It's two in a row for the Arizona women's basketball team...that's two consecutive Pac-10 Freshman of the Year awards. Last year, Dee-Dee Wheeler was the first Wildcat to garner the award since Adia Barnes. This season it was Shawntinice Polk's turn and this says volumes about where Arizona women's basketball is headed!
In everyone's mind, last season was a disaster for Joan Bonvicini's team. The Cats fell to 14-14 and lost their first outing in the Pac-10 Tournament. Some questioned Coach B's ability to turn things around, and the future looked dim. Now, as we enter the post-season, it is obvious that these people were wrong. The Cats are playing their best basketball of the year, and folks are beginning to notice.
At last night's Pac-10 Awards Banquet, Arizona's young talent was on prominent display. Along with Polkey's Freshman of the Year award, she and Dee-Dee Wheeler were All Pac-10 Team honorees. Polkey was also chosen to the five-member Pac-10 All-Freshman team, while Natalie Jones was honorable mention All-Freshman. That's five major awards for two freshmen and a sophomore. Indeed, the future looks bright for Arizona women's basketball.
Joan Bonvicini's take on things was similar. During her Friday morning press conference in San Jose, Joan was asked what these young players mean to her team. She said, "I think what this says for us is a great future."
She and others also believe that the future is bright for the entire conference. Only two seniors were named All-Pac-10, and the team consisted of two sophomores and two freshmen. UCLA and Arizona both offer terrific incoming recruits, and Stanford always finds the best players in the country. So, while the Wildcats continue to improve, their conference will become more difficult too.
It will not be long before Shawntinice Polk will be the standard-bearer for the entire Pac-10. Arizona's young talent will continue to make it a top-20 program. After all, it's two years in a row that the Wildcats have introduced the best young player to the Pac-10. The future must be bright for Arizona women's basketball!
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