Nov. 13, 2001
WHAT'S HAPPENING: The University of Arizona women's basketball team (0-0 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) officially tips off the 2001-02 season this weekend against Pepperdine on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. in the McKale Center.
Over the first 15 days of the 2002 season, the Wildcats will play six games, facing at least five teams that saw postseason action in 2001. That slate will include last year's WNIT champion Ohio State, the NCAA champion Notre Dame and the WNIT runner-up New Mexico.
ARIZONA'S PROBABLE STARTERS:
#35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Jr., Cloverdale, CA)
#45 - Elizabeth Pickney (F, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX)
#50 - LaKeisha Taylor (C, 6-4, Sr., Houston, TX)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, So., San Jose, CA)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Jr., Tucson, AZ)
OFF THE BENCH:
#4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, So., Ontario, CA)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, Fr., Chicago, IL)
#31 - Robin Roberson (F, 6-0, Fr., Berkeley, CA)
#24 - Michelle Tibbetts (G/F, 6-0, Fr., Burnsville, MN)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (F, 6-3, Fr., Los Angeles, CA)
ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats had a successful 2-0 run against competition in exhibition games during preseason action. Arizona downed Team Concept, 83-81, on Nov. 5 then smashed the NWBL USA Elite team, 88-65, on Nov. 11.
During exhibition play, senior forward Elizabeth Pickney racked up an astounding 28.5 points per game and was the team's second-leading rebounder with 11.5 per game. Fellow senior LaKeisha Taylor led the Cats in rebounding, at 12.0 per game, and was second in scoring, averaging 18.0 ppg.
Junior wing Krista Warren was third in both scoring (7.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg) during exhibition play. Coming off the bench in both games, freshman guard Dee-Dee Wheeler averaged 7.5 points, 5.0 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game.
The Cats dominated on the boards during exhibition play, out-rebounding opponents by an average of 16.5 rpg. The Wildcats also shot very well from the charity stripe, hitting 36-of-46 for 78.3 percent.
GOOD BEGINNINGS: With Joan Bonvicini at the program's helm, the Wildcats have won six straight season openers and eight in the previous 10 years she has been at the UA.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE: The Waves return nine letterwinners and three starters from last year's 20-11 team that lost to Arizona in the first round of the WNIT. Pepperdine garnered a 10-4 mark in West Coast Conference play last season, finishing in a tie for third in the conference standings.
The Waves split a pair of exhibition games during preseason action this year. They defeated Love & Basketball, 76-63, on Nov. 10 after a 74-64 loss to Delta-Kosice on Nov. 3.
Junior guard Damaris Hinojosa is Pepperdine's top returning scorer, after averaging 14.5 ppg last season. Senior forward Nadja Morgan registered 12.9 ppg last year and is the team's top returning rebounder, with 6.9 per game in 2001.
Head coach Mark Trakh (Long Beach State, 1981) has a 137-94 record in eight years at the helm of the Pepperdine program.
THE SERIES vs. PEPPERDINE: Arizona holds the 3-2 edge in the series with Pepperdine, with the Wildcats winning each of the last three meetings between the two teams.
LAST MEETING WITH PEPPERDINE: In its first game of the WNIT on Mar. 15, 2001, Arizona reeled off an 85-65 victory over Pepperdine to advance to the second round of tournament play.
Pepperdine jumped out to a quick 12-5 lead in the first three minutes of the game. Arizona closed the gap to 12-11 with 14 minutes left in the first half, but the Waves countered with a 16-2 run over the next five minutes to lead 28-13 at the nine-minute mark.
Pepperdine hit seven 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the game, but Arizona took over with a 25-3 run over an eight-minute span. The Wildcats led 31-30 with three minutes left in the first half and were up 45-35 at the break.
A 9-2 Arizona spurt put the Wildcats ahead, 69-51, at the six-minute mark in the second. The Waves, who shot 43 percent from the floor in the first half, slumped to 32 percent in the final 20 minutes and never provided another threat.
