COMING UP: The No. 25 Arizona women’s basketball team (10-2, 2-0) travels to Tempe, Ariz., for a 6:30 p.m. game at No. 21/23 Arizona State (9-3, 1-1) tomorrow, Jan. 3. Live audio of this and every game is available at www.arizonaathletics.com, as well as on KJLL 1330 AM in Tucson.
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A QUICK LOOK AT THE WILDCATS: Arizona, playing without starters junior center Shawntinice Polk and freshman guard Jessica Arnold, edged Washington State 54-51 at Friel Court last Wednesday night. The Wildcats shot a season-low 31 percent from the field on the game, were 40 percent from three-point range and 57 percent from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, Washington State connected on just 27 percent of its shots, including 18 percent from downtown. Arizona was out-rebounded 52 to 40, its highest rebounding deficit of the season. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler led all players with 23 points. She also added team highs of nine rebounds, four assists and four steals. Junior Natalie Jones was the only other Wildcat in double-digit scoring with 13 points. She also pulled down six boards and nabbed four steals.
On the season, the Wildcats are led by Wheeler, who averages 18.4 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 3.1 steals per game. Polk adds 13.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game, while Jones averages 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds. As a team, Arizona is out-shooting its opponents 46 percent to 35 percent and out-rebounding them 40.3 to 37.2.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION: Junior Kristen Kovesdy scored 13 points, but too many turnovers doomed the No. 21/23 Sun Devils as they fell to Washington 63-55 on Wednesday in Seattle. It was Washington’s ninth-straight home win over the Sun Devils. Arizona State committed 27 turnovers and shot 37 percent on the game. Kristen Kovesdy led the team with her 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting and senior Kylan Loney added 10 points in the loss.
On the season, the Sun Devils are led by Kovesdy, who averages 11.5 points per game. Emily Westerberg and Loney add 10.9 points per game apiece. Carrie Buckner leads the team with 4.5 rebounds per game. As a team, Arizona State is shooting 44 percent from the field, compared to the 42 percent of its opponents. The Sun Devils are outscoring their opponents 66.8 to 50.2 and are out-rebounding them 35.1 to 30.1.
SERIES SHORTS: Arizona trails the all-time series with Arizona State 29-37. The last time the two teams met, on Jan. 31, 2004, Arizona fell 68-60 in Tempe. The Wildcats are 15-16 at home, 12-20 away and 2-1 at a neutral site vs. the Sun Devils.
RANKING IN THE PAC-10: The Wildcats currently lead the Pacific-10 in scoring (73.5) and blocked shots (4.8), rank second in rebounding (40.3), field goal percentage (.455), field goal percentage defense (.347) and defensive rebounds (25.8), third in scoring margin (12.8) and rebounding margin (3.1), fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.346), three-point field goal percentage defense (.283) and assist/turnover ratio (0.9), and fifth in assists (15.5) and scoring defense (60.7).
Individually, Dee-Dee Wheeler ranks second in assist/turnover ratio, third in scoring, assists and steals, sixth in minutes played, 10th in three-point field goals made and 15th in rebounding. Shawntinice Polk leads the league in blocked shots and is tied for first in defensive rebounds, ranks second in rebounding and field goal percentage, seventh in scoring and ninth in offensive rebounds. Shannon Hobson ranks 14th and Natalie Jones ranks 15th in rebounding, while Jessica Arnold is sixth and Jones is ninth in three-point field goal percentage.
RANKING NATIONALLY: As a team, Arizona ranks 17th nationally in scoring, 19th in field goal percentage, 36 in scoring margin and won-lost percentage, 40th in blocked shots and 41st in field goal percentage defense.
Individually, junior Shawntinice Polk ranks 12th in field goal percentage and 23rd in blocked shots per game. Senior Dee-Dee Wheeler ranks 41st in assists per game, 45th in steals per game and 48th in points per game.
