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No. 21 Arizona Plays Host to Fiesta Bowl Women's Basketball Classic
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 12/03/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Dec. 3, 2002

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WHAT'S HAPPENING: The 21st-ranked University of Arizona women's basketball team (2-1 overall, 0-0 Pac-10) will play host to UC Riverside, North Texas and Illinois this weekend for the 12th annual Fiesta Bowl Women's Basketball Classic, presented by Sheraton and Wells Fargo. The Illini will take on North Texas on Saturday, Dec. 7, in the first game at 1 p.m., followed by the Cats and the Highlanders at 3:30 p.m. The consolation game will be played on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 1 p.m., with the championship at 3:30 p.m.

TICKETS: Tickets are always available for UA women's basketball. The ticket prices for each day (which will encompass both games each day) are:
General admission - $6
Senior citizens - $4
Youth (high school & under) - $4
UA faculty & staff - $4
UA students - free with CatCard

ABOUT THE FIESTA BOWL WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CLASSIC: Each year since head coach Joan Bonvicini's arrival at Arizona, the Wildcats have played host to a tournament in December. The tournament has changed names multiple times -- from the Arizona Basketball Classic to the Copper Bowl Classic, to the Insight.com Bowl Basketball Classic, back to the Arizona Basketball Classic last season, and now to the Fiesta Bowl Women's Basketball Classic.

Arizona has claimed the title in five of the last seven tourneys and has won the whole thing seven times in the 11-year history of the tournament.

POSSIBLE STARTERS:
#35 - Krista Warren (F/G, 6-2, Sr., Cloverdale, Calif.)
#00 - Shawntinice Polk (C, 6-5, Fr., Hanford, Calif.)
#11 - Dee-Dee Wheeler (G, 5-6, So., Chicago, Ill.)
#13 - Aimee Grzyb (G, 5-7, Jr., San Jose, Calif.)
#20 - Julie Brase (G, 5-10, Sr., Tucson, Ariz.)

OFF THE BENCH: (in numerical order)
#4 - Candice Allen (G, 5-10, Jr., Ontario, Calif.) - currently on indefinite hiatus from the team for personal reasons
#5 - CoCoa Sanford (F, 6-0, Fr., Inglewood, Calif.)
#15 - Anna Chappell (F, 6-1, Fr., Qualicum Beach, B.C.)
#21 - Katrina Lindner (G, 5-6, Fr., Glengowrie, So. Australia)
#23 - Natalie Jones (G, 5-10, Fr., Anchorage, Alaska)
#30 - Jessica Duger (G/F, 5-10, Jr., Lake Havasu City, Ariz.) - not eligible until January
#31 - Robin Roberson (G/F, 6-0, So., Berkeley, Calif.)
#32 - Svjetlana Papcevic (F, 6-2, Jr., Sarajevo, Bosnia)
#33 - Phakisha Peterson (G/F, 5-11, Fr., El Paso, Texas)
#44 - Danielle Adefeso (C, 6-2, So., Los Angeles, Calif.)

SCOUTING ARIZONA: Nationally ranked for the first time since February of 2001, the Wildcats are No. 21 in the AP Top 25 and received 71 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll this week. Arizona is also ranked No. 16 in this week's WomensCollegeHoops.com Top 50. The Cats improved to 2-1 on the season with a 70-49 upset win over then-No. 8 Georgia at home last Saturday.

With 18.3 points and 14.0 rebounds per game, redshirt freshman center Shawntinice Polk continues to lead the Cats in both categories. She is also tied with junior guard Aimee Grzyb for the team lead in assists, each averaging 4.3 per game.

Senior forward Krista Warren is second in both scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg). Grzyb is tied with sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler for third in scoring, each with a 12.0 ppg average. Senior guard Julie Brase rounds out the top scorers, with 11.0 ppg.

As a team, Arizona leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (.500) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.283) and is second in blocked shots (3.3 bpg), assists (20.3 apg) and defensive rebounds (28.0 drpg). Individually, Polkey leads the league in rebounding (14.0 rpg), blocked shots (2.0 bpg) and defensive rebounds (9.67 drpg). She is second in scoring (18.3 ppg) and offensive rebounds (4.33 orpg), as well. Julie Brase is second in overall field goal percentage (.684) and is tied for second in three-point percentage (.636).