Elizabeth Pickney had 16 points and three blocks in the game, while LaKeisha Taylor contributed nine points and nine rebounds off the bench. Candice Allen added seven points, eight rebounds and three steals, and Aimee Grzyb had six points and five rebounds.
ARIZONA'S LAST TIME OUT: Arizona's senior posts combined for 50 points and 25 rebounds as the Wildcats blew away the NWBL USA Elite team, 88-65, in exhibition play on Nov. 11.
The Cats opened the game with a 19-0 run then pushed that lead to 31-6 midway through the first half. The NWBL team recovered to stay mostly even with the Cats over the remainder of the period, but Arizona had a solid 47-20 lead at halftime.
Arizona opened the second half with a 15-8 run that gave them a 34-point (62-28) lead, their largest of the game, at 14:58. Over the next 12 minutes, the NWBL team out-scored Arizona, 35-18, and cut the Cats' lead to 17. The NWBL team would come no closer than that, however, as the UA finished the game on an 8-3 mini-run.
Fueled by an 11-for-13 performance from the free throw line, Elizabeth Pickney went off for a game-high 29 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. LaKeisha Taylor nailed 10-of-13 from the floor en route to 21 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
Aimee Grzyb contributed 10 points and a game-high nine assists, while Julie Brase added eight points and four assists. Krista Warren had six points, six rebounds and a game-high five steals, and Dee-Dee Wheeler tallied five assists, four rebounds and three points.
CATS DEALT ANOTHER BLOW: After already losing one guard to an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury before the season ever started, the Wildcats lost yet another guard to an ACL tear during the last week of October. Freshman Katrina Lindner, who is from Glengowrie, South Australia, tore her right knee ACL late in the first half of the Red & Blue Game on Oct. 30. She will have surgery some time late in November and will be redshirted for the season.
The Wildcats lost sophomore guard Jenn Chesney to an ACL tear during preseason workouts in September. She had surgery to repair the injury and will also be redshirting this season.
This is the third ACL injury the Wildcats have had in only seven months. The first was when then-sophomore Krista Warren suffered the same injury at Oregon in early March.
CLARK WITHDRAWS FROM SCHOOL: Guard Mandakova Clark, who would have sat out this year after transferring from Rutgers, withdrew from the University of Arizona at the end of October and will not be returning to the school.
WHO'S BACK FOR THE CATS: Senior forward Elizabeth Pickney returns after ending last season as the Cats' leading scorer (16.4 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). She was also an All-Pac-10 honoree last year.
After redshirting last year following preseason wrist surgery, junior guard Julie Brase will be a much-welcomed presence on the floor this season. She averaged 6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game during the 1999-2000 season.
A trio of sophomore guards also returns. Aimee Grzyb started 18 contests and averaged 7.8 ppg and 2.3 apg, while Candice Allen saw eight starts and registered averages of 6.1 ppg and 2.7 rpg. Jenn Chesney averaged 1.2 points and 1.2 rebounds per game last year, but she will redshirt this year after suffering a torn ACL during preseason workouts.
WHO'S NEW: A group of five freshmen -- two posts, two guards and one wing -- have joined the Wildcat squad this year. Freshman forward Danielle Adefeso is from St. Monica High School in Los Angeles, while fellow forward Robin Roberson comes from Berkeley (Calif.) High School.
Guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is out of Chicago's Dunbar Vocational Career Academy. Another guard from Glengowrie, South Australia, Katrina Lindner is the first Aussie ever signed by head coach Joan Bonvicini at Arizona. Freshman wing Michelle Tibbetts is from Burnsville (Minn.) High School and made the squad as a walk-on.
WHO'S GONE: Three letterwinners are gone from last year's team. Guard Reshea Bristol received her degree from the UA in May and was drafted by the WNBA Charlotte Sting in the fourth round as the 50th overall pick. She was released by the Sting because of injury in July, but she has since headed to Russia to play professionally there. Bristol was second in scoring (15.6 ppg) last season and ended the year as the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.6 apg).
After dealing with asthma complications, center Michelle Mitchell departed the team last spring. She had played in 31 games last year, in primarily a reserve role.
