay-up 14 seconds later and tied the game at 47-47.

Suffering a dry spell from long range for most of the game, Aimee Grzyb finally connected on a three-pointer at 1:17 that gave Arizona a 50-47 lead and eventually proved to be the game-winning shot. The Lobos scored on a lay-up with just 38 seconds left in the game, cutting the Cats' advantage to just one point (50-49).

At the other end of the court, with only eight seconds remaining, the Wildcats coughed up the ball. UNM was forced to go the length of the floor and a last-second shot clanged off the right side of the rim, where Danielle Adefeso was waiting to grab the ball for the Cats and preserve the win.

Adefeso finished with a career- and game-high 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting, scoring 12 of her points in the second half alone. She also pulled down a team-best eight rebounds. Polk added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Wheeler contributed 10 points and six rebounds.

STEPPING UP: Junior post Danielle Adefeso has really made a big impact for the Cats lately. Over the last six contests, Adefeso has averaged 10.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game and has shot 61.0 percent (25-41) from the floor. That's quite an improvement over her numbers through the first four games of the season -- 5.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game and 50 percent (9-18) shooting from the field.

AS DEE-DEE GOES...: So goes her team, or at least that's the way it has been for the last two years. Over the last two seasons, Arizona has posted a perfect 10-0 mark when Dee-Dee Wheeler reaches the 20-point mark. During Wheeler's career, the Wildcats have gone 26-5 when she scores 15 points or more.

In the Cats' eight wins this season, Dee-Dee Wheeler has averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 rebounds per game and shot 48.5 percent (50-103) from the field. However, in the Wildcats' two losses, Wheeler averaged only 11.0 ppg and shot just 28.1 percent (9-32) from the floor.

DUBIOUS DISTINCTION: The Wildcats' 50-49 win at New Mexico on Dec. 20 made UA history in several ways that may or may not be good, depending on how you look at them. The win at The Pit marked the first victory in Albuquerque for an Arizona women's basketball team since an 83-33 win there on Feb. 28, 1975. The 50 points that the Cats scored is the lowest point total ever in a win for a Joan Bonvicini-coached squad at Arizona. It is also the lowest point total in a win since a 46-36 victory over Utah at home on Jan. 17, 1975. The 35 three-pointers that New Mexico attempted set a new Arizona school record for opponent three-point attempts in a game.

LOOKING AT THE TRENDS: The season may still be fairly young, but the Wildcats are already developing some trends in their wins and losses. This season, Arizona is... 7-0 when tied or leading at the half, but 1-2 when trailing at halftime... 8-0 when shooting better than its opponent, but 0-2 when shooting worse... 8-0 when giving up 69 points or less, but 0-2 when giving up 70 points or more.

WE LIKE TO SCORE: During Joan Bonvicini's tenure at Arizona, Wildcat teams have won 71 games by margins of 20 points or more. Ten of those blowouts happened last season alone, and the Cats have logged three more 20-plus wins already this 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 32-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 151-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Joan Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 111-14 when topping the 80-point plateau.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior guard Aimee Grzyb is third in career three-pointers made (167), third in three-pointers attempted (469), fourth in three-point percentage (.356), fifth in minutes-played average (30.9 mpg), seventh in games started (82), eighth in total minutes played (3089) and 13th in total points (972).

Junior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is third in career scoring average (14.4 ppg), third in minutes-played average (31.3 mpg), sixth in career three-point percentage (.352), sixth in three-point field goals made (100), sixth in three-pointers attempted (284) and 11th in total points (995).

Although only a sophomore, Shawntinice Polk has already broken into Arizona's career lists in several categories. She is first in career field goal percentage (.606), first in rebounding average (10.0 rpg), second in double-doubles (23), third in blocked shots (105) and seventh in minutes-played average (28.6 mpg).

GOING POLLING: Seven of Arizona's 2003-04 opponents were either nationally ranked or received votes for ranking in this week's polls.

According to the Associated Press poll, Stanford is No. 9, LSU is No. 17, and UC Santa Barbara is No. 21. Oregon, Washington and Virginia were among the teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches Poll, Stanford is No. 7, LSU is No. 18, Oregon is No. 22, UC Santa Barbara is No. 23, and Washington is No. 24. Virginia and California were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

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 during 2001-02, but were just 6-6 on TV last year.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 382-433 (.469) all-time record, however it is 172-76 (.694) from the 1996 season to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 208-112 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: This season, the Wildcats have a 5-0 record at home, are 2-1 on the road and 1-1 in neutral contests. Last year, Arizona was 13-1 at home, 7-6 on the road and 2-2 in neutral games.

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