CATS RANKED FOR FIRST TIME IN TWO SEASONS: The Wildcats are ranked No. 21 in this week's Associated Press Top 25, marking the first time the Cats have been ranked since the 2000-01 season.

The Wildcats haven't been ranked in the AP Top 25 since coming in at No. 22 in the poll released on Feb. 5, 2001. Arizona was last ranked No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll on Feb. 26, 2001.

LAST YEAR'S TOURNAMENT: The 2001-02 version of the Cats' annual tournament is probably one the team would like to erase from its mind forever. In the first game against Holy Cross on Nov. 30, 2001, the Cats were handed an 83-74 loss by the Crusaders -- Arizona's first loss ever in the first round of its own tourney. During the first half, guard Candice Allen suffered a hard fall, causing a grade-three concussion that would have her out for seven more games and would decimate an already-short Wildcat roster.

In the tournament consolation game against Pittsburgh on Dec. 2, the Cats blew a double-digit lead in the waning minutes of the contest to be edged by the Panthers, 81-80. The Wildcat "ambulance brigade" continued in that contest when guard Julie Brase was taken off the court on a stretcher because of a lower back sprain.

On the positive side, Dee-Dee Wheeler was named to the All-Tournament Team.

SCOUTING UC RIVERSIDE: The Highlanders are 0-3 on the season after a loss to Northern Arizona (78-51) at home on Nov. 29.

Three UCR players are averaging in double digits in scoring, led by junior guard Trecha Kennedy's 14.0 points per game. Sophomore guard Casandra Reeves follows at 11.0 ppg, while fellow sophomore Agy Frankovits is third with 10.3 ppg. Frankovits also leads UCR in rebounding, averaging 5.3 boards per game.

UC Riverside head coach Jennifer Young (Oregon State, 1987) holds a 59-80 record in her sixth season with the Highlanders.

THE SERIES vs. UCR: This will be the first meeting for Arizona and UC Riverside.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS: The Fighting Illini are off to a perfect 3-0 start this season, after wins over Wisconsin-Green Bay (78-65), Illinois State (71-46) and St. Francis (55-52). Illinois isn't ranked in any of the polls this week, but the Illini do have an RPI ranking of No. 8.

With 15.0 points per game, sophomore guard Tiffanie Guthrie is leading four Illini averaging in double figures in scoring. Sophomore forward Angelina Williams is second with an average of 14.0 ppg, followed by junior forward Cindy Dallas' 11.7 ppg. Senior post Karen Hagberg is averaging 10.3 ppg and is leading the team with 11.3 rebounds per game.

In her eighth season at Illinois, head coach Theresa Grentz (Immaculata, 1974) holds a 134-86 record. She is 595-241 in 29 years as a head coach.

THE SERIES vs. ILLINOIS: Arizona and Illinois have faced one another only once before, at the New Mexico State Roadrunner Invitational in Las Cruces on Nov. 28, 1980. Illinois won that contest handily, 75-41.

SCOUTING NORTH TEXAS: The Lady Eagles are also 3-0 on the season, heading into a contest at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Wednesday. North Texas has logged easy victories over UT-San Antonio (82-66), Alcorn State (82-54) and Missouri-Kansas City (65-41) already this season. UNT's wins over Alcorn State and UMKC gave Lady Eagles the title at the Southwest Texas Classic last weekend.

The Lady Eagles are paced by junior forward Kim Blanton's 14.7 points per game, while senior forward Angel Lewis leads the team in rebounding, averaging 6.7 per game. Freshman forward Jamie Armstrong is the only other Eagle scoring in double digits, with 12.3 ppg, but UNT has four other players averging six points or more per game.

UNT head coach Tina Slinker (Wayland Baptist, 1978) has a 165-192 record in her 14th season with the Lady Eagles.

THE SERIES vs. NORTH TEXAS: The Wildcats and North Texas have never played before.

RECAPPING THE GEORGIA GAME: The Wildcats used a 31-10 run midway through the first half to fuel a 70-49 win over No. 8 Georgia at home on Nov. 30.

