TUCSON, Ariz. -The Arizona women’s basketball team, picked to finish second in the Pacific-10 Conference, will hold its first practice of the 2004-2005 season from 8-10:30 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, Oct. 16.
Arizona, which is ranked as high as No. 20 nationally in the preseason polls, returns four of five starters from last year’s squad that won the Pac-10 regular-season title for the first time in program history and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats will be led by junior center Shawntinice Polk, a two-time honorable mention All-American, and senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection. Polk and Wheeler are two of 31 players named as preseason candidates for the Wade Trophy, given to the nation’s top player.
Also returning is junior Natalie Jones, who averaged 8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.3 assists as a sophomore in 2003-04. Sophomore Shannon Hobson, an honorable mention Pac-10 All-Freshman team selection last year, rounds out the group of starters that return for the Wildcats.
This season marks the 14th for Head Coach Joan Bonvicini, who has seven 20-win seasons over the last nine years and boasts a 563-219 (.720) career record.
Arizona will host the Red & Blue Game at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28, in the McKale Center. The Wildcats then play the first of two exhibition games at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 2, against Play Mode Sports. On Nov. 8, Arizona hosts Baden Sports at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats open their regular season at home in the Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT when they host Saint Mary’s (Calif.) at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12.