WHEELER BECOMES SECOND ALL-TIME LEADING SCORER: When she sank a free throw at the 3:47 mark of the second half last Wednesday at Washington State, senior point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler became the second all-time leading scorer at Arizona with her 1,621st point, moving ahead of Elizabeth Pickney. She now has 1,623 points on her career, 614 behind Adia Barnes’ 2,237 career points.
INJURED IN SEATTLE: Last Monday’s game at Washington took its toll on the Arizona women’s basketball team. Junior All-America candidate Shawntinice Polk went down with a left knee injury just before the game’s conclusion and is listed as day-to-day. Freshman guard Jessica Arnold exited in the first half with a left shoulder injury and will have an MRI Monday to determine the extent of the injury. Neither player will see action Monday night.
80 IS THE MAGIC NUMBER: In the program’s 33-year history, the Wildcats are almost guaranteed a win when they reach 80 points. Arizona is 159-20 (89 percent) all-time when reaching the 80-point plateau. With Joan Bonvicini at the helm, the Wildcats are 120-13 (90 percent) when scoring 80 points or more. This year alone, Arizona is 4-0 in games where it has reached 80 points in the scoring column.
WHEELER’S SCORING STREAK CONTINUES: Point guard Dee-Dee Wheeler has scored 10 or more points in 45 consecutive games. The last time she failed to reach double-digit scoring was March 23, 2003, when she had seven points in a loss to Notre Dame. The senior has scored 10 or more points in 92 of her 104 career games. What’s more, she has 25 games with 20 or more points during her career, including four this season.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: During her career, junior Shawntinice Polk has recorded 41 double-doubles (21 as a freshman, 16 as a sophomore and four as a junior). The longest streak came at the start of her career, when she opened the 2002-03 season with eight consecutive double-doubles. During her three seasons, the Wildcats are 31-10 when Polk notches a double-double.
CURRENT CATS ON UA CAREER LISTS: Senior guard Dee-Dee Wheeler is second in scoring (1,623), field goals made (632), field goals attempted (1,377) and minutes played average (32.2), third in steals (251), fourth in scoring average (15.6), three-point field goals made (152) and three-point field goals attempted (429), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (.354), sixth in games started (99) and total minutes played (3,348), and eighth in assists (388) and free throw percentage (.739).
Junior Shawntinice Polk is first in double-doubles (41), blocks (189), rebounding average (10.3) and field goal percentage (.593), second in total rebounds (772), third in scoring average (16.5), sixth in field goals made (512) and free throws attempted (387), seventh in minutes played average (28.9) and eighth in scoring (1,240).
HOME WIN STREAK STANDS AT 33: The Cats have won 33 games in a row at home, the second longest streak in the nation behind Texas (41). The last time the Wildcats were defeated at home was Nov. 22, 2002, when they lost the 2002-03 season opener in overtime to Louisiana State, 78-71. Arizona then won its final 13 homes games during the 2002-03 season, and won all 14 games at McKale last year.
WILDCATS RANK NATIONALLY IN ATTENDANCE: Arizona currently ranks 45th nationally in attendance with an average attendance of 1,915. Connecticut is the leader with a 13,231 average, while Pac-10 opponents Oregon, Washington and Stanford rank 24th, 28th and 30th, respectively, at 3,399, 2,938 and 2,916.
WILDCATS ON THE RADIO: All of Arizona’s games this season are broadcast on Tucson’s Jolt, KJLL 1330 AM, the radio home of Arizona women’s basketball. With Paul Johnson in his 10th year as the Wildcats’ play-by-play announcer, the Jolt will broadcast every game, home and away.
WILDCATS ON TELEVISION: The Wildcats have three games this season that will be broadcast on FSN:
Sunday, Jan. 9 - 2:30 p.m. vs. Stanford
Saturday, Jan. 29 - 4 p.m. vs. Maryland
Saturday, Feb. 19 - 2 p.m. at Oregon
In addition, the Wildcats’ home games against Southern California (Feb. 12) and Washington (Feb. 26) are "wild card" games that could get picked up in the Pac-10 television package with FSN.
UP NEXT: Arizona returns home for the first time in three weeks to host California at 7 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 7.