UGA opened the game with back-to-back baskets, but that would be the last time the Lady Bulldogs would lead, as Arizona began a 31-10 run that resulted in a 17-point (31-14) UA lead at 6:33 in the first. Georgia responded with five unanswered points to pull to within 12 (31-19), but Arizona out-scored the Lady Bulldogs, 10-4, over the remainder of the period to take a 41-23 lead into halftime.

The Cats began the second half with a 19-12 spurt that extended their lead to 25 points (60-35) with 8:51 left in the game. Arizona pushed its advantage to 28 points (70-42) with 1:43 to play, then Joan Bonvicini put her bench players into the game. Georgia reeled off seven straight points to cut the lead to 21, but it was too little, too late, as Arizona downed its highest-ranked opponent in five years.

Julie Brase shot 6-for-8 from the floor, including 4-for-6 from three-point land, to lead Arizona a game-high 16 points. Shawntinice Polk scored only 10 points, but she grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds to go with five assists and three blocked shots. Krista Warren contributed 12 points and nine rebounds, and Dee-Dee Wheeler added 12 points and a game-high six assists.

ARIZONA 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 her previous 11 seasons at the helm of the Arizona program, Bonvicini guided the Wildcats to six post-season appearances, including four NCAA tournament berths and two in the WNIT.

Now in her 12th season with the Wildcats, Bonvicini holds a 195-132 (.596) mark at Arizona and is 520-203 (.719) in 23 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 103-94 against Pac-10 teams, although they have a 69-39 league mark over the last six seasons combined.

THE REST OF THE STAFF: Awarded the title of associate head coach in 1998, Denise Dove Ianello (Northern Illinois, 1992) is in her 11th year at the UA, functioning as both the team's recruiting coordinator and a perimeter coach. In his fourth 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. Assistant coach Kellee Barney (Idaho, 1983) was just added to the Wildcat staff last February, and her duties include recruiting, scouting and floor work with the players.

THE LITTLEST WILDCAT: Associate head coach Denise Dove Ianello was certainly busy during the off-season! On April 9, 2002, she gave birth to Zachary Robert Ianello, the first child for Denise and her husband Rob, who is the UA football recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach.

CALL HER POLKEY: At her request, Shawntinice Polk would appreciate being called "Polkey" (single-name reference only) as much as possible.

LOOKING AHEAD: Next weekend, the Wildcats begin a stretch that will see them play four out of five games on the road. On Sunday, Dec. 15, Arizona will play at Ohio State at 2 p.m. EST. The Cats return home briefly for a game against New Mexico on Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., then Arizona plays at UNLV on Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m. PST.

CATS PULL ROBERSON OUT OF REDSHIRT: In an effort to stoke the team's perimeter production, head coach Joan Bonvicini decided to pull sophomore Robin Roberson out of her redshirt status. Roberson has also improved her academic standing, which was to be another area of focus for her. As a freshman last year, Roberson played in 26 games, starting one, and averaged 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

ALLEN OUT INDEFINITELY: Junior guard Candice Allen is taking some time away from the team to deal with some personal issues. Her return has yet to be determined.

POLKEY NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Dec. 2): Freshman center Shawntinice Polk was named the Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Nov. 25-Dec. 1. Polk averaged 13.0 points, 15.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 blocks in the Wildcats' two wins over Pepperdine and then-No. 8 Georgia, the highest-ranked team an unranked Wildcat squad has ever beaten. For the week, Polk shot 50.0 percent (10-of-20) from the field and 75.0 percent (6-of-8) from the free throw line.

At Pepperdine on Nov. 25, Polk racked up 16 points, including 13 in the second half, as Arizona (2-1 overall) defeated the Waves 80-68. Polk also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for her second straight double-double. She shot 5-for-11 from the floor and went 6-for-7 from the line.

In Arizona's 70-49 upset win over the eighth-ranked Bulldogs Nov. 30, Polk registered 10 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. She finished with five assists and blocked a game-high three shots. It marked the highest-ranked team UA had beaten since it upset then-No. 7 Washington on Jan. 10, 1998. Arizona was ranked 10th at the time. In just three games as a Wildcat, Polk has notched three double-doubles, the first time an Arizona player has recorded three in a row since December 1999.