Forward Veranda James left the team in August for personal reasons. She was the team's top rebounder (8.2 rpg) and third-leading scorer (13.1 ppg) in 2001.
HEAD COACH JOAN BONVICINI: The winningest coach in Arizona women's basketball history, Joan Bonvicini has nurtured the Wildcat program into an upward-rising powerhouse. In 10 years at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini has guided the Wildcats to six straight postseason appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.
Entering her 11th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 179-117 (.605) mark in 10 years at Arizona and is 504-188 (.728) in 22 years as a head coach. She is 23-14 in NCAA tournament play and has never lost a first-round game 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 94-85 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 60-29 league mark over the last five seasons combined.
THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach in 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1992) enters up her 10th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. Fourth-year assistant coach Karen Caires (Cal State Northridge, 1990) works with the perimeter players and assists with scouting and recruiting. In his third year at the UA, assistant coach Curtis Loyd (Southern Utah, 1994) is involved with scouting and with coaching the post players and is the director of the Joan Bonvicini Hoop Camp.
NEW WILDCAT ON THE WAY: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach, are expecting their first child in April 2002.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Wildcats continue their three-game homestand with a pair of contests next week. Arizona will face defending WNIT champion Ohio State on Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. in the McKale Center. Then the Cats will take on defending NCAA champion Notre Dame on Saturday, Nov. 24, at 5 p.m. Both contests will be broadcast live nationally on Fox Sports Net.
The Cats play their first road game of the new season at New Mexico on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. in "The Pit".
STRONG SCHEDULE: Ten of the 19 opponents on the Cats' 2001-02 schedule were either ranked or receiving votes for ranking in the most recent polls.
In the Associated Press Preseason Poll, Stanford is No. 9, Notre Dame is No. 15, Washington is No. 19 and Arizona State is No. 22. Wisconsin, USC, Oregon, UC Santa Barbara and Ohio State all received votes.
In this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll, Stanford is No. 9, Notre Dame is No. 14 and Washington is No. 17. Arizona State, Wisconsin, UC Santa Barbara, Ohio State, USC and UCLA were all among the teams receiving votes for ranking.
INAUGURAL PAC-10 CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: The first-ever Pac-10 Conference Women's Basketball Tournament will be held on Mar. 1-4, 2002, at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore. The winner of the tournament will receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.
CHECKING THE RECORD BOOK: Wildcat senior Elizabeth Pickney is among the Arizona career leaders in 12 different statistical categories. She is second on the career blocked shots list, with 113, and is only eight blocks from tying current career leader Marte Alexander (1995-98), who had 121. Pickney is also fourth in career rebounding average (5.5 rpg), fourth in scoring average (12.6 ppg), fourth in free throws made (326), fifth in free throws attempted (439), sixth in games started (84) and sixth in field goals made (420).
Pickney is seventh on Arizona's career scoring chart, with 1169 points. She needs just 30 points to move into the sixth-place spot, which is currently occupied by her former teammate Lisa Griffith (1997-2000), who had 1199 career points.
Junior guard Julie Brase is third in career three-point percentage (.381), ninth in career three-pointers made (51) and 10th in three-pointers attempted (134).
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: Including a 15-2 record last year, the Wildcats have won 20 of their last 23 home games and are 42-8 on their home court over the last three seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 10 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 107-43 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has a record of 173-151 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.
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 29-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 134-18 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 94-11 when topping that 80-point plateau.
CAT SCRATCHES: The Wildcats ended last season's road play with eight straight losses away from McKale... The Cats haven't won a road game since a 68-65 victory at Stanford on Jan. 6, 2001... The Arizona women's basketball program has a 338-405 (.455) all-time record, however it is 142-69 (.673) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 184-98 career record against Pac-10 teams.
THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-3 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last eight years.
ITALY TOUR 2001: On May 18 through June 2, the Wildcats went to Italy for the program's third foreign tour. The tour began in Venice then advanced to Verona, Como, Milan, Lucca, Pisa, Florence and commenced in Rome. The Cats went 5-1 against club teams in many of these cities and visited a multitude of historical sites along the way.
Elizabeth Pickney was the team's second-leading scorer (21.7 ppg) and third-leading rebounder (6.2 rpg). LaKeisha Taylor was the second-leading rebounder (7.5 rpg), and Candice Allen finished the tour as the third-leading scorer, with 11.7 ppg.
Seeing her first action since March 2000, Julie Brase averaged 10.5 ppg and 5.5 apg. Aimee Grzyb posted 9.2 ppg and 4.0 apg, while Jenn Chesney averaged 4.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Krista Warren went with the team on the trip, but was unable to play because she was still rehabilitating from an ACL injury suffered last March.
2000-01 IN REVIEW: Arizona certainly saw its share of ups and downs during the 2000-01 season. The Cats started the year with a short squad of 12 players, only two of whom were starters at the end of the 2000 season. Through a variety of injuries, player departures and academic issues, the Wildcat roster was decimated, and the team was down to only eight active players by season's end.
Despite all the distractions and the prevailing inexperience of last year's squad, the Wildcats finished the year with a 20-12 overall record, their fifth 20-win season in the last six years. They were 9-9 in Pac-10 play and finished in fifth place, their lowest finish since 1995.
For the first time since 1996, Arizona failed to earn an NCAA tournament berth, but it did receive a Women's National Invitation Tournament slot. The Wildcats downed Pepperdine, 85-65, in the first round of the WNIT but fell, 75-62, at New Mexico in the second round to end their season. The WNIT berth gave the Wildcats their sixth straight postseason appearance, the third-longest active postseason streak in the Pac-10.
The team set or tied 39 school records last year, including most home victories (15), most points scored in a season (2,521) and highest single season scoring average (78.8 ppg).
Arizona finished the year as the Pac-10 leader in scoring offense (78.8 ppg), scoring margin (+9.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.470) and assists (16.59 apg). The Cats were second in both free throw percentage (.700) and rebounding (39.8 rpg) and were third in field goal percentage defense (.400) and assist-to-turnover ratio (0.86).
ON THE INDIVIDUAL FRONT: Junior forward Elizabeth Pickney ended the season as the Cats' leading scorer, with 16.4 ppg, and second-leading rebounder (6.3 rpg). Senior guard Reshea Bristol was second in scoring, with 15.6 ppg, and ended the year as the Pac-10 leader in assists (7.56 apg).
In addition to leading the Pac-10 in assists, Bristol was second in steals (3.0 spg), fifth in scoring and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.34). Pickney was third in the league in scoring, fourth in blocked shots (1.47 bpg), sixth in field goal percentage (.505) and ninth in rebounding. Taylor was second in field goal percentage (.587).
DOUBLING UP: The Wildcats collected a total of 21 double-doubles last season, the program's highest double-double total since the 1995-96 team tallied 21. Of Arizona's 21 double-doubles during the year, eight belonged to guard Reshea Bristol, and all of hers were points-assists double-doubles. Six different Wildcats logged double-doubles during the season.
BY THE NUMBERS: Sixteen of Arizona's 20 wins last year were by a total of 10 points or more... Five of those wins were by spreads of 30 points or more... Nine of the UA's 12 losses were by spreads of 10 points or less... The Cats hit four or more 3-pointers in 22 games... Arizona had 15 or more assists in 18 games... The Cats had 10 or more steals in 13 games... Arizona forced its opponent into 20 or more turnovers in 14 contests... The UA scored 80 points or better in 15 games.
KEYS TO THE WIN: Last season, Arizona was... 13-4 when out-rebounding its opponent... 18-6 when shooting better than its opponent from the floor... 11-2 when shooting 50% or better from the field... 16-3 when four or more players reached double digits in scoring... 15-2 when leading at halftime... 13-4 when forcing more turnovers than it committed... 19-3 when scoring 70 points or more... 14-5 when opponents scored 71 points or less.
ON LOCATION: Last season, the Wildcats were 15-2 at home, 4-9 in road games and 1-1 in neutral contests.