The Player of the Week honor is the first of Polk's career and the 25th all-time selection for Arizona. Polk becomes the first freshman to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors since Stanford's Nicole Powell in 2000-01, and the first Wildcat freshman to receive such distinction since Lisa Griffith in 1996-97.

CATS GET SECOND-BEST ATTENDANCE EVER: After a special "Pack the House" promotion, the Wildcats drew 5,096 fans for the game against Georgia on Nov. 30. That's the second-largest crowd ever to view a women's basketball game in McKale. The program attendance record is 5,272 set on Mar. 4, 2000, against Oregon.

SHARING THE WEALTH: The Wildcats have had a different leading scorer in each of the season's three games so far. Polk had a team-best 29 points against LSU on Nov. 22, Krista Warren led with 20 at Pepperdine on Nov. 25, and Julie Brase had a team-high 16 points against Georgia on Nov. 30. Five Wildcats are currently averaging in double-digits in scoring.

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 31-year history of UA women's basketball, the Cats have posted a 141-21 record when scoring 80 points or more in a game. Under Bonvicini, the Wildcats have gone 101-14 when topping that 80-point plateau.

CHECKING THE RPIs: In this week's WBCA/Summerville RPI listings, Arizona's RPI rank is No. 10, and its strength of schedule rank is No. 27. Six of the Cats' opponents this season are in the top 50 in the RPI rankings -- Stanford (No. 2), USC (No. 6), Illinois (No. 8), Georgia (No. 32), Arizona State (No. 45) and UCLA (No. 49).

GOING POLLING: Nine of the 19 opponents on the Cats' 2002-03 schedule were either ranked or received votes for ranking in this week's polls.

In the Associated Press Top 25, LSU is ranked No. 2, Stanford is No. 5 and Georgia is No. 14. Arizona State, USC, New Mexico, Ohio State and Washington were all among teams that received votes for ranking.

In the USA Today/ESPN Coaches' Poll, LSU is No. 3, Stanford is No. 4 and Georgia is No. 17. Arizona State, USC, Washington, New Mexico and Pepperdine all received votes for ranking.

LOVE THOSE TV GAMES: Dating back to last season, Arizona has won seven consecutive televised contests. The Wildcats were 6-0 in televised games last season alone. Over the last four seasons, the Cats have a 10-7 record in games that are broadcast on TV.

CURRENT CATS ON THE UA CAREER LISTS: Wildcat senior Julie Brase is third in on the UA career list in three-point percentage (.381), sixth in career three-pointers made (90) and is seventh in three-pointers attempted (236).

Senior forward Krista Warren is tied for fifth in career rebounding average (5.3 rpg) and is tied for 10th with seven career double-doubles.

Junior guard Aimee Grzyb is fourth in career three-point percentage (.366), fourth in three-pointers made (105), fourth in three-pointers attempted (287) and fourth in career minutes-played average (30.3 mpg).

Sophomore guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is sixth in career minutes-played average (28.7 mpg) and needs to make just nine more three-pointers to break into the career top 10 for three-point field goals made.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME: The Wildcats have won 30 of their last 40 home games and are 52-15 on their home court over the last five seasons combined. During Joan Bonvicini's 12 seasons at Arizona, the Wildcats have posted a 117-50 mark in McKale Center. Arizona has an all-time record of 183-158 on its home court since the 1976-77 season.

CAT SCRATCHES: The Arizona women's basketball program has a 354-420 (.457) all-time record, however it is 158-84 (.653) from 1994 to present... Joan Bonvicini has a 194-107 career record against Pac-10 teams.

ON LOCATION: The Wildcats are 1-1 in home games, 1-0 on the road and 0-0 in neutral contests this season. Last year, Arizona was 9-6 at home, 5-7 on the road and 0-1 in neutral games.

THE CATS AND PAC-10 OPENERS: Under Joan Bonvicini, Arizona has a 7-4 mark in Pac-10 openers and has won its first conference contest in seven of the last nine